This blog is a review of my experience using Skype for a production meeting.
For our course we have to write a digital story. If you are like me and have to juggle commitments such as work, other courses and personal relationships, Skype can be a very valuable tool. Being able to speak to someone from any given internet access point is really valuable when trying to find time to fit things in and it saves you both the money and time it takes to travel to any given meeting place.
Skype is not perfect however and takes a little getting used to.
I don’t know if other people feel this way when they use it but for me I immediately feel shorter (like I’ve been squashed), I unconsciously raise the volume of my voice and I pause awkwardly as if expecting visual cues that never come.
I feel short because I get the sense it is important for me to remain in the frame. I have only felt this way before when I was leaning in the low-set window of a cubby house I had outgrown. I feel that if my head goes outside of the frame I will be cut off from the person or people I am talking too.
My voice goes up in volume because I feel that, I not only have to strain to hear but have to speak louder as well so that the receiver can hear me.
I think the reason I pause for visual cues is a combination of looking at myself while I speak (becoming self conscious) and not being able to maintain eye contact with the person I am speaking to. This is because when looking at the video of the person you are not looking directly at them. This messes with the brains ability to smoothly communicate through body language creating awkwardness in the way the conversation flows.
All of these things are amplified when you add another person into the conversation.
At times the gaps in the conversation that occur can be quite uncomfortable but I find I become more comfortable speaking when I am occupied visually by something else. In fact I find I’m most comfortable when I’m just talking like I’m on the phone and browsing at the same time. I still speak at a louder volume than usual (drives my housemates crazy) but I feel less confined by the visual aspect of the medium when I am looking at something else.
So why don’t I just talk on the phone, right? Well besides the obvious saving of money, I can still get work done and talk at the same time, which for some reason just doesn’t work when talking on the phone.
On the phone you can’t further enrich the conversation by dropping in examples of what you are talking about or share ideas visually and I guess this is what Skype is all about.
In summary Skype is not the most comfortable way to communicate but it allows you to talk face to face without the cost of a video call from your mobile phone, and enables you to enrich the conversation by linking in visual references.
Our meeting was for 15 minutes.
The goals of the meeting were:
To establish what roles each group member would take on.
To decide what our specific story was about.
To make a time for our next meeting.
All goals were achieved within the allotted time.
Would I have a meeting with this group again on Skype? Yes. I found that we achieved what we set out to do and in a very short time too. I especially like that we could share examples and view examples while still talking.
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