Communication is not just the words we say but also how we say it. There is a well-known study that identifies 7% of communication is our words, 38% is our tone and 55% is nonverbal. That data is great and all but what would this look like in an actual workplace?
Let’s pretend you missed a meeting but someone transcribed every word that was said throughout the hour. Somewhere near the end, you read the words: Yeah, I think that’s a great idea. Depending on the context of the rest of the transcription you would likely deduct that someone believes the aforementioned idea is indeed, great.
Ok, now let’s try to add tone to that message. Yeah, I think that’s a great idea. Depending on the tone and inflection of the person’s voice you might perceive something a little bit different. The emphasis is on great so again, we would likely deduct that the individual was enthusiastic about this idea.
Finally, let’s add nonverbal cues to make sure we receive 100% of the message. Yeah, I think that’s a great idea (eye-roll and slight shake of the head). Suddenly, the message changes. The person speaking doesn’t think this is a great idea. In fact, this person seems to be mocking the idea and the person suggesting it.
Even the slightest nonverbal cue can make a huge difference in the meaning of the message and our ability to communicate effectively. Now, you may think that having video conferencing solves this problem since you can visually see people. While video conferencing is a critical first step, it isn’t the complete answer. Think about this scenario which happens thousands of times, every single day:
You’re sitting in the back of a conference room with another colleague but don’t adjust the camera view. The people on the other end of the video call see a beautiful oak table and two people vaguely in the back of the room. Likely, they know who it is from the meeting invite but they aren’t seeing your body language or facial expressions. You present to them and while they can technically see you, they can’t really see you. They are only receiving 45% of your message. Don’t you want to make sure everyone receives 100% of the message you are conveying?
Now, imagine that same scenario above but instead of seeing the long oak table and two distant figures, the other side can see both of your faces. What if I told you that this could be accomplished without fidgeting with the remote control? Polycom’s Producer camera is smart enough to detect that there are people in the room and will automatically zoom in to frame both of you in the room. Everyone can now see body language and other vital nonverbal cues. Even when a third colleague joins you fifteen minutes into the meeting, the camera will see this individual and reframe the view to show everyone without having to do anything but sit there and look pretty.
This technology has existed in Polycom’s portfolio for a while, but now it goes one step further by zooming in on an active speaker. It’s inevitable that you will need to present, ask or answer a question during a meeting and this technology ensures that 100 percent of your message is received. As you start speaking, the camera recognizes you as the speaker and zooms in, similar to how people would react in the room. Everyone on the other end can not only hear you clearly, they will see you clearly as well, ensuring that no non-verbal ques are missed. As someone else in the room starts talking the camera will adjust to show them and when there are no active speakers, it will go back to framing everyone in the room.
Granted, speaker tracking technology isn’t new but this is the first time that it’s been available using only one camera and with an incredibly affordable price tag. If you already own EagleEye Producer, it’s a simple software upgrade so additional hardware is not necessary for this new capability.
Video is the next best thing to being there in person, but not if everyone looks like distant figures on a screen. It’s time you recognized the full benefits of video conferencing and ensure people are receiving your message loud and clear.