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5/15/2008
10:06 PM
Melanie Turek
Melanie Turek
Commentary
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Video Conferencing Makes Listening Easier

A recent newsletter from NetworkWorld (and a related comment) got me thinking more aboutmy post on listening,below. One of the advantages of video conferencing that people don't really talk about is the fact that video calls essentially force people to listen. On a video conference, you can't get away with multi-tasking--all eyes are on you.I would argue that the pressure to pay attention is even stronger during a video session than during an in-person meeting, because when you're sitting around a conference room, people tend to look at the person speaking; on a video call, people tend to scan the screens, checking in with participants on a regualr basis, if you will. That makes it harder to hide the fact that you're secretly texting while someone's talking.That said,most people would revolt if all their meetings were held over video. But the fault there lies not in the technology, but in the meetings themselves. If yours aren't engaging enough to keep your participants' attention, the communications mode you're using is the least of your problems. And if participants don't need to be listening to the whole meeting and are free to multi-task, let them disconnect once their portion is over (or call them in when theirs begins), and focus on what really needs to get done.

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