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Virtual meetings are here to stay – here’s how to master them

Gone are the days where meetings require our physical presence at a round table alongside our colleagues. Virtual meetings have changed the way interact, especially in our professional lives. It has provided us with the means to connect with fellow employees remotely and offers most of the benefits that we could realize from face-to-face meetings, and so much more.

Believe it or not, the concept of virtual meetings is nothing new to digital natives. We have conducted virtual meetings since the late 1800’s with the invention of landline telephones – this was known as teleconferencing back then. Now with the rapid advancement in technology, both hardware and software, have shaped the way we are able to conduct virtual meetings. So much so that by today’s standards virtual meetings have dramatically enhanced telepresence – the ability of technology to allow users to feel present in virtual spaces. This is often the case with video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet just to mention a few. Other cutting edge solutions such as virtual reality are particularly good at inducing telepresence among users.

Organisations around the world have adopted virtual meetings as a norm and part of their daily operations. From hosting general standup meetings to performing training workshops online, it goes without saying that virtual meetings have been transformative for organisations and provides numerous benefits that simply cannot be overlooked. According to Digital in the Round (2021) video conferencing has risen by 535% in daily web traffic in 2020 and GlobeNewswire (2020) states that the video conferencing market was valued at USD 4.8 billion with expected growth to reach USD 9.2 billion by 2027. These are astonishing statistics to say the least and they are indicative that virtual meetings have found its place in both our professional and social lives.

With that being said there are several factors one should take into consideration to make the most of virtual meetings. Let’s explore some of factors.

Familiarise yourself with popular video conferencing platforms

This one is a no brainer and at the top of the list for one very simple reason. That is to say that having experience with some of the most popular video conferencing platforms, improves your technical skills as a digital native. It’s no secret that various companies often use an array of different platforms to conduct virtual meetings, whether its Google Meet, Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Skype, one can only benefit from becoming familiar with how to use each of these widely adopted platforms.

Take the time to explore platform features

While many video conferencing tools aim to achieve the same thing, which is to connect individuals in a virtual space. Many of them often have unique features that could easily be used to improve workflow or something as simple as user experience. Let’s take Zoom for example, which boasts a ton of interactive features to create a more connected experience at scale, while Google Meet on the other hand is arguably more robust and easier to use given the amount of active global Google Accounts and the simplicity of its user interface. In essence, you will often find a trade-off between these platforms and the nature of a virtual meeting tends to dictate the features you’ll need.

Reduce expenditure and cost with video conferencing

Many companies and freelancers have come to realise that we no longer have to attend lengthy office meetings in person. Remote work has seen a surge in the last couple of years thanks to advancements attributed to technology. GlobelNewswire (2019) reported that about 48% of U.S professionals claim to have experienced a reduction in travelling costs as a result of opting for virtual meetings. While Lifesize (2019) noted in a recent study that 76% of professionals have been able to adopt a remote employment by leveraging video conferencing platforms for standup and general meetings.

Using video conferencing tools to enhance collaboration and productivity

It’s no surprise that virtual meetings are beneficial for collaborative efforts within a team environment. Video conferencing provide teams with an opportunity to collaborate in real-time in order to work on projects. This in turn encourages employees to remain productive regardless of their location. This is especially true when professionals learn how to streamline other productivity applications alongside video conferencing tools. According to Lifesize (2019) organisations that are reliant on video calls tend to be 38% more productive in achieving their daily operations compared to organisations that have not adopted video conferencing tools as part of their strategy. With that being the case, it is quite evident that employees are starting to see the importance of adopting such technologies to enhance overall productivity.

It is safe to say that as digital natives; it is key to stay abreast innovations that are being widely adopted throughout industry. This holds particularly true if one wishes to remain employable in an ever-competitive labour market that derives value from employees who are familiar with video conferencing tools. Virtual meetings have changed the way we conduct business and communicate on a daily basis and as technology becomes more disruptive it is likely that the adoption will continue to increase.

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