Zoom was Ready when the World Needed a Video Conferencing. So What’s Next?

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Both in the corporate world and private world, video conferencing has been around much longer than the wide applications implemented during the coronavirus pandemic. Take, for example, FaceTime on an iPhone; years prior to the need for us to communicate via video, we’ve had the option to do so on our smartphones and other devices. In addition to real-time video conferencing, we have had access to sharing video media as a way to advertise or communicate as early as 2004 with the dawning and growth of YouTube.

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In a corporate setting, audio visual equipment for both conferencing and filming is usually kept in a special room, or in the IT department under lock and key until someone books it. Until the exponential change brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, video communication of any kind was a luxury item.

But now, it has become a commodity in every industry.

“Zoom” Has Become an Action Verb

“Let’s Zoom about this” is a common phrase. We Zoom for everything, cutting down on the need to meet in person or even take notes during those meetings as the power to screen share, record audio and video, and add the whole company or staff to the meeting essentially uses my Skip It Principle on the need to share “meeting minutes” or notes.

Yet as this trend becomes our new normal more well beyond the pandemic, it is vital for us as business leaders and even educators to discern between two key terms at play here: visual communications and video conferencing.

The term “video conferencing” is becoming a static, one-way street when using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or any other video conferencing software. When you partake in a video conference, frequently it is one person discussing or demonstrating something and afterwards opening up to questions. Most have none, as they now experience “Zoom fatigue” after a long meeting.

On the other hand, the term “visual communication” is different. Visual communication is more or less a style, where the presenter keeps the group engaged, even though they are at a distance. Many types of software allow users to “raise their hand,” comment in a chat room, share their screen in applicable scenarios; the list goes on.

Take a Lesson From Interactive Education

Colleges and K-12 institutions alike began to implement Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and others with seemingly no background knowledge as a way to keep schools open remotely in the wake of the pandemic.

Despite the Hard Trend that the pandemic is ending with the emergence of the vaccines, many schools, especially universities, are using exponential thinking to find ways to continue using video communication as a way to enhance the educational experience of their students.

However, having spoken with a few higher education institutions, I discovered that several that still have remote options are implementing a video conferencing mindset rather than a visual communication one. For example, one professor mentioned that not only did they pre-film one of their courses, they actually used those same videos for the spring and the following fall!

Unfortunately, this specific class was a technology course, where the cloud-based software they were teaching had updated and made this pre-recorded video obsolete. This made for quite a disengaging class, giving the illusion that Zoom and virtual education was a complete waste of time.

Humanizing Video Communications

My previous articles of the importance of soft skills in an increasingly digitized world apply heavily here. Disruptive digital technology has the ability to transform old processes for the better; however, it is imperative that we as humans be human in the equation.

When teaching an online class via Zoom, be sure you are using a mindset of visual communication, where you are live, interactive, and as hands-on with all exponential features of the software as possible. This not only keeps students engaged, but keeps distance learning interactive. Pre-filmed classes are passive and students will tune you out, which is detrimental to their education.

These same principles of humanizing video communication apply in the corporate world. As a business leader, engage your remote employees when having a meeting. If it is merely an all-employee meeting, perhaps start it with an interactive game they can play. In a digitally connected and physically disconnected environment, icebreakers can generate a positive experience and energize your employees.

Video Communication Is a Both/And World

Ironically and pleasantly enough, video communication has given communications a human face, as now we can actually see remote employees and customers rather than merely hear their voices over a teleconference like in years gone by.

Yet video communication is certainly part of what I refer to as my Both/And Principle. With this, the new doesn’t replace the old; they both coexist. Will phone calls be a thing of the past? If texting didn’t rid us of physically making a call, neither will video communications.

Also consider note-taking, both for the education industry and corporate meetings. Will that be a thing of the past? Of course not! Many students, employees, or anyone utilizing a Zoom recording listens back to the recording and takes notes after the fact so they can be mentally present during the actual meeting.

Developers are still testing the ways in which video communications can be pushed further, but one thing is certain: it is a Hard Trend. We will not go away from video communications; Anticipatory Leaders will just find new, exponential ways to utilize it at their institution or organization.

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