Video meetings seem to be part of what’s being called the new normal. Next week will be the first in person workshop I’ve been able to teach since the middle of March. Instead, like others, I’ve been home doing many of my job responsibilities over video meetings. While I’m grateful for the ways that technology has allowed me and many others to continue to work, I remember thinking after my first week of doing virtual trainings how much more exhausting I found it compared to live workshops.
Recently I came across an article highlighting some of the differences between in person and online meeting that may help explain this.
- While video meetings do provide more of the communication process, there is still a lot of non-verbal communication that is missing causing us to have to focus more to process non-verbal cues.
- We may have anxiety about our home office or workspace. Are the kids going to run into room or are our colleagues going to think we are hoarders?
- We are often missing the one to one conversations that happen before and after meetings that allow us to process and discuss topics individually or in smaller groups.
- Being able to see your own face during the meeting can be stressful and make you more self-conscious.
- While pauses and silence are part of normal communication, they can be interpreted more negatively over video meetings. One study has shown that pausing for more than 1.2 seconds caused others to perceive that the person was less friendly or focused.
The article goes on to suggest some ways that we may be able to counter some of these negative effects. They include limiting the number of web meetings in a given day, using shared documents to allow people provide input, and having some conversations individually over the phone allowing people to move around and be less anxious about their environment.
Effective communication is always challenging. That’s why we spend an entire chapter in The Mandt System helping people to think about better ways to communicate. As new technologies are developed and conditions in our world change, let’s remember to take the time to evaluate the modes of communication we use to make sure we are using them in the best ways we can.
If you’d like to read the full article referenced in this blog, you can find it here.
Doug ZehrVogt- Mandt System Faculty