The video call culture

I prefer video calls. There is something to be said about seeing the other person respond to the conversation in real time. Body language is reactive and those nuances are irreplaceable if you plan on having meaningful conversations that move your business.

The thing that makes video so powerful is attention. I had a podcast that I started about 11 years ago and the only requirement was that it was a video call. Back then it was all done over Skype — I was a little early to the video game. I would record the video calls and post the episodes online and then strip out the audio and post those as true podcasts. Why go through this effort? I wanted the undivided attention of the person I was interviewing. It is far too easy to let your mind wander and or get distracted just doing voice. Video meant that if someone was mailing it in or responding to emails, I could see it and bring them back into the interview. The funny thing is that I rarely had that happen.

Video is a powerful attention setter. People are aware of their surroundings, their appearance and they snap to attention. You can’t hide on video and this is the power that it has in meetings as well.

We are in an awkward stage of video calls given that it is new to mostly everyone. There is a learning curve but that is quickly flattening. If you remember the early cell phone days when everyone’s first words (mostly in disbelief) were “can you hear me?” — that’s where we are with video calls. We are very quickly moving to where this will be the norm at every company and between every human. It is a step move from traditional voice calls and one that we should not let go of.

Most of the companies that I’ve been involved with hold video calls instead of conference calls. It is a powerful connective strategy for dispersed employees. There are people that I deal with daily and have known for over a year that I’ve never met in real life. Just over video. This is the power of the platform.

We are seeing behavioural changes in businesses that are adopting video calls today that will alter processes completely going forward. Job interviews have already adopted it. Doctor consultations, hairstylists, veterinarians, education, music lessons — the list is endless for business opportunities to build around video.

Video calls will also make us more productive in the long run. We won’t attend meetings that we can’t contribute to and those will be obvious. We may be called into meetings for only a few minutes in order to offer a thought or two and then released. And for those that have already had meetings on video, you know that there is a faster resolution to the meetings when everything has been said. There seems to be a lot less chatter and that awkward silence happens sooner than on the telephone.

No more wasted hours on calls that aren’t impactful. The shift to video calls allows you to rethink how your business functions internally and with customers. Embrace it and you won’t ever go back to the old fashioned way our parents communicated.