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video conferencing

Anyone doing video conferencing for small meetings? I'd like to talk to you about the experience, issues and effectiveness. Drop me an email.

A few months ago, I did a video conference meeting between myself, a PR rep of a web-based video conferencing vendor and their product manager. The conference went smoothly. My webcam worked fine. I was able to see other participants with excellent video quality. There were no technological problems at all. But it was also the most stressful vendor briefing I've ever done. Being on camera and watched, I felt a need to constantly appear interested, attentive and not distracted. Not that I normally blow off vendors and pretend to listen to them in a briefing. But you know how when you're on the phone, you sometimes look around the room, wave off coworkers to say you're busy, play with a pen on your desk, or refresh your email inbox to scan for urgent messages? You can't do that while being constantly watched on a webcam. Taking notes, which often require you to look down, may also be interpreted as disinterest through the webcam's eye (and sometimes, I don't want the caller to know when I'm taking a note). The whole process seemed a bit too unnatural. Maybe that feeling goes away with time.

Of course, there is also the fact that showing up on a video conference in a bathrobe, uncombed hair and poofy bunny slippers gives off a slightly unprofessional image.