How Can Electronic Conferencing Increase a Company's Productivity & Efficiency?
Electronic conferencing is a method of holding meetings with customers or colleagues in different locations via the Internet. This type of conference is known as a virtual meeting because the participants don’t have to be in the same room to communicate or share information. While one of the most important benefits is the reduction in travel time and costs, businesses can employ e-conferencing to improve productivity and efficiency by speeding up decision-making, solving problems faster and collaborating more easily.
The most suitable types of electronic conferencing for small businesses are Web conferencing and desktop videoconferencing. You can set up or join an electronic conference by using software and a small video camera on a desktop computer, laptop or tablet computer linked to the Internet; many computers have a built-in video camera. You can speak and listen during a conference by using a microphone and speakers attached to the computer or by telephone. Some smartphones have the capacity to support conferencing, so people can join a meeting even when they are away from a desk.
Holding an electronic conference means participants do not have to spend time on traveling to a face-to-face meeting location. That frees up time to work on important tasks, improving productivity. If you have a sales team based around the country, you can hold regular sales meetings by electronic conferencing rather than paying for travel expenses. Companies with distributors, customers or offices in other countries can arrange meetings without the time and cost of air travel and hotel accommodation.
Electronic conferencing makes it easier for project teams to collaborate. If project managers want to involve members based in different locations or different companies, they can arrange meetings quickly and easily to address problems that might delay the project. During the conference, participants can view and comment on documents and diagrams and update them. This speeds up decision-making and ensures that projects stay on track.
Technical support staff and sales representatives working in the field can use electronic conferencing to improve their productivity and efficiency. Using smartphones with a wireless Internet connection, they can hold virtual meetings with colleagues. An engineer on a customer site who is trying to resolve a complex problem can confer with experts at the office to discuss possible solutions. A sales representative visiting a customer to discuss a new contract can set up a conference with colleagues in purchasing and marketing to help finalize negotiations during the meeting.
Desktop videoconferencing and Web conferencing make it easier for employees to collaborate, as there is no need to book sessions in advance. Colleagues can set up a conference in minutes. When employees want to obtain feedback or authorization before making a decision, or if employees need advice from experts before completing a job, they can quickly consult the right specialists. A better response to business opportunities improves efficiency throughout the company.