Lindsay Blakely, managing editor of Inc.com, may have just saved us all by posting four great tips on how to thrive on video calls. Because the truth is, video meetings are here to stay. So maybe it’s OK, after all, that you can’t fit into your work pants, because your co-workers may never have to see them ever again.
Blakely rounded up some of the greatest advice she has learned from 2020 about making the best of video calls, so here you have it.
- Less is more. The exhaustion you feel after a day of video calls is not just you. Despite not having to go anywhere for a video call, it demands more energy as you strain to parse the information you’re hearing while you stare at your colleagues in tiny boxes. At the same time, you might be managing children, pets, or other distractions in the background. Tip: Reconsider the phone or email, as they may be more effective and less draining.
- Set up a dedicated spot and forget it. Another way to make video calls less draining is to figure out the mechanics of your set-up once and then leave it set up, so you don’t have to worry about it every time you log on. Tip: In the desktop version of Zoom, use the touch-up-my-appearance function in your video settings. It’s not perfect, but it will smooth out the appearance of your skin.
- Know your responsibilities as host. Hosting a video meeting demands more of you to keep people engaged. Beyond starting and stopping on time and sticking to a focused agenda, think about what the show will contain. If video is necessary, you must begin and end strongly. Tip: Start with action. Pose a provocative question to everyone or ask them to share small wins. At the end of the call, review necessary follow-up tasks.
- Stop staring at yourself. Before the meeting starts, preview how you look in your video setup. Then hide your video from your view, so you can focus more on what your colleagues are saying. Tip: If you still find yourself zoning out, adopt active listening habits: Figure out beforehand what value you can add to the discussion; repeat what you hear before you speak to solidify your understanding; and take notes to stay focused.
Jill, What Can I Do? Breathe and follow Blakely’s thoughtful tips. Some organizations are never going back to physical work spaces, so the sooner you can ace video call management, the sooner you will be less stressed. And if you are spiritual, you can also pray for an improved vaccine rollout.