Why Aren’t You Zooming? The Fear And How To Cope With It.
The growing ubiquity of video conferencing has been an all-around positive development. It enables real-time communication around the world with the ability see each other and share screens to enable collaboration. But there are still those people out there – you know who you are! – that don’t feel comfortable on video. There are many reasons this “video anxiety” can pop up, but we’re going to touch on two common ones below and then tell you how to manage these anxieties.
When talking over the phone, no one’s looking at you. You’re safe in a cocoon and you don’t need to explain yourself to anyone. Through video, that little protective wall is demolished. You’re on display for everyone to see, even if you’re appearing in a tiny icon. Since you’re transmitting more than just your voice, other participants in the conversation will be able to read your tell-tale body language.
Add this to the fact that you can’t really hide it when you’re slightly distracted. You may be afraid of offending others by typing something real quick in the middle of them speaking. What if you inadvertently do something anything else that might embarrass you because you forget you’re on camera?
As a result of this anxiety, you might just simply ignore the tremendous opportunity that Zoom presents.
The technology intimidates you.
Everyone who’s been on many video meetings has been through an embarrassing moment where the system backfired. The worst part about this is that it’s often not the software’s fault. Rather, it may be a mishap in the handling of the technology. For instance, someone could press the mute button for their microphone on the interface while trying to reach for something else. He’ll speak, but no one will hear him. This could go on for minutes before anyone has an inkling of what’s really going on.
Many people are scared of doing clumsy things like this and, as a result, just try to avoid video meetings whenever they can.
What Can You Do About This?
Anxiety is not a good reason to avoid video. The problem is just going to keep getting worse as more and more people and companies adopt this great technology. So, what can you do to lower the level of anxiety you’d experience before a meeting?
Have a meeting with some friends or relatives.
Start up Zoom, click “Video Meeting,” and once the meeting opens, click “Invite” to bring in a couple folks you trust. Get comfortable with the software, use some of the buttons (try mute, share screen, annotate, etc.), and start touching base. This will help your confidence and comfort level grow. If you slip up, no one will judge you. It’s your moment to shine!
Once you realize there’s really nothing to worry about, you can have a meeting with some more purpose. Go ahead and invite your team to have a brainstorming session. To add a little enthusiasm, use screen sharing to present your ideas.
Not sure where to focus? Look at your camera!
Depending on the size of your screen and how far both you and your camera are from it, people will be able to tell the difference between you looking at your screen and at the camera. You naturally want to look at the person you’re talking to on the screen, but only by looking at the camera will you appear to be making eye contact from the other person’s point-of-view.
You can, of course, rearrange things to make it possible for you to look at both the camera and the person you’re talking to:
- Snap your camera to the top of your screen. Most camera models now have little legs that “hug” your display. If you have a camera with a flat stand, then this is going to be nearly impossible. You can try improvising, but you will eventually have to use a camera that snaps to your screen. There are even models of cameras that have the ability both stand on a flat surface and hug your monitor.
- Move your screen farther away from you. The farther it is, the less you’ll have to move your iris away from the camera to see who you’re talking to. As a general rule, if the screen you’re looking at is more than one meter (or roughly 3 feet) away from you, participants you talk to won’t even notice you’re not looking directly at the camera. This applies to all displays up to 27 inches diagonally. Larger displays might need a little more distance.
- This may seem obvious, but we’re still going to say it: Snap the camera onto the same screen you’re using for your conference. If you have dual monitors, your first instinct may be to move the video meeting window to the closest screen. However, you’ll be looking in a completely different direction when you’re talking to someone if you don’t have the camera on that screen.
Treat the meeting like any day-to-day in-person meeting.
Throw away the notion that you’re having a meeting that can make or break you. This is usually not the case. You’ll do fine if you just treat this like you’re going out for a coffee. In other words, don’t try to overemphasize what you’re saying or make gestures you wouldn’t make in any other situation. As long as you’re acting like yourself, you don’t need an excessive amount of charisma to make a meeting work correctly. Just sit back and talk.
If it helps, have an outline on what you’ll be discussing if you’re expected to make a presentation.
But most importantly, use Zoom!
Want to heal your video anxiety? Use Zoom! We’ll sandblast it right out of you with software that agrees with you. This is especially true if you feel intimidated by the mishaps of other products that sometimes don’t work the way you want them to. The interface is so simple, true technophobes can use it like a boss in no time.
Go ahead and give us a try: sign up for free.