When I say “visual communications,” you might think I’m referring to video conferencing, which has been around for a long time and is most often used by executives in large companies due to the expense and size of the equipment. It allows the executives to conduct virtual meetings, enabling them to both see and hear each other regardless of the attendees’ location. Visual communications is quite different.
Visual communications is actually much simpler and at the same time more powerful. If you’ve ever used a program like Skype on your laptop, desktop, smart phone, or tablet to communicate with a loved one or friend, then you’ve used visual communications.
How much did it cost to have the visual communication? Absolutely nothing. Everyone, especially small business owners, loves powerful tools that are free.
And why did you choose to communicate visually rather than have a regular phone call? Probably because you wanted to see the other person you were communicating with, not just hear them. After all, when you’re on the phone with someone, you may know what they’re saying, but you don’t know what they’re really thinking because you can’t see their face or body language. You can’t see if they’re engaged, if they have a question, if they’re excited, or if they agree or disagree with you. You can only wait until you stop talking and they start talking.
When you can see someone as you’re talking to them, just like you do when you are with them in person, you can adjust your communications in real time as you are interacting to make sure you’re staying relevant and keeping them engaged and focused. That’s why millions of individuals use visual communications with their kids and loved ones when they’re away on a business trip. If you have used it personally, you know first hand the power of visual communications.
So if you use the tool with your family, why aren’t you visually communicating with your customers? Why aren’t you doing it with your employees?
If you aren’t utilizing visual communications for work, you will be very soon, and you’ll be using it a lot. Why? Because anytime a technology enhances communications, the businesses that embrace it first gain a major advantage. And eventually, their competitors will have to use it in order to stay in business.
In fact, you can predict the future of organizational training and education if you just think about it; visual communications will soon be used by your company for customer service, sales, maintenance, support, and a host of other areas. That means you will soon be on television, and that you and your staff are going to need some training on how to communicate to a person on a screen.
One of the strategies I find very useful is to be pre-active to a future known event. So how about getting the training now, before you and your staff start visually communicating to customers and fellow employees and find out that many aren’t that good? Wouldn’t that save you a lot of frustration and more important, lost sales?
When I first started doing television interviews, I decided to get training on how to excel on TV before my first interview, rather than take a chance on not being very good.
Why not get training today so you and your staff can be good right from the start? If you have salespeople, get them trained now so they can use visual communications to gain a new competitive advantage before the competition. In addition, you will show customers that care about maximizing communications even when you can’t meet face-to-face, and you will also show that you are an innovative sales organization willing to go the extra mile for a customer. Remember two things: 1) Both you and the customer already have the equipment, so cost is not an issue, and 2) If you don’t do it, your competition will.
So ask yourself; “How might we use visual communications to enhance communication, collaboration, engagement, and action now?”
DANIEL BURRUS is considered one of the world’s leading technology forecasters and innovation experts, and is the founder and CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients understand how technological, social and business forces are converging to create enormous untapped opportunities. He is the author of six books including The New York Times best seller Flash Foresight.