Since I hurt my back (funny story in an of itself!), I have been grounded from traveling for 8 weeks!  GULP!  How can I manage my job without traveling?

Well, I have been faring pretty well in the first 5 weeks by leveraging Video as part of my Social Business.

My Tips for Using Video Effectively?

1.   Make sure you test the technology.   I am lucky in that I work for IBM and we have 2 options for Video Conferencing:   IBM Sametime and IBM LotusLive Conferencing.    I always tested the technology so that regardless of where we were using it, it worked!  I always connected 15 minutes early, checked everything out, and had someone local just validate volume, video, and motion was looking good.   I usually had a backup system in play as well, in case something went down.

2.  Choose the RIGHT meetings.   I didn’t use video for ALL my meetings.   I did have substitutes for some situations.  However, here is where I used video:

  •  Internal Keynote Address to a Room of 400 people.  We practiced with the video and since it seemed to work well  with the charts on another screen, we did this for an internal enablement session.  It also demonstrated the Social Business Concepts that I was talking about and made it real. It was a success.
  • External Keynote Address to a Room of 100 people.  Again, we practiced with the video, and we set up a hashtab in Twitter so that all there could ping me throughout the session.  I posted on the number of Tweets, and the response from the attendees. All positive.  However, it would have been better if I had been there in person just for the networking!
  • Client Meeting:  1: Many >20 .   I used video for a client meeting between myself and 20  business associates from a client.   We didn’t have the big projection screens, but more of an intimate video setup.  It worked very well. 
  • Client Meeting:  1:Many <10.  Here I actually went for Teleprescence so that the video was not one way, but a two way conversation.   In this case, I had NOT met everyone yet so I felt this was more appropriate for the situation.       I will do this again on Monday of next week.   Obviously I had to leave my home office, but not fly (that is what the doctor meant right?!)

 3.     Non verbal Communitions.  This part was the toughest for me. How do I read the room?  I had no idea how much I changed and altered what I did based on what I saw!    I had local teams in the room so the were instant messaging me the happenings in the room like: who was head nodding, who walked out of the room, where to speed up, and other non verbal signals. This to me was critcal. In fact, in the External Keynote, I had twitter on and asked the attendees to tweet me. That made all the difference in the world


Video was a great way to work in fact, I want to incorporate Video into more meetings.  I think Social Businesses will leverage more video.  I used these in meeting above in Germany, Argentina, US, and Canada.  

 However, the trick is that nothing can replace an in person meeting so perhaps this is best on second or third meetings.   The technology was very easy to work with but still requires pre testing due to so many different firewalls, and settings.  When the video and sound are good, I found this was very effective and the focus was on what I said, vs the tool!   

What do you think?   Do you use video?  When should you use video? 

I’d love to craft a set of best practices on WHEN to use this media successfully.  Let me hear your thoughts!