For many of us, a great amount of our business life and personal life is taking place on video calls. There are tremendous benefits to these video interactions, and there are certainly some challenges, too.
Why Does Everything Have to be a Video Call?
Video calls aren’t quick or easy, they require planning. We’re not just going to talk to someone, we’re going to be looking at them, and they will be looking at us. There is the time needed for personal primping to look our best. There is time needed for tidying up our background, and we need to do background noise abatement before a planned call. We have to do our tech test and check our equipment prior to the call to ensure we have a quality video connection.
A voice-only phone call involves very little preparation for our personal appearance, and our office or house doesn’t have to be meticulously cleaned to talk with someone on the phone. And remember, we DID conduct business – quite successfully – by regular phone calls for years!
Is It Okay to Just Say NO to a Video Call?
Of course it is. Simply say… “Let’s do this by phone please.” When stated professionally and respectfully, most people respond to that statement with “Sure, a phone call is fine.”
During the workday, I sit at my desk for hours. Sometimes I prefer to walk around and talk. I use a headset while stretching my legs during the phone call. It is a comfortable way to have a productive conversation.
Some people worry that others will automatically assume that the reason they don’t want to be on video is because they don’t like how they look. Personally, I don’t generally care what other people think about unimportant things. If it troubles someone, I suggest using the “I need to walk around” reason.
Are Some Types of Calls Better on Video?
Absolutely! Meeting with a new client is definitely a good time to use a video call. Having that eye contact and seeing a smiling face helps to build the business relationship right from the start.
Having a video call with someone you haven’t seen in a while is also a good idea.
If you are doing a presentation for a prospective customer, a video call can be a very effective way to meet with their entire team of decision makers.
Video Call Etiquette
Most of the business etiquette for in-person meetings applies to video meetings. You can build and maintain your professional credibility by using these suggestions.
- Be on time – which means you need to arrive five minutes early. Because everything on a video call is highly visible, even arriving a few minutes late will be noticed. If you are unavoidably going to be late, contact the person who is leading the meeting by text, phone and/or email.
- Know the status of your microphone – always know when you are muted or unmuted. Costly mistakes happen when others hear something they shouldn’t because you think you’re on mute when you are openly broadcasting.
- Stay focused. Put your multi-tasking urges aside for the duration of the call. Others can tell if you are checking your phone, typing, or talking to someone else who is in the room with you.
- Make eye contact by looking directly at your camera more than you are looking at the video feed of yourself and others.
- Don’t interrupt when someone is speaking. By waiting 1-2 seconds after they have finished talking, you can avoid “double speak”, which is when attendees speak over one another, and no one is heard.
- And for goodness’ sake – wear pants!!! You need to be fully dressed for ANY video call. I haven’t seen the pants thing yet, but I did have a woman who bent over directly in front of the camera and left nothing to the imagination.
“Zoom fatigue” may be a real thing but I ask you to think of the alternative. What if Covid happened in 1991 instead of 2021? Virtually everyone would be out of business! There wouldn’t be video-call-fatigue, there would be bankruptcy.
Zoom fatigue – you kind of need to get over that. I mean, Buck up Buttercup.
We need to FOCUS ON THE BENEFITS of today’s available technology that provide the opportunity to not only survive, but to thrive.