Video meetings are much more effective than conference calls. If you are not convinced, read the one trick to make conference calls more engaging.
Despite this, it is a real uphill battle to meet with people over video. The habit of using video is not yet engrained into a lot of corporate cultures.
If you want to meet over video, the onus is on you, the call leader, to ensure video expectations are clearly set. Make sure you (1) send a video link in the calendar invite and (2) make it clear that the expectation is to join over video.
Now, inevitably some people are still going to join by phone. When that happens, at the start of the meeting, ask, “Hey [name], are you able to join over video today?”
People come up with all sorts of reasons for why they can’t join. Below are the five most common reasons I’ve heard and how to get around them.
I’m not working from my office today: Oh, that’s awesome! Glad you can be so flexible with where you work. I’ve taken video meetings on subways, from parking lots in my car and in parks. I don’t really care what you are wearing or what the background is. Would you consider joining anyway?
The room we are in is not video enabled: No worries! Does anyone have a laptop in the room? Great, then just open the laptop, click the link and put the laptop at the end of the table.
My computer has been having issues: (e.g. it is slow, the camera does not work)—Bummer! That is frustrating. Do you know you can use video on your phone? I use Zoom, and there is a slick app for next time. I’ve actually led a few video conferences from the app on my phone.
I didn’t realize this was a video meeting. Can we use it next time? No worries! Next time I can make it clearer. I’ve found that it is so much more effective to communicate over video that it is worth taking two minutes right now to get this set up. Do you mind re-joining from your computer?
I was really hoping to tune out 50% of this meeting and do something else. I can’t do that on video. Okay, no one actually says that, but it gets to the heart of why you want them to join! The best defense here is to set expectations early and often and make it clear and easy to join via video.
When is the next meeting you are leading? Try leading it by video, despite excuses to the contrary, and notice how the effectiveness of your meetings change.