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Is Conference Calling Replacing Face-to-Face Meetings

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Conference calling and web application sharing conference calling are the rage right now and becoming the new technology of choice for many businesses. Businesses who are either focused on going “green” or those who are trying to leverage profit to the bottom-line by saving on travel expenses are flocking to use these services, but can and will conference calling ever actually replace face-to-face meetings?

Our business is conference calling and web conferencing. We’re technology experts at helping you to use and implement teleconferencing and web conferencing in your daily business strategies effectively. You could say that we’re “bullish” on conference calling, but even we realize that face-to-face meetings will never be totally replaced by these exciting new technologies.

Why won’t conference calling replace face-to-face meetings? Sometimes the deal is all about people, the nuances of bargaining, negotiation, and deal brokering, is based on a subtle give and take, psychology, non-verbal cues, sometimes even demeanor, and your own presence and personality. Although conference calling and even web conferencing with video can do many things to move selling, a deal, or the negotiation process forward, the culmination of these efforts will most likely still be done with a final face-to-face meeting.

So why use conference calling at all? Conference calling can definitely replace many of the initial meetings and conversations held to nail down important aspects of a deal, saving a business time and money. Conference calling can still bind a geographically separated team together that is working on a project, and enhance communications between team member and clients. But most importantly, the use of conference calling can save money typically spent on travel expenses for these preliminary meetings making a deal or project much more lucrative in the long run.

So when should you use conference calling? Here are some of the times that you may want to consider using conference calling instead of a business trip to a client or prospect:

1. Team and member meeting introduction. Early contact with a client can certainly be done with conference calling. Having your team member hear from the client themselves what is important on a project can be done on the telephone effectively and can be highly valuable to all members providing support and services on a project. This communication can help everyone to keep and maintain the proper focus when working on the project.

2. Selling presentations using PowerPoint slide shows and even software demos can easily be done with web conferencing; a new twist on phone conferencing that introduces the computer screen, video, and application sharing using the Internet as the exchange medium.

3. Action planning, strategic planning and follow-up meetings can be effectively done with conference calling. A spontaneous or quickly scheduled meeting is perfectly suited to the use of conference calling; helping to connect everyone on a project for a quick status check or an important change of direction.

4. There are endless other scenarios in your own personal business dealings when conference calling would save you time or money, increase employee productivity by not having to leave the office, and not hurt the deal or negotiation.

When should you not use conference calling? There are a few situations where face-to-face communication is crucially important and may even be demanded. These situations can change for each project but below are a few examples that illustrate when personal contact is really better than conference calling.

1. A face-to-face meeting will be best to negotiate or bargain on a deal or project or to close a deal and get the contract signed. In any meeting where there is a high give and take exchange factor, conference calling may not be the best way to handle the situation.

2. When there is a contentious problem that really must be resolved to move the selling process or project forward. When tempers have flared due to a missed deadline, missed benchmark, or change in a deliverable, a face-to-face meeting is best. Clients may actually perceive your face-to-face visit as assigning their project more “value”, in their eyes, and may actually demand this action especially if the project has a high dollar value.

The bottom-line is that conference calling can easily replace planning meetings or “feel good” visits, but conference calling will never replace the personal touch that only a face-to-face meeting can provide in hard situations or where a strong give and take between participants is expected in advance.


About the Author

Amy Linley gives practical and usable advice regarding communication and meetings at AccuConference - http://www.accuconference.com.

Find out more about our conference call, web conferencing and video conferencing services from AccuConference - http://www.accuconference.com/conferencecalls.


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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-12-10 21:35:57 in Business Articles

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