Here again are our two five-minute videos on how to look good on screen and the etiquette of on-screen meetings.
As time goes on and we get better at remote working in some ways, there are still some gaps that are getting in the way of good communication. It’s interesting that socially, many individuals have decided to stick to the telephone because they are so fed up with video conferencing all day long, which is often more tiring.
Here are a few tips, in addition to watching the videos which I think you will find entertaining as well as useful:
If you do other things whilst you are on screen, and try to carry on with your WhatsApp conversations, it becomes very obvious to the watcher, even if you are making a good job of it.
When you go away from the screen, please make sure that you turn your audio off. I heard somebody discussing another participant the other day, to some considerable embarrassment, because they hadn’t turned their microphone off.
It is often very useful to have your default position as mute, so that you can actively turn the sound on rather than the reverse. Again, this avoids all sorts of embarrassment.
Preparation – it’s amazing how the rules of engagement that are present in face-to-face meetings are sometimes forgotten during a Zoom call, and that not all the relevant information is always to hand.
Unmute and turn on the camera – it is amazing how many people forget to turn OFF the mute and switch ON the camera when they want to make a contribution.
One of the things individuals are missing is what we might call chit chat, or small talk, and this is an important part of building rapport so it is worth allowing time in a meeting for some chat.
It’s important to diarise regular breaks, otherwise one boundary runs into the next and leads to exhaustion.
The Chairperson has a very difficult job on Zoom, and needs to pay extra attention to cues that maybe other people don’t hear or see. Concentrating on the screen gives you the opportunity to notice subliminal cues in language and tone, and to stop people talking across each other. It requires a more aggressive (in a positive sense) way of chairing meetings than in a face to face environment.
Watch out for the over-extension of emotions: individuals are now getting very weary of home working with all the domestic and work stresses that this, in some cases, amplifies.
Do remember also that the digital environment makes emotions more stark as they are not as diluted by subliminals that are present in face to face meetings – it’s just worth bearing in mind.