We fill our day with video calls. It's part of the job but also part of the emotional life. We communicate with family, friends, loved ones or lovers through video calls. And that is tiring.
The laptop is already on, the hot cup of coffee is on the table and the headset is ready to start the first of many video calls that will happen during the day. This scenario has become a common and daily occurrence in times of pandemic and it is very likely to continue from now on.
However, we are still trying to assimilate and understand what a world with virtual meetings is like.
Video calls are tiring because of an extra dose of communication. We are focused on more things (we talk, listen, look at each other and know we are being looked at) and technology can fail.
Lack of response or absence of sound during a virtual call, whether due to interference or poor video quality, leads to increased anxiety, expectations, and discomfort.
It has been proven that silences that last longer than a second cause unfriendly perception, generating misunderstandings or friction in communication.
Experts in work environment analysis indicate that one of the reasons why moving from one call to another is so strenuous is that it requires a high level of mental energy.
Having to interact in front of a laptop or tablet as an intermediary is not as intuitive when it comes to decoding gestures, expressions, tones of voice, breathing levels, in short, non-verbal language messages.
Our attention span is required because we share the same space of virtuality for both work and personal relationships.
To have an effective video call, follow these tips:
1. Prepare. Make sure everything is connected and working properly, you have all the information you need and you're ready to start the call a couple of minutes before it's due.
2. Work on your skills. Whether it's listening or public speaking, or maybe working the camera, understand your weakness and work on improving it, step by step.
3. Take breaks. While this is not always possible, try not to schedule back-to-back calls. Make sure you rest in between meetings.
4. Communicate with virtual reality in mind. It's way more difficult than face to face. Listen actively, summarize what you heard, engage in conversation and look into the camera.
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