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What is your preference - video call or telephone?

  • 1.  What is your preference - video call or telephone?

    Posted 08-27-2020 12:06 AM
    Over the last few months, I have connected with colleagues over video much more than before.  I began to wonder if I had an affinity for one means of communication over the other - based on my style of work and personality.

    Drum roll please...

    At first, I was wooed by the fun backgrounds of video conferencing software. Now, outside of in-person work meetings,  I favor an "old-fashioned" telephone call.  This is because my focus on the information being exchanged is enhanced/increased in an audio-only situation.  (With video, I find myself expending energy to fully engage with the speaker via eye contact and head nodding.  With audio-only, I use that energy toward taking notes for reference and for listening comprehension.)  I enjoy engaging with people through video to become acquainted with one another.  After this time period, I also appreciate the connection forged with the lone sound of a voice.

    What is your preference - video call or telephone?

    Thanks for your thoughts,
    Jameelah


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    Jameelah Ingram P.E., M.ASCE
    Washington, DC
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  • 2.  RE: What is your preference - video call or telephone?

    Posted 08-29-2020 12:27 AM
    I like video because:
    1. you can get to know the person, and be sociable for a time period similar to in-person meetings.  After that, I usually shut off the camera.  I do agree that looking at the person is difficult because my camera is not located in the middle of the main screen I use regularly.  I find when I pay attention, that they are generally looking at my left ear.

    2. your can share drawings, sketches.  I find on the telephone, I spend more time trying to explain things that a simple sketch conveys.  I do not know who said it, but an appropriate picture is indeed worth a thousand words.

    I may be a bit biased at this point, as my company consists of 6 people, three on opposite corners in Houston area, one in Colorado, one in Wyoming, and one in Alabama.  Video meetings are our only real option.  We pretty much live on live meetings and sketching on pdfs, and texting to ask them to come into a video meeting.

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    Dwayne Culp, Ph.D., Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE
    Culp Engineering, LLC
    Rosenberg TX
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  • 3.  RE: What is your preference - video call or telephone?

    Posted 08-31-2020 08:46 AM
    I like video call more because it's much easier to share screen so everyone knows what's going on faster thus less confusing and save more time.

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    Tung Nguyen, PhD
    Jacobs, Water Resources Engineer
    Sacramento, CA
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  • 4.  RE: What is your preference - video call or telephone?

    Posted 08-31-2020 11:47 AM
    I think my preference is dependent on the purpose of the meeting and the parties involved.

    • If we are discussing something that requires reviewing documents, I like to at least have screen sharing abilities.
    • If it is someone I'm not used to coordinating with, video calls allow me to try to read body language and facial expressions to get a feel for how things are going. It's not always clear at the beginning of a project what a client's understanding is of technical content and what needs to be explained further. Facial cues can let me know when they may need a different explanation.
    • If it is a particularly difficult person to work with, sometimes the energy required to not appear frustrated (body language and facial expressions) is not worth the usual benefits of a video call.
    • If I'm only peripherally involved in the conversations (like when an architect is coordination HVAC systems with MEP), I prefer to not have my video on since I'm not actively engaged.
    • My favorite video calls are with people I am used to seeing in person. (College mentors, coworkers during quarantine, etc)
    • If I'm just chatting with a friend, I prefer phone calls because I can do other things while we talk (take a walk, housework, etc)


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    Heidi Wallace EI,P.E.,M.ASCE
    P.E.
    Tulsa OK
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