This post on Video Meetings was written at the start of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown in the UK. We’ve since revisited it and added more…
As things progress with the Covid-19 outbreak it may be a good idea to suspend all in person meetings (although around the start of August 2020 we’ve noticed some businesses using socially distanced meetings, or responsible meetings outside), which can continue the spread of any infection and put you and the people you are meeting with at risk.
To give you an idea of how business is viewing the pandemic as of 15th March 2020 BNI (Business Networking International), the largest networking organisation in the world, took the step to suspend all future meetings for the time being. This is a huge step for a business that depends on regular weekly face-to-face meetings to exist and for its members who generate a lot of their business from those meetings.
This is where video meetings can play a big part in your business strategy and fortunately this field has developed a lot over the past few years.
Providers such as Zoom (https://zoom.us) offer a free and paid for service (you can find out more in our Useful Tools section). So long as your device has a camera you can see the other person and you have the option to share your screen which makes it ideal for conducting video meetings. On a desktop or laptop computer this means you can still share a presentation, show someone round a website or demonstrate a design.
Zoom takes 2 minutes to set up a free account, you then download the extension and away you go. You are limited to video meetings with one other person and each meeting is a maximum of 45 minutes long. Paid for accounts allow more features.
There are other options such as Apple’s FaceTime and Facebook’s WhatsApp which, so long as you have data or a good Wifi signal, can let you see and speak to people. They’re not as advanced so may not be as useful for longer video meetings.
Facebook has a live function allowing you to broadcast across it’s network and they have since instigated a new feature called Facebook Rooms allowing you to invite people to a face-to-face video meeting. Instagram has IGTV allowing you to upload videos and show them to your network.
There are a lot of ways to use video creatively online but getting your clients engaged using video can have huge benefits. One example we use often is for trades people, especially heating engineers, who want to diagnose a problem. If a customer or client has a problem with their boiler all the preliminary checks can be done via video link. As most people have a camera phone they can show the expert their boiler and walk them around their home without having to have a home visit. In many cases the problem can be identified there and then speeding up the process as a repair engineer can then be briefed and have the right parts on hand to fix the problem quickly when they arrive.
For Architects or Interior Designs, Decorators and more visual businesses being able to see a space beforehand, being given a tour without having to visit can save a lot of time, help you understand your client’s problems and allow you to estimate cost, timescale and materials quickly to provide a more accurate quote before having a lengthy meeting which would usually have to be pre-arranged for days or weeks ahead.
It also helps you start to make a personal relationship with that client, not to mention because of not having to travel you can fit in five times the amount of visits, and set them up in a shorter time scale to cut down the length of time to a sale.
So in short – test out video conferencing within your business. Can you offer a short online consultation, one on one using Zoom or one of the other video conferencing systems.
Could you even go as far as setting up an online surgery? If you are an expert in planning permission would a group of residents from an area be interested in hearing what you had to say on the topic in a Facebook Live session? Could you be available online at a set time to answer any questions they had and if you’re seen as an expert would they then come to you to engage your services?
If you’d like to chat about any aspect of this article or find out more please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a video meeting!