Video calling is a great way to continue meeting your coworkers and clients when you are forced to work from a distance. But we have to be aware of the things that can go wrong. In this blog I describe the five pitfalls of video calling and how to avoid them. Keep reading.
Since the Corona crisis working from home has become totally accepted. The pandemic suddenly forced most of us to work from a distance. We now connect with our coworkers and clients through a computer screen. Which goes quite well, but we have to be aware of the pitfalls of video calling.
Pacing while on the phone
I must admit: I have never been keen on video calling. The main reason is that I prefer walking when I am on the phone. For some reason I usually pace around when I am on a business call. And I am not the only one. I read somewhere that pacing while on the phone at work is a perfectly normal reaction to the absence of a stimulus you normally get during conversation. Unfortunately it is quite hard to pace while video calling.
Also, I read many articles that warn us about the security issues when you are video calling. That is why it is important to always use a tool that is safe and you take the necessary precautions.
These are the five pitfalls of video calling, taken from my own personal experience:
1. You miss time to prepare
Do you recognize the following? If you have an appointment nearby, you tend to be late. And when you have an appointment far away, you usually arrive way too early.
Whenever I have an appointment somewhere, I always sit down first to prepare. I do some online research and write down practical things, like the address and information about the company and the person(s) I will be meeting with. And when I get in my car and drive to the appointment I relax and listen to some music or maybe an interesting podcast. But I also think about the things I would like to talk about in the meeting. When I arrive (early) I am always well prepared and ready for my appointment.
A video call is comparable to an appointment that is extremely nearby. The travel time is zero. Which causes me to miss a large part of the preparation process.
One way to solve this is to set an alarm thirty minutes before your meeting and force yourself to visualize the meeting and prepare. Just like you would normally do.
2. You skip the important chit chat
When I have a video call I tend to skip the chit chat and get to the point of the meeting as soon as possible. I don’t do this on purpose but I guess somehow the nature of video calling is more formal. We don’t have the opportunity to make jokes while shaking hands, grabbing a coffee and taking the elevator up to the meeting room. We skip all that important stuff and just get straight to the point.
That is why it is important to start your video meeting with ten minutes of chit chat. To get to know each other and break the ice. You can even have a virtual cup of coffee together!
3. Half the time is spent on solving technical issues
It doesn’t matter how advanced and foolproof your video calling tool is. There will always be technical things that go wrong. Maybe you can’t hear or see each other or the image is distorted or frozen. There is always an issue to solve. Causing irritation and costing valuable time.
To prevent technical issues, test all your systems before you have your meeting. That way you minimize the chance things will go wrong during the video call.
4. You miss most of the body language
When you are video calling, you can see and hear each other. But you miss the small nuances. Body language is very important in meetings. The way people shake hands, walk, sit and look you in the eye. Most of that is missed when you are video calling.
This will get better once you get more used to video calling. You will learn to pick up nuances and body language from the screen.
5. Experienced video callers have an advantage
People that have experience with ‘acting on camera’ have a huge advantage over people that are not used to being photographed or filmed. Someone who is comfortable and natural while being on camera probably has the upper hand over someone who is struggling with the all seeing lens.
That is why I advise you to film yourself from time to time and review this. That way you will get used to it and you will train yourself with talking on camera.