Psychological Study Emphasises Importance of Visual Cues to Successful Teamwork
"Successful Video Communication, the study conducted by business psychologists Pearn Kandola, is the latest in a series of studies commissioned by Cisco into the psychology of business communication. How people assess another person's trustworthiness is based largely on behaviour and body language, with the spoken word contributing only 7 percent of a person's assessment, yet many businesses still rely on telephone and audio conferencing for team collaboration. This latest report explores how video communication can be used to improve business productivity in remote teams, and how psychological barriers to using these tools can be reduced.
Stuart Duff, the head of development at Pearn Kandola and leader of the research team, states: "Global and remote team communications are becoming the norm as businesses focus on cost reduction while trying to develop stronger, more productive teams. Video communication could provide a viable alternative to in-person meetings, so the significant question is how people develop the familiarity, confidence and comfort to use video communication regularly, and what factors allow those users to reap the full benefits of this leading-edge communication style."
The report highlights how video can have a positive effect on different personality types in a virtual meeting:
Video communication brings to the forefront the issue of culture and its effect on communication among virtual teams. For example, video can help accelerate relationship building with 'high context' cultures such as China, Japan and Middle East, where relationships are based on integrity and social interactions. Countries such as Germany, Sweden and Denmark are characterised by their 'low power distance' culture, meaning that colleagues generally relate to each as equals, regardless of formal positions. When people from low-power-distance cultures interact with people from a culture where hierarchy is much more rigid, such as the Middle East, video can provide nonverbal signs of respect to lessen the effects of these differences.
"The factors that contribute to success during video communication relate to individuals and their mindsets, how teams are managed through their leaders, and how the organisation can create a supportive culture," adds Duff. "We observed the value of visual cues in successful meetings, and video technologies that maximise this, such as telepresence, are ideal for maintaining excellent relationships. However, individuals who approach meetings with a positive attitude, leaders who understand and support the different personalities and cultures in their teams, and organisations that provide the resources and training to make video communications the norm are also essential to effective video-enabled meetings."
"Video changes everything in business communication. It adds that vital visual dimension to help us really connect with our remote colleagues and collaborate effectively across geographic and organisational boundaries," says Nick Earle, senior vice president of Cisco Services, European Markets. "This latest Pearn Kandola study shows you how to extract the maximum benefit from every type of video communication and gives fresh insights into how 'visual networking' can help businesses take productivity to a new level."
About the research