Video calls are part of our new normal—which calls for new ways to manage their effects.
With investors and advisors now mostly unable to meet in person, asset managers are using digital tools to help maintain those important connections. One result is that video conferencing has taken on new significance.
Yet, we’re also learning this new norm can challenge the basic ways we’re used to communicating—we can’t “read the room” or rely on body-language the same way we do with in-person meetings. Technical aspects (“I can’t hear you; just hit the unmute button”) can add even further strain.
Enter “Zoom fatigue,” brought on by the many types of video conferencing tools that allow us to appear in Brady Bunch-style boxes and see each other, and ourselves, as we talk. But even as video meetings become increasingly prevalent, you can still take steps to manage their effects.
And while we realize many people do not have control over when or how video is used for meetings, there are still useful ways to manage their effects.
SIMPLE ADJUSTMENTS CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
1. Consider your options.
The best way to address Zoom fatigue is to cut down on virtual meetings. Before scheduling your next video conference, ask yourself: could the material be covered just as effectively another way—through email or text, perhaps? We’ve even seen a few teams now enforcing a “no video-calls Friday” policy.
2. Move meetings to the phone when possible.
Sometimes, for one-on-one meetings with a client, a phone call can be a nice break from video conferencing. You can focus on listening and give your eyes a rest. Plus, phone meetings allow you to move around, stretch, or just get away from your desk.
3. Turn off the camera to maintain focus.
Even if you’re using a video conferencing platform like Zoom, you could choose to turn off the camera entirely to help focus only on the screen-sharing feature. This way you can review a document with a client or colleague, letting each of you devote full attention to the task at hand.
4. Consider avoiding video in first-time meetings.
We all know how important first impressions are—so why not make initial contacts easier by moving them to the phone? In many cases, this can make those meetings less stressful for you and the other person, especially if it’s a client or potential new hire who is less comfortable using video tools.
5. Find easy ways to manage appearances.
Worried about clients and colleagues seeing your less-than-perfect home working environment? Zoom and other video conferencing tools allow you use a virtual background to mask your own. There are also simple ways to put yourself in the best possible light. Check out this USA Today article for ideas.
Alisa Wolf is a senior writer and editor with two decades of experience in financial services.