The most important thing you can do for the promotion of successful videoconferencing is to let people know that you exist! The chances are that you have had your share of problems and ‘near misses’. What you definitely have is experience and that is what is needed by others who are just starting. During the survey reported in Chapter 3 of this report, many institutions replied by saying that they were currently considering the implementation of videoconferencing and it was clear by their responses that they still had a lot to learn about the subject. It took the authors of this report a lot of time and effort to identify individuals within each organisation who were responsible for videoconferencing and still many have been missed. In an attempt to help those who would like to discuss videoconferencing with those who have had experience, there is a list of contacts in the Appendix 4. If you have experience and would not mind being contacted by those who are just beginning, you could contact someone who is listed in the Appendix and let them know. In this way, the network of users can expand. Currently, there are ‘pockets’ of networks of videoconference users. The pockets will eventually merge and hopefully this process will help. It may be that you not only have experience in providing a service for those in you institution but that you also provide a service for other institutions. If so, please inform groups such as the ETF as they will be able to point potential customers in your direction if it is appropriate to do so.
It is important not to be complacent when you have a successful service. Things change; new products become available and users’ requirements change. Be open to criticism and see any feedback you get as an opportunity to improve. See subject section ‘Management of videoconferencing services’.
It is tempting, particularly if you have been doing something for many years and also if you have been successful, to see all those who follow in your footsteps as somehow inferior. This is dangerous because there is then a tendency to assume you are right in all things and that by the very nature of things, you are senior and therefore do not need to listen. This is of course nonsense and not only leads to poor relationships but also prevents you from learning. Listen to those who are just beginning or who work in a different area of videoconferencing from yourself.
If you feel ‘superior’ and knowledgeable in your own field, it can also be tempting when working with other academics to automatically treat them as inferior, especially if they obviously know little about videoconferencing. Many of them will be eminent in their own area of expertise and will expect a certain amount of respect!
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