Benchmark Business Group

Are You Over Zoom Meetings?

August 4, 2020

Zoom Exhaustion. In current times, we have heard from many financial services professionals that they are exhausted by the number of Zoom meetings on their calendar. Yet, at the same time, they can’t wait to be back to face-to-face meetings.

It’s not the number of meetings that’s exhausting, it’s the manner in which the meetings are held. It’s just different, is what we hear.

It made us curious what the difference is, and as Zoom meetings continue to be a great mode of communication, what’s the solution?

It turns out that Zoom Exhaustion is real. This article from Harvard Business Review explains more of the details as to why, but we want to focus on the solution.

To summarize, video chats are draining. They cause us to feel the need to be “on” more than a face-to-face meeting. Even though you can see the person on the screen it does not mimic face-to-face meetings.

So, what can you do? Try these three tips to help make your Zoom meetings less exhausting:

  • Hide your “self-view”. It can be distracting to watch yourself when you’re talking or even when you are listening. Turns out Zoom has a feature that allows you to hide yourself. Simply right click on the video of yourself and choose Hide Self-View from the menu. This allows others to still see you but takes the pressure off. It allows you to have a conversation without focusing on your reflection, mimicking a real face-to-face conversation. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself feeling more “normal” once you make this change.
  • It’s okay to turn off the video! You don’t have to be on the video at all times! Or even watching others on video. It’s distracting. Think about a face-to-face conversation. It’s not normally as close as a video and you don’t feel the pressure to make eye contact as much as you may with a video. A good tip here is to turn the video on at the beginning of the call for a greeting and then turn the video off. This frees you up to take notes, focus on the screen or screen share, without having to worry about the video. A good point of focus is to screen share a meeting agenda. It sets expectations for the conversations and allows you to move through the meeting with a common focus. Having a visual focus without always being on camera can be a game changer for connecting with your clients.
  • Pay attention to camera positioning. Especially if you are using a laptop. The cameras tend to be closer creating a view that does not mimic face-to-face meetings. Consider moving the camera back if possible, to create a view that isn’t a close-up of just your face. This creates the ability to see and read body language and is more similar to a face-to-face meeting in which the view isn’t as “zoomed” in. Also consider moving the camera to an angle or side. In many meetings we don’t always sit directly in front of each other. Moving the camera to a side view can help you feel less pressure. If you have to look at the screen during the meeting it doesn’t feel like direct eye contact or an interrogation. It also gives you more freedom to look away. Most face-to-face conversations do not have as much direct eye contact as a video conference does. Having that freedom to look out a window while thinking can help the meeting feel more comfortable to you and your clients.

The bottom line is that Zoom meetings are not going away. Yes, we’ll eventually be back to face-to-face meetings, but Zoom meetings will stay. It’s important to be creative to make your Zoom meetings more comfortable and productive.

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