7 ways to alleviate video meeting fatigue
Our communication consists of all our senses working together. When we look at the differences between video and in-person meetings, how do video meetings change the way we show up? Especially if this is a new way of doing business
How video calls compare to face-to-face communication
We can all relate to some, if not all, of this video. It is a classic conference call. Since the start of the pandemic video meetings, chat groups, Zoom hangouts and webinars are now the ‘new’ norm – are you feeling a little video-fatigued?
When we encounter others in person, all our senses play a part in our experience: scent, visual cues, taste, tones, and physical touch – which often comes into play at some point, perhaps a fist bump, handshake or hug. The mere physical presence of the other person stirs emotions and awareness in all our senses, whether we are conscious or unconscious of the neurological changes taking place. When we switch our interactions from face-to-face to on-screen, we lose almost all sensory intake. Video meetings limit us to only auditory and visual sensory data; with this, it’s easy for us to feel alone, even when we are with “others” all day.
When we are meeting face-to-face, some factors don’t exist within the video environment. Our self-awareness on a video call is exponentially increased as we can see ourselves, our reactions, and appearances throughout the engagement. Our inner critics, whether soft or loud, can impact how we are showing up and affect our authenticity and participation on the video call. We might limit our reactions due to this over heighten self-awareness. Our attention is even more divided. In-person to might fight daydreaming or running through our mental to-do list while trying to pay attention to the speaker, in a video call the addition of a ‘reflection,’ there are even more distractions.
How does technology impact our engagements when using video conferencing over face-to-face?
In a recent study shared in Science Direct on the misattribution of transmission delay to the effects on our conversations, highlights a delay as short 1.2 seconds made people perceive the responder as less friendly or focused. Silence is a natural part of real-life discussions; however, when they are on video meetings, we often become anxious, start to question the technology, wonder if the other person is still on the call or ‘frozen’ from technology. These situations increase our level of discomfort and anxiety, which causes neurological changes and negative emotions towards the others on the call.
So, how can we alleviate video meeting fatigue or ensure we are bringing our best selves to our video meetings?
We have sourced seven ways to improve our communication on video calls, or reduce video meeting fatigue:
1) Show personal interest
Take time at the beginning of the meeting to catch up, show personal interest and check in on the own wellbeing of those on the call. This will encourage positive endorphins, which also help stimulate creativity. Don’t jump straight into business.
2) Cover the image of yourself on the screen
Use a post-it note or move the frame out of view by removing the ability to see yourself. This will help create a more authentic call and reduce the cognitive dissonance of self-awareness.
3) Be platform selective
Select a tried and proven video conference platform. The lag and pixelation of the platform can create an additional layer of fatigue, not only taxing our emotional processors in trying to understand the other person’s reaction but also create unnecessary anxiety or stress. Use a proven system or one that is familiar to both parties. If you have Workplace, Teams or Slack, in your organization, use the build-in calling or video feature. If not, Zoom or WebEx are known as potential trusted options.
4) Give yourself leeway
When booking meetings, give yourself extra time before and after the call to allow for “technical lag.” Allowing for additional time will help with your stress level, especially when connecting with individuals who may be less technically savvy than you.
5) Build-in transition time
Take breaks between video calls. Grab a drink, stretch, walk the four corners of your home. Physically move or displace yourself between calls, especially if transitioning between work and personal, creating a physical change is essential to allow times to take off one “hat” and put on another.
6) Consider the phone
Not all meetings need to be video. Sometimes it’s nice to grab a drink, look outside and enjoy a conversation without distractions or go for a walk while on your call. Pay attention to your mood and emotional connection when using the phone versus a video platform. Self-reflection will help identify areas for personal improvement.
7) Pen and Paper
Go old-school and write a letter or card to someone, tell them you care. The positive psychology of writing for our mental health and the benefits to the receiver often have more prolonged effects than a quick call or video meeting.
Being intentional with our video meetings, how we are showing up will result in more meaningful connections and positive emotions. As a business leader, when we encourage and lead by example, our teams, fellow executives, children, partners, and family, will all benefit. We help build resilience, increase positivity, and strengthen our relationship as we adapt to more video meetings.
Let us do so with care and compassion.
I pride myself on helping business leaders build strategies around communication, collaboration and authenticity using a variety of technologies and techniques.