Is this communications tool right for you and your customers?
Like many technological advances, Skype (and all other forms of video conferencing) elicit polarized opinions in the business world. Some love it and use it regularly. Others refuse to engage video communication at all. Like all sales tools, the value of Skype depends on how you use it:
USE IT to upgrade a phone call. Video conferencing is an excellent way to increase the level of interest and engagement compared to what would have taken place in a standard phone conversation. This vehicle allows you to observe expressions and body language in addition to voice tone and inflection. Use Skype to bridge the gap between in-person meetings.
NEVER USE IT as a substitute for an in-person meeting. We all understand that there are certain points in the sales process as well as in ongoing customer engagement that require live, in-person contact. While Skype is an improvement over standard phone conversation, it cannot duplicate human interaction. In-person meetings also communicate our commitment and investment in our customers, by taking the time and effort to come to their location. Replacing what would typically warrant a meeting with a video conferencing session could be viewed by your customer as diminished interest or commitment.
USE IT CORRECTLY!
- Consider all that your audience will see when they view you on screen.
- Start with the background for your Skype call. Make sure the background is professional, tidy and in no way distracting.
- Be aware of your attire. You should wear clothing that you would wear for an in-person meeting.
- Get eye level with your computer screen. The most common mistake in video conferencing is having your laptop (and therefore the camera lens) on a table or other surface such that you looking down on it. Not only is this view unflattering, it can look downright creepy. Elevate your laptop so that the camera views you at eye level, as would be the case in an in-person encounter.
- Look at the camera, not the computer screen or keyboard. Intuitively, we all look at the computer screen, because that is where we view other Skype participants. However, directing your eye contact at the camera at the top of your screen most closely replicates making eye contact with your fellow participants.
- Conduct a test run with a colleague for valuable feedback regarding your “onscreen” presentation.