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The #Careerlion Guide to Video Conferencing

The #Careerlion Guide to Video Conferencing

With the world globalising and people working more and more from different locations, video conferencing is part of many #careerlions’ work lives. While video conferencing allows us to work together remotely, it is also a breeding point for misunderstandings and frustration. Not only does video conferencing deprive us from emotional knowledge to better understand the context, there are also many practical and technical difficulties that I am sure you have experienced frequently as well. If you are having a bad day, it may well take you ten minutes to finally get connected and the meeting going. I don’t know how many times I have been on the call: “Hello, Bonjour, can you hear me? Hello?”. This video is also a very funny, yet accurate, display of what video conferencing is like in real life. Today’s blog is focused on the difficulties paired with video calls and a guide to optimise them.

What is good to understand is that virtual communication suffers from several issues. When we consider video conferencing, the fact that virtual communication lacks in empathy, emotion, connection, and commitment are a starting point for difficulties. In Can You Hear Me by Nick Morgan from the Harvard Business Review Press, these issues are covered in full detail. In the book, they speak about the difficulties people have making decisions in a virtual context as the emotional subtext is lacking. Other difficulties paired with video calls are paying attention, analysing the meaning, recognising patterns, and deep mental work. Knowing all of these difficulties, here is a list to optimise your video calls:

  • Make sure that you invest in face-to-face connection time to work on your relationship. This is extremely important as research has indicated that we don’t collaborate as well virtually than face-to-face, we lack trust, and we tend to be angrier. By understanding one another better, you will be able to better understand each other and form a context yourself in the video calls following. You will also be able to build a level of trust.

  • Limit the number of distractions for yourself and others. As emotion is lacking in video calls, people tend to be distracted much more easily. This is why video calls can be so boring and many people end up diving into their mailbox during the call, making the call and themselves unproductive.

  • Realise and accept the differences between virtual and physical meetings. One of the examples in Can You Hear Me is that one is generally speaking more likely to accept people changing their minds and being moody in the physical world opposed to the virtual world. Somehow, we hold others to more rigid standard of behaviour and we tend to be less forgiving. I found this particularly interesting. When I started to think it over, I had to conclude that this in fact true. Something to remember next time to somebody changes their mind after a video call.

  • Make sure you use the right tools. There are many video conferencing solutions, but the camera and the microphone you use are also key to a successful call. If you cannot hear someone well, you are more likely to be distracted and following the meeting also costs a lot more energy than needed. Especially, since research has indicated that people already feel disconnected and bored in video conference calls. Personally, I like to use my Bose noise cancelling headphones when I am just by myself calling in. When I am with my colleagues and we do not have a video conferencing room available to us, we prefer using a Jabra speaker that you can connect to your phone via Wifi or use via USB in your laptop. The quality of the speaker is absolutely great.  

What are your tips and tricks to video conferencing? Will you use any of these tips? Do share with us please below! 

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