Why Should I Host My Meeting in a Videoconferencing Space? Can’t I Just Do It on GoToMeeting?

Given the much lauded ‘power of technology’ that we all have come to expect from the never ending stream of gadgetry that parades through each day on Gizmodo and Wired, it would stand to reason that the resources available in a typical office should produce a great virtual meeting. Truthfully, if you have access to the meeting room in advance and can play around with the settings in advance, in order to optimize the viewers’ experience, then almost any novice with an interest and a good deal of time can use GoToMeeting or similar for a decent point to point meeting. But there is a lot more that goes into the group psychology of meetings with both in-person and virtual attendees, and this is a distinct area where videoconferencing is leagues above its free-software competitors. Let me explain.

When Free Meeting Hosting Options Are Inadequate

The other day, I, along with my company’s owner, played host to a two-person sales team to hear their sales pitch for an exciting new software tool in the court reporting sphere. Both the owner and I were already sold on the technology and were looking forward to sitting down to hear more about the product and watch a demo that would be conducted by an offsite subject matter expert. Let me say that again, the owner and I already wanted the product. Let me also repeat: there were two in-person sales reps in our office and a SME who was to beam in via GoToMeeting.

From the start I knew we were in trouble. The sales reps began scrambling to figure out how to get the SME patched into the meeting; something about how the meeting started a minute after the planned time and would need to be resent. Meanwhile our owner, who had been putting out fires all day, was already losing steam. When the SME finally got patched in he was unable to hear us because he had to turn our volume down due to the echo, and as a result he unwittingly began a verbose ten minute soliloquy on the innovative ecosystem that their company would produce within the…blah blah blah…just get to the important stuff, the owner is fuming! Don’t get me wrong, I can get excited about an innovative TED talk/sales pitch as much as the next person, but when the owner of the company is radiating body language that says “pick up the pace” and the SME is completely oblivious to this fact because he can’t even see her, there isn’t much that’s going to save your sales pitch. Meanwhile, the in-person sales reps did their best to recover the damage done and explain that we wanted the short version, but for the rest of the presentation the SME was never able to observe the profoundly important physical cues that go into a successful dialogue and meeting.

HD Videoconferencing Allows Body Language Interpretation & More Personal Conversation

HD Videoconferencing is not perfect, and there are certainly things that can go wrong with that technology too. But any examination of GoToMeeting versus an HD Polycom meeting forces us to consider what really matters most in any meeting, that the people who are present and those joining remotely all have the greatest chance to actually sense what the key decision makers are feeling. If you can’t understand what your audience is experiencing then at best you might succeed on sheer luck, but on the other hand, like the meeting I attended, you might stand to lose a client that you’d already hooked!

Don’t like the price tag of a Polycom system? There’s a simple solution: book a videoconferencing room and marvel at the true-to-life experience of sitting across from a remote decision maker in full HD on a giant screen. You’ll be hooked, and so will they.

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