How to Make Your Zoom Better With Visuals
Christine’s eyes threatened to roll back into her head as an invitation for One. More. Zoom meeting. crossed her inbox.
Fondly remembering the “good old days” when video calls were reserved for things like major conversations with teams on the other side of the world, back before they became part of our day-to-day habits in the new work-from-home environment, Christine reluctantly hit “accept” and already began to dread tomorrow.
It seems that every day is getting more and more filled with back to back calls. Before (and by “before” I mean “before mid-March 2020”), there was at least an acknowledgment that you couldn’t effectively be in one meeting that ended at 10 and also in another that started at 10, but with the instant click of a button, the new tech allows us to switch from conversation to conversation in under 60 seconds. So everyone does. It’s becoming an uncomfortable norm.
But setting aside the danger of being overscheduled and the unhealthy habits that can foster (we’ll talk time management another day), there are some real benefits to videoconferencing, if we do it right.
In this strange era in which we find ourselves, three things are more important than ever when it comes to meetings. They’ve always been important, and now they are even more important when we can’t be in the same room.
Those three ideas are visual, space, and brevity. This week, we’ll explore the visual side of videoconferencing.
Studies seem to show us that a majority of us are visual learners or use visual cues as a significant part of our learning. That means the visual connection does something to our ability to process information and retain it.
- Being in a video conference allows us to see the other humans, and make the mental connection between them and the topic that we’re discussing. Recalling words that were spoken by a disembodied voice is harder than recalling themes or concepts that were shared by someone whose facial expressions were matching their message.
- The ease with which we can now share screens or graphics makes it so much simpler to make our communication more effective.
- Another advantage to the video call is the visual that you get on the nonverbal so you can see what people are doing.
- Minor aside here... if you are attending a meeting, and you’ve got your video off or you’ve disengaged, this is a really great indication that you need to reconsider whether or not you should even be at that meeting. If it’s a meeting that you should be attending, then by engaging and showing your face on screen and participating you may be able to help move the meeting along faster and more effectively.
- Bored to tears by that participant who won’t stop talking? Sometimes people talk on and on because they don’t see the clues that others wish they would stop. You raising your hand, or leaning in to talk might be just the thing that person needs to stop hogging the mic.
- Message received and tired of having the presenter say the same thing another way? Sometimes conveyors of information repeat themselves in different ways until they get confirmation that the message made it through. You nodding your head or taking yourself off mute to say “makes sense, thanks!” might be just the thing the speaker needs to know their message made it through so they can move on.
- If you’re the meeting owner or facilitator, and you’ve noticed that a bunch of people have checked out or turned their video off so you can’t see that they’re doing other things or disengaging in the meeting, then I implore you to find better ways to use time. The loss of productivity and the waste of money on useless meetings is staggering. Many organizations waste hours and hours that could be put to better use towards their mission, vision, and goals. And there’s simply no need for it. Check out our wide range of tools and resources here to help. A meeting is not the only way to exchange information and ideas, and if yours are unproductive to the point of being wasteful or painful, let us help!
- The last point I’ll make about the visuals is that for many people, as of late January 2021, things are not “back to the way they were“. We are not meeting face-to-face and in-person with the frequency that we used to, and there are many of us for whom the human connection is a priority. If you are working with someone for whom that human connection is so critical, and you know you can’t meet in person, then a video conference is a great way to show that person you care enough to offer them the next best thing to in-person.
How will you make your video calls better with visuals? Join us next week to explore the idea of space.