Saturday, April 21, 2007

Powerpoint and Virtual Conferencing - A Deadly Combination

Meetings - by phone, email, in person, or virtually - are all about communication, and almost anyone that deals with people regularly, as part of their job, will tell you that nothing beats face to face communication; you establish the relationship, pick up on the non-verbal cues, etc. The problem, of course, is that hauling bodies around the world and expensive, and getting more so. So, is webconferencing or videoconferencing the solution?

Not according to James Murray, a writer for Green Business News who cranks out a lot of insightful green IT commentary. This piece on webconferencing struck home, where James probes the murky depths of what it has to offer to the planet. In particular, he wonders why so many presenters go to the trouble of using it, when most just make a Powerpoint presentation of their ideas, then run through it via virtual meeting. As James says, the only collaboration happening is on the associated phone call, and that's just to make sure he is on the right slide and not surfing the web. Ha ha, the truth hurts, and it's funny too.

Now, maybe videoconferencing is better; I have not sat in on a videoconference like the one pictured above using Cisco's Content Delivery and Digital Signage, and I'm sure that would be cool. It might even convince a customer rep that they don't actually need to fly about the world and 'shake the hand of the flesh' to establish quality relationships. But if all we are doing is following up or negotiating with well established clients, skip the virtual dog and pony; it costs money, energy and bandwidth to use it, and may turn people off entirely from the technology.

No comments: