In today’s world, where products can be sold globally and you can hire based on qualifications, not location, smart businesses are quickly adopting web conferencing as one of their main communication methods. Let’s discuss just a few ways businesses stand to benefit from using online meetings and webinars as often or more than physical meetings.
Source: Dollar Photo Club
Cut down on travel time and cost
For businesses that have clients and operations in different geographical areas, the costs associated with travel are significant. Not only do you have to consider airfare and accommodation, having an employee out of the office and not focusing on other work for a few days can lead to a backlog and lower performance from other staff who rely on the traveling employee. Online meetings take that 3-day business trip and turn it into a few hours and a minimal cost.
Keep staff happy and clients, more comfortable
Even if your staff only has to travel across town, instead of across the country, they are probably not going to be too happy about sitting in traffic for 45 minutes just to get to a 30-minute weekly meeting. Your clients are probably not too thrilled about the preparations they have to make to accommodate this meeting either, but they still want you to service their account. Replacing these frequent meetings with a quick online check-in would please both parties, while keeping everyone updated.
As a business starts growing and exploring new markets, the trainees and less experienced employees will eventually need to start talking to clients and conducting meetings. Using a good communications skills training provider is very important are very important regardless of the industry so it is important to train staff properly. With use of web conferencing, the experienced business people can allow the new employees to attend a live meeting so they can see first hand how things are done and pick up valuable knowledge.
Increase meeting participation
You’ve probably heard all the reasons why someone can’t make it to a meeting – they’re on a business trip, they’re sick, their kid is sick, the Jets are playing the Giants and they can’t miss it, etc. The great thing about online meetings are that they can be had on almost any mobile device and from anywhere with an internet connection. So while your employee may be afraid to spread that flu bug to their colleagues, they can still hop into a meeting from their smartphone for a few minutes.
Track performance and attendee statistics
For businesses that host small sessions with potential clients or partners, this feature of online meetings trumps them all. In a physical meeting, you can probably ‘guesstimate’ the number of attendees, those who left during the presentation, and judge how well the presentation was based on feedback from those who remembered to fill out the questionnaire in their package and return it to the registration desk. Online meeting software, however, give you the ability to see the exact numbers for those attending your meetings and webinars, like in this screenshot from ClickMeeting below.
Online Meeting Statistics (Source: ClickMeeting)
Additionally, you can embed surveys and polls into your digital presentation to vastly improve the likelihood of persons providing feedback.
Hire the best talent anywhere
Of course, with the ability to connect with employees virtually anywhere, you no longer have to limit your hiring to those in your immediate vicinity. Many businesses are now benefiting tremendously from the ability to outsource work to persons in other locations across the world based on their skills, abilities and cost. The preferred method of communication for these situations is through web conferencing.
Enhance brand image
Know what’s cool? Brand recognition. That’s why you have a big logo up at the front of your building, and your staff all wear shirts with your insignia – the more you get your brand logo and messaging in front of people, the better it is for you. Some online meeting software allow you to completely rebrand the platform with your brand colours, logo and graphics, such as product images or messaging. Short of walking into every boardroom with a pull up banner or large sign, you won’t get such an opportunity with a face-to-face meeting.
Host a conference
Many people host one-off webinars, or even a series online over a few weeks, but hosting an entire conference online may seem daunting, but it’s been done. Any business in a wide-spread industry that changes very regularly, like social media, could benefit from hosting a conference, but probably won’t because of the costs and various factors involved with getting everyone at the same place for a few days. Webinars could change that.
Source: Dollar Photo Club
Increase audience engagement
One could probably argue that a simple phone call has similar benefits to an online meeting, but there’s definitely some things that you can do in an online meeting that you can’t do in a phone call – sharing your screen is one of them. Screen sharing allows you to broadcast your presentation to viewers while you speak, share a work-in-progress with your colleagues or even give a live product demo for software and digital tools to a potential customer. Having them view it on their own screen is even more likely to keep them engaged than asking them to pay attention during a live presentation, where they get distracted by a host of other elements.
Share meetings with others
Meeting recordings come in handy for a variety of reasons. Sometimes you want to share the proceedings with a colleague who was unable to attend (they were taking in that Jets game). Other times, if the meeting involved answering some client FAQs or reference material, you might want to create snippets to share with others when questions come up. With online meetings, the ability to record a session is literally one click away.
Physical meetings have their place. However, while the benefits of personal interactions won’t easily be replaced, many of the traditional face-to-face meetings we once engaged in can be substituted by its virtual counterpart. The benefits of web conferencing are far too great to ignore, and businesses that use these tools should definitely consider how they can maximize their effectiveness, rather than using just the basic functionality.