Less than a working generation ago, we'd sit in meeting rooms with a strange device permanently stationed in the middle of the table.
Its design aesthetic often resembling a 70s sci-fi movie birdseye view of an Atlantis lair. Squashed. With rounded tentacles circling outwards. Keypad and mini-screen protruding from one such concave webbing.
They were telephone conference soundstations. Ubiquitous spanning the time between recessions of early 90s slump to beyond the GFC.
Teleconferencing seemed neutral for Enterprise popularity. Acceptable as part of the job. Required for multi-location involvement. Maybe the sole domain of telesales anyway. Capable of bringing a sense of occasion to a meeting so convened. Yet perhaps unloved, judging by the lack of clamour to host them with any recurring volume.
Then there were logistics. What if someone on the call was noise affected; in open-plan office, driving (hands-free, even then) or worse, outside?
What about those stilted pauses, wondering who talks next, or not knowing whether agreement or objection occurs?
Ringing more bells?
You'd think that maybe the video call had usurped the teleconference.
But not quite.
For instance, how many video calls have you been on where you gaze into the screen for a minority of its duration?
I often lament that too many people treat a video call as little more than an audio one that happens to have an occasionally blinking 2-D avatar on show.
A phone call with a pic is not a video call that sells.
As exception that proves this rule, consider this modern-day update to last century's teleconference call.
There are meeting by-laws.
You do not need to look at the screen all the time
You are not expected to be fixated on your webcam
You are not required to sit square-on to your camera
You will not be penalised for looking at another screen
You will not be questioned for perusing papers
You won't be tutted for writing notes
You won't be pulled up for sipping a drink
There are now further, fresher perspectives.
Try the Rembrandt pose, sitting side-on
Move around, naturally
Make sure you've a decent mic
Get adept at screen sharing
Have shareable content prepped and ready
Read and write (& sip) when you need
There is tech that replicates the old-style teleconference, updated with all-round video feeds.
That might stay niche. Or swerved on cost. Or dismissed as hybrid folly.
Despite converts being zealous proponents.
But you can still come close the way you are now. And unleash a whole raft of benefits by adding this type of meeting into your armoury to take you and your sales to another level.
And even better, your clients will thank you for it.