Here’s One Skill You Need to Master to Remain Competitive

The old saying, “What got you here won’t get you there,” applies to your professional life today. The world is quickly changing as well as the competitive landscape. Whether you are running a business or trying to increase your career equity, ramping up your skill set is important. 

If there is one skill that stands out as a game-changer, it’s the ability to effectively communicate with people from a distance. It leads to more collaboration, better expectation management and an improved ability to lead others to outperform on projects. 

For most of my life, I’ve heard that there’s nothing like face-to-face communications for connecting with others and managing relationships. But it’s harder than ever to make every interaction in-person. So, we rely on the phone and more recently, email and text. While those are convenient to use, they pale in comparison to video conferencing when it comes to high quality conversations that produce results and connections. 

A few years ago, I decided to invest in video conferencing by creating an area in my office with a backdrop and a lighting set and a high-quality webcam. I settled on Zoom as my platform of choice and then started to offer clients and business associates the option of doing video instead of a call or an endless email thread. Within a dozen sessions, I started to get the hang of screen sharing, which really improved my ability to collaborate with others and visually communicate difficult concepts. Today, I’m almost 100% video communications based, only doing the rare conference call. 

There are many benefits to video communications. Stanford researchers found that when we conduct video conferences, we achieve neural synchronization with others, just like we do in-person. This allows us to be more candid, create mutual liking faster and get more done with less time. The other big plus is that you have more focused conversations, because video requires us to single-task unlike conference calls, email or smartphone conversations. 

As a consultant, I’ve helped entire companies move their sales, service and supplier communications over to video, and it’s made a huge difference to their bottom line. It also gives them a competitive advantage over rivals who stay stuck in audio or typed out conversations.

Here are a few data points from our research that demonstrate the gains from video VS phone/email:

  • 30% increase in value from suppliers 
  • 50% increase in closing ratio for high quality deals 
  • 25% decrease in remote employee attrition 

Connected to this topic, producing high quality videos is a skill that will help you communicate broadly more effectively. They will convey your intentions much more effectively than a written memo or email. From sales proposals to company updates, learning how to make videos will give you a distinct advantage in the future. It’s a matter of finding your space to shoot, getting a decent camera for the job and learning how to use video editing software. If you just want to focus on making the video footage, you can outsource editing to a freelancer. You can find them on Upwork and you’ll be surprised at how affordable they are. 

Here are a few resources for you to get started right away: 

Whatever you do, don’t put off getting started. The world is quickly moving to video as a primary way of connecting from a distance. The sooner you master this skill, the more benefit you’ll receive from this trend. Don’t worry – you’ll look great!