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Using Video to Stay in Touch [guest post]
Author: Whitney Hollingshead
Communicating over the internet or by phone can be pretty impersonal at times. Especially when you only communicate via text or email. Thanks goodness there are ways to use these same devices to have more personal communication. The answer is video!
Using your phone, tablet, or computer to communicate over video can put that personal touch back in an increasingly impersonal world. Whether you want to communicate with family, friends, co workers, your boss, or even clients, and in person is not an option, consider these suggestions for staying in touch via video.
Staying in Touch with Family
Nearly everyone has a gmail account these days. You can use your gmail account to access Google Hangouts to start a group video call for free. You can even have up to 10 users join the conversation. All you need is a device that has video capabilities (ie. smartphone, tablet, laptop, computer, etc.). With so many devices available, you can have the whole family join the video chat from nearly anywhere on earth!
Here are some great ways to use Hangouts* to stay in touch with your family:
Have big news you want to share with everyone at once? If you have family members spread all over the map, it can be a challenge to decide who to call first with your big news. Get everyone to join by video and see everyone’s reactions at once. The best part about sharing news over a video chat is that you can plan out a really fun way to share the news!
Bummed that you are missing a family get together? You can use Hangouts to literally hang out with your family. If your family members are too far away to get together, plan to hold the event online! Baby shower? Bridal shower? Birthday party? Mother’s Day? Father’s Day? All of these important family events can be held via video. Just have everyone ship their gifts to the recipient and they can open them over video.
Planning a family party or reunion? Get all of the family members involved in the planning to join a video meeting. You can discuss all of the details face to face as a group.
Just miss being together? You don’t need big news or a special occasion to get your family together. Plan a date and time to get everyone in on a video chat and spend some time catching up with the whole family. Consider planning a family video chat for once a month to stay in touch.
Of course you can also use video chat to keep in touch with your family members one or two at a time. The suggestions above mention ways to stay in touch with the whole family, but video chat is a great way to stay in touch with family members in general.
*You can use Skype instead of Google Hangouts. Every family member needs an active Skype account to participate, but Skype allows 25 users to join at once. So if you have a really large family consider using Skype instead!
Staying in Touch with Friends
Video chat also provides some great ways to stay in touch with friends. Check out the suggestions below:
You want to make plans. If you are trying to make plans for more than two people, you can make your planning much more efficient by discussing everything together as a group over video chat.
You have to stay in touch. You tell your best friend everything. Keep it personal and have conversations regularly over video. One huge bonus to video conversations is that you have a much better idea who is listening on the other end. Before you start sharing secrets or venting over IM, consider that other eyes may be in on the conversation.
You want to get the whole crew together. As life progresses it gets hard to get a whole group of friends together, especially when people move, get married, have children, etc. Video makes it much easier to get everyone together again.
You just moved. If you moved recently, you may be missing your friends. Use video to take them on a tour of your new place, neighborhood, workplace, or even your new city.
Staying in Touch with Work
Depending on your job, you may be able to use video to stay in touch with work. Here are some examples:
You are ill.
You need to stay home with a sick child.
You are out of the office.
You want to work from home.
Severe weather makes it difficult to get to work.
You want to meet with a customer or client, without traveling out of state.
Video may make it possible for you to participate in important meetings or discuss things with your team when any of the situations above affect you. The biggest challenge will most likely come in convincing your boss that video really can make it possible for you to do your job away from the office. You should show your boss this post to help plead your case.
If you do get permission to use video for work, remember these helpful tips:
Dress as if you are going to work.
Make sure the area around you is clean and distraction free.
Do a test run to make sure the technology is working properly.
Treat the video exchange as if you are in a real meeting.
Whether you need to stay in touch with family members, friends, co workers, your boss, or even your customers, internet based video solutions are the next best thing to meeting in person.
Do you use video to stay in touch with family and friends?