They say that 93 percent of the message of a conversation is non-verbal. Incredibly, your body language, the tone of your voice, your expression and gestures convey much more information than the words you are speaking. This is why speaking on the phone is such a hassle for many of us. So video calling should be much more effective. But is it?
Long Distance Love
Why do most people use video calling services, like Skype? A lot use it for keeping in touch with family and friends scattered across the country and, indeed, the world. What this adds above phone calling is being able to see loved ones face-to-face, and track how they change over time, especially children. The children also get to have a more meaningful relationship with family members who live far away, rather than just seeing pictures of them or talking about them. Smart phone video calling is also used this way, but not so much for business or educational purposes.
A lot of business users use video calling. This involves a lot of preparation and staging. It comes from a desire to see who you’re dealing with eye to eye. But you don’t actually get to look at your fellow caller in the eye, as you have to look at the camera. The result is a lot of nervous eye flickering. It works better with more callers involved and is, of course, much more cost-effective than getting workers from different offices together in one place.
Schools are starting to use video calling to talk to twinned schools in other countries, or organizations offering educational video sessions. When a school can’t physically take their students out of the classroom for whatever reason, the opportunity to video call can be very useful. The difficulty is organizing them efficiently to include the whole class.
The main drawback when video calling is the unexpected problems that always come up when using technology. Because of the number of services and pieces of equipment that all have to be working at the same time and be set correctly, there is huge potential for small or more serious problems. These can include lack of sound or picture, or bad quality on either. Bad lighting can also make video calling absolutely impossible. The trick is to prepare well before making that call.
Don’t Look At Me
The main drawback, though, is the artificiality of the face-to-face interaction. You’d think that you could be more at ease if you could see whoever you were calling, but it doesn’t quite work that way. You only see someone’s head and torso sat upright at a desk, so body language doesn’t add very much. If the sound quality is bad, tone of voice doesn’t come over very well either. If the picture is jolting, then you also miss expressions and gestures. As there is always a little delay, you end up talking over each other and not knowing when to reply. Until you get used to it, video calling only adds more stress to a call.
Kendra Johnson is a phone expert who loves to write about how new technology can change how we communicate. She writes about everything from the best new smartphones on the market to the benefits of a global wireless network.
Photo Credit: PlayStation.Blog