Video meetings - here to stay

Video meetings - here to stay


  • Date: Friday 24th July 2020
  • PDF: Download

Most of us have by now experienced video technology, enabling people to keep in touch without having to leave the house. 

Whilst this has mainly been a positive experience for companies, there have been reports of ‘zoom fatigue’ and people who work remotely report higher stress levels due to video conferencing feeling intrusive and uncomfortable.

However, the new way of communicating is here to stay and here at SSG we are practicing our new skills almost daily. We now provide online training courses and webinars, hold sales meetings online and regularly speak to customers virtually face-to-face when we would have ordinarily made a phone call.

On this journey we have acquired a lot of experience and would like to share this with you:

The good

  • No ‘uuuummmmms’ and ‘aaaaahhhhs’. Verbal bridging is a lot more annoying online! Between thoughts, make a conscious effort to just pause and breathe, not to make a noise to fill the silence.
  • Smile! Obviously not in a strange way. But smiling really makes you appear more confident and open and has a positive impact on all attendees of the call.
  • If you host a training course or large meeting, opinion polls can work well as a tool to break up the monotony. With large groups, they can structure feedback a little better than simply relying on the chat to give you feedback. Make sure that any questions you ask fit well with the context and are meaningful and easy to understand.
  • Structure is more important than ever! Explain beforehand why you are meeting and what kind of information people need. Submit reports or other required resources in advance, so everyone can familiarise themselves.

The bad

  • Lengthy introductions - attention spans are not as great online as they would be in a room. Don’t spend too much time on introductions and ice breakers – most of your attendees will zone out, instead of feeling engaged. Short, sharp and efficient is the order of the day!
  • Try to refrain from dissing the technology. We all have connection issues sometimes, so a constant reference to ‘let’s see if this works… we’re all still new to video conferencing…’ becomes very annoying.
  • Slide overload – too much information on slides distracts from listening to the presenter. If it takes you more than a few seconds to read, people stop paying attention.
  • This might sound obvious: we can see what goes on behind you! Most people won’t be too bothered by the toddler walking past or the cat being visible. But dirty dishes or piles of washing can give the wrong impression.

The ugly

  • Wearing headsets can distort the sound to a level that can be almost painful for others to hear you speak. Make sure you check your audio beforehand if you are new to this or changing your set-up.
  • (Over)sharing personal stories – talking about how Covid affected you and your family/friends, moaning about what you haven’t been able to do etc. It’s just awkward!
  • Over-doing it on the frills and then being let down by technology. A prime example for this is videos not playing or wrong screens being shared. Most conferencing applications give you options of whiteboards, break-out rooms or other interactive tools but be careful: keeping it simple often works best!
  • Background noise – simply mute everyone, if you are hosting a large meeting. You can explain that people can take themselves off mute but ask respectfully that this is only being done if absolutely necessary. For smaller ones, ask people to mute themselves if they are subjected to background noise.

Source: Manuela Grossmann


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