Unruh, Turner, Burke & Frees
Skype is an online instant video service that allows you to have two-way visual communications with other users who also use Skype. All you need is a webcam and microphone and simply download a little applet and create a free account. It’s almost like instant messaging but with video. Depending upon the speed of your internet connection and your recipient’s connection, the quality of your video can range from highly pixelated to sluggish to delayed audio/video mismatch to good video and audio.
When all works well, you can get pretty clear audio and video that conveys more than text ever could. Before jumping in to use Skype to talk to your clients and potential clients, you need to have a firm grasp of what your clients expect of you and how they expected you to appear. Are they more concerned with your message, or are they more concerned with the appearance of the message? This is a very significant question and unless you can answer it clearly you may risk alienating the people you are trying to communicate with.
The first time I used Skype was when my wife and I were on vacation in the Bahamas and we wanted to communicate with the kids each night. Having our Macbook Pro laptop with built-in camera and microphone made it super easy to have person-to-person conversations with each of our kids with the press of a button. It was as if we were talking to them in person. It couldn’t have been easier and more pleasant. The second night we used Skype the wireless Internet connection in our hotel was lousy and our connection kept breaking up, becoming pixelated and very sluggish.
On the third night, the technology worked flawlessly.
Here are some observations about using Skype to communicate:
That brings me back to why you are communicating with someone using Skype. Is it to explain to your ideal client how you can help them? Is it to talk to an existing client who already trusts you? Is it to someone who doesn’t know you and is simply kicking the tires to get information?
I think that for quick communications with your friends and family, Skype is a great tool that allows you to quickly see and hear who you are talking to. One major downside is that it also restricts you to having to sit in front of your computer where the glow of the computer screen affects how the camera records your image. When you sit in front of the computer, your eyes are reading and looking at images and text. That means your eyes are away from the camera lens and you always appear to be looking down. When you have a conversation with someone in person, if you were always looking down, the other person would think something was wrong and you were avoiding them.
Skype is a really cool technology. The best part about it is that it’s free for personal use. You can literally communicate with anyone in the world who has an Internet connection and is also a member on Skype. See for yourself.