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On April 30th, 2020

Video Conference Psychology: How to Improve Communication

Woman working from home and getting ready for a video conference call on her laptop.

 

Despite being a great communication tool, video conferencing doesn’t always feel natural. Sure, unlike phone calls, we have the benefit of reading facial expressions. But that doesn’t necessarily make the situation any easier. Video calls are still pretty different than our normal face-to-face conversations.

On the one hand, video calls seem to address our need for personal connection while working in a remote setting. Unfortunately, these interactions can also be more emotionally taxing. So how do we reconcile the two?

Quick Notes on Video Conferencing Psychology

A lot of people find video conferencing to be stressful—especially while working from home. Understanding our psychological tendencies can help ease the situation. The first thing to notice is that being on camera often makes us feel like there’s more social pressure than a regular in-person chat or presentation. We might become more distracted or even nervous, and that only seems to get worse when we see our own face on the screen. It’s normal to start feeling self-conscious! After all, it’s hard to ignore yourself when looking in a mirror, let alone on a video stream. Hiding the view of yourself in the chat can help mitigate all of those worries.

Of course, there may also be challenges with your environment. It’s one thing to have a video call with a friend while relaxing on the couch. But if you’re video conferencing for professional purposes, the circumstances can be very different at home. Some people might feel uncomfortable because their work life is now happening around their family. Without an organized setup, sharing that space (both physically and mentally) can be a little strange.

Improve Your Process for Video Calls

Having a convenient and private place to run your video conferences can obviously help meetings run more smoothly. Since that isn’t always an option, you probably want to find some ways to bridge the “awkward” gap. A couple practical tips might do the trick, and they can help your team feel better too.

For starters, focus on the positives. While video calls may not be the go-to for your company meetings, they do offer a nice alternative to phone conferences when working with multiple parties. It’s much easier to follow a group conversation when we can see who is speaking.  A phone call between two or three people usually works fine, but any more, and the exchange will just get harder and harder to follow if you can't tell which person is talking.

Another strategy is to simply appreciate the unexpected. While maintaining professionalism is important, it may not be possible on every video call. Not everyone has a designated office space at home, so keeping young kids and pets from wandering into the camera view may prove to be impossible. Rather than feel embarrassed, we might do better to embrace these moments and view them as another means of connecting with the people on our video conference. Simply acknowledging upfront that these things may happen can help put everyone’s mind at ease and lower tension at the start of the meeting.

Thinking About a New Video Conference Room?

As more teams adopt video calls in remote work settings, some leaders may start to rethink their video conference room back at their company’s official work environment. Not every client meeting needs to happen on-site. It might be time to update your conference room space for more frequent virtual meetings.

Consider taking the same lessons you’ve learned from your at-home video conferencing back to the office. Does your conference space have adequate lighting? Are there any windows that might ruin the video with backlight? What about your camera angle? Is it too far away, or perhaps too close? There are plenty of tips for how to set up your video conference room, and paying attention to your equipment quality should always be one of the priorities.

If you’d like to discuss your site’s options for a streamlined video conference system, our team at Enhanced Telecommunications is here to help. Send us a message to start the conversation. We’d love to work with you to find the right video equipment and projectors. Let's make your conference room better than ever!

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