Like many people, I’m spending a lot of time on Zoom these days. But I’ve been trying to limit the length and frequency of Zooms wherever possible and the other week I even asked for a planned Zoom to be switched to ‘camera-off’ or turned into a good old conference call.
This isn’t because I can’t be bothered to put on some makeup and sort my hair out. Or that I don’t feel the need to inflict the view of my cupboard doors on any more people. It’s more that there is increasing evidence that video calls impose a much higher cognitive load on participants than face to face meetings or phone calls do.
Essentially, video calls require our brains to process non-verbal cues from a low-res square on a screen and often without a decent view of the accompanying hand gestures and so on that add context.
We’re also on mental alert for interruptions like kids, animals, the doorbell and next door getting started on the mowing. Not to mention, however subconsciously, we’re all a bit anxious about what the bit of our home that you can see on screen says about us, while secretly judging everyone else’s!
On top of all this you often don’t get the benefit of the ‘meeting before the meeting’ that happens before the client or key decision maker turns up and you don’t get the chance to tune into everyone as they all get settled and furnished with a hot drink. You wouldn’t (well, I wouldn’t) start a focus group with “hello everyone, thanks for coming, the first item on my discussion guide is…”.
Finally, video calls often require you to look at your own face, which unless you have an excessive dose of self-confidence isn’t something we normally do for extended periods of time.
So I’ve been trying to avoid ‘jumping on a Zoom’ as a solution for every issue and I’ve restructured the brand workshops I run to take place over several shorter Zooms across a week, to avoid the diminishing returns from a mentally burnt out workshop entering its fourth hour online. Taking short breaks isn’t sufficient (although I build this into workshops too) as our brains don’t reset to ‘fresh’ in just ten minutes and I try to schedule important Zooms and especially workshop sessions for mornings when everyone is on better form.
If you’re in need of a Brand Workshop delivering remotely according to best practice, please get in touch.
And if you want to read more about Zoom fatigue, here’s a few links: