Never before has there been a greater need for virtual conferencing tools. Once the domain of international businesses needing to bring partners and employees into one virtual ‘room’, virtual conferences are now a crucial part of many businesses. And, with the work from home movement continuing to gather pace, online conferencing is big business. But which is right for you and your colleagues: video or audio? Here we go through the pros and cons of each.
Audio conferencing has been around for many years in various guises; on a basic level, it’s possible to connect numerous people via native mobile phone software or by using audio functions on platforms such as Skype. Audio conferencing works well for small groups of participants but can become confusing in larger groups, unless participants state their names prior to speaking. It’s ideal for people who are more comfortable leading a voice conversation rather than communicating face-to-face and, as it requires no specialist equipment, is accessible to most people. It’s easy to set up as no links or permissions are required, although if you use a dial-in service, you will need to provide a password and code.
Video conferencing, on the other hand, requires a little more preparation. Participants will need to be provided with a link to access the call and will need to make sure they are wearing work appropriate clothing! One of the biggest benefits of using video conferencing is the ability to file share — showing other participants documents and presentations on-screen can be more productive than forwarding them for reference prior to a voice call. Video conferencing is far more engaging than audio conferencing and can feel like a face-to-face meeting (remember those?).
The disadvantages of video conferencing are few, although they are significant. Participants will need access to a stable internet connection — dropped lines and poor quality audio can be very frustrating for all participants.
Suffice to say, the choice is down to the aim of the call. If you need to share files, video may be the right choice for you, but for smaller, shorter meetings, you may find it simpler to arrange a good old-fashioned audio call.