Using Skype for Content and Collaboration

Xjs-Khaos via Flickr

For many Skype users the tool is simply a phone replacement or a way to make international calls without a charge.

While the direct communication uses are obvious, there are so many other ways to use this tool as well. In fact, I believe that one of the hottest trends of the back half of 2011 will be the ubiquitous use of video communication on the mobile device and this type of behavior change is going to make some of Skype’s features even more useful for business.

As smart phone users begin to ramp up their use of video conversations, (iPhone Facetime proves this huge) video recording (smart phone cameras make this an everyday use) and video sharing, (what don’t we share) business communication, content creation and collaboration in this vein will become commonplace.

Here’s how to turn Skype into a content creation machine.

Recording Skype calls and video chat is a tremendous way to create podcast episodes and video content to run on your site. The fact that the recording is captured directly into your computer eliminates several of the steps in the content creation process.

By supplementing your Skype account with a 3rd party recording application such as Call Recorder (Mac) or Pamela (PC) you can get built in recording of audio or video from within Skype. These programs record your voice and that of your guest in separate tracks, making it much easier to edit.

Get a low cost transcription by uploading the video or audio file to Casting Words and you’ve got sight, sound and text content creation.

So, get on Skype and get video testimonials from clients, interview clients and capture their video success stories, or set a time to interview an industry leader on a hot trend and capture the phone conversation for your next blog post. (Get a SkypeIn phone number and your guest won’t even need a Skype account to call you.)

Invite featured guest experts to present at your next lunch and learn via Skype Video and Skype enabled HDTV.

A few tool suggestions: Get a nice USB mic (Blue Snowball) and USB headset. (Sennheiser) so that the sound on your end is good. I use the headset for audio only and the mic with earpiece for video so I don’t look like a pilot on the video. You’ll need a camera for your computer is you’re going to do video. Most laptops come with build in cameras these days, but you should probably own a good HD camera anyway. I like the Canon HF20 because it has an external mic jack and flash memory card.

Here’s how to use Skype for collaboration

Sure, chatting on the phone is a collaboration activity, but you can a lot more with Skype.

Some of the features I use to enhance collaboration.

  • You can add multiple contacts and turn Skype into a conference call tool. (last I read it allows up to 24 – group video chat comes with an additional fee.)
  • You can create groups of contacts and use the IM feature to create a group chat function
  • You can share your screen with people on a call and do a quick demo – way faster than WebEx type of share
  • You can transfer files while on a call so the person has a document in question open

I think Skype is on the move to a become a big time player in the video and mobile space. The recently acquired Qik, an established player in the mobile video recording and sharing space and a sure sigh that Skype sees the shift to video communication. You can add the Skype app to your mobile and start using it on the go as well.

Any drawbacks? Sometimes the call quality is shaky. I don’t have many issues, but low bandwidth can cause problems. To get the full ride your guests and collaborators need Skype and a video camera, but Skype is free and this seems like it’s becoming less of an issue these days.

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  • David Jehlen

    This is fantastic information John. I’ve been wanting to dive much deeper into Skype and you just gave all of us a How To Guide…thanks!

    • ducttape

      My pleasure – I’m sure there’s more to know about this tool so let me know if you discover other tricks

  • Ivan Walsh

    Another way to use Skype is to lower phone costs, especially with folks on the road.

    Show your staff how to use Skype on their mobile and your phone bill goes down considerably.

    • ducttape

      Yes indeed, particularly if you’re selling globally

  • Ray

    Skype is a great tool. We are increasingly using it more and more to keep in touch with colleagues and clients. Great ideas here!

    • ducttape

      Thanks Ray, I do think there’s something about the visual/human communication that lacks when it’s about email.

  • JackHumphrey

    This is really quite a post! All the things I could imagine needing for Skype (that I’ve been putting off learning about till now!)

    Thanks John!

    • ducttape

      Hey Jack thanks for showing up here – I’ve read Friday Traffic Reports for years

  • Karla

    What a great post! This is a good read for me! I’m actually a great user of skype. I use this software to communicate with my clients all over the world. I should say, this is the best tool ever and it’s vital especially in my business. Anyway, thank you so much for sharing informative blog post like this! Keep sharing and looking forward to the next one…

  • Extreme John

    I just recently started using Skype on a much smaller level, or at least to try it on a much smaller level. It didn’t take very long for me to realize how much of a beneficial tool this will become to me in the next coming months. Skype gives me all of the options in one spot, chat if I don’t feel like being vocal, the option to go vocal and or visual.

    • ducttape

      Don’t overlook how easy it makes it to create content too!

  • Lewis LaLanne – NoteTakingNerd

    This is an AWESOME suggestion John!!!

    Chris Guilebeau did the whole 8-10 part interview series for his Empire Builders course using Skype. I enjoyed it more than just listening to teleclass. Not a humongous difference but I remember thinking, “Huh, this is cool seeing both of them talk.”

    Thanks also for the tip on how to record it to the computer as well as for the mic recommendation.

    • ducttape

      Glad to help – there’s a reason that video has become so popular on line!