“This will be easy,” we all thought.
Working from home, feet up, bottoms optional on video meetings. Easy.
Until it wasn’t.
Meetings are a drag. It’s hard to focus, to connect. We can’t go an hour without feeling exhausted.
Up to 90% of communication is non-verbal. One of the biggest skills in improv is eye contact. You see your partner and take in all that extra information.
With video meetings, real eye contact is gone.
Next time you’re on a call with a friend, try this:
- They look directly into their webcam while you look at their face on the screen. You now have “eye contact” with them, but they don’t have it with you.
- Now get them to look away from the camera to your face. You immediately feel a loss of connection.
Adding to the problem, we only see heads and shoulders on flat screens that remove the 3-D experience. There’s a LOT of non-verbal information lost.
But since we’re still “face-to-face,” your brain treats this like an in-person conversation. It starts working overtime to process the disconnects.
After a few minutes, you start to feel it. Like running your car on poor gasoline, it’s really hard on the engine.
So, tips for video meetings:
- When speaking, look straight into the camera. You’ll make “eye contact” with viewers which helps them focus.
- Speak in short segments and pause often. This prevents overwhelming people with information, and you can scan faces for reactions.
- Plan every meeting. What do you need to accomplish? Front-load your agenda with the most important things so you can cut off early if/when focus starts to drag.
- It’s still going to be tiring. Take shorter meetings and allow more breaks.