Virtual Meeting Fatigue & Success
Perhaps you embraced virtual meeting technology prior to the pandemic which gave you some advantages in your learning curve. However, the reality is that our way of working has evolved significantly over the last 12 months and some may be experiencing “Zoom Fatigue”. We have people working in-person and remotely yet our primary means of conducting meetings remains in a safe, remote fashion via video web meetings. As our society recovers from the safety concerns that have arisen due to the pandemic, I envision that virtual meetings will continue into the future as an efficient and effective way to gather people for meetings. These tips can help you thrive in a virtual meeting environment.
- Scheduling. If you are hosting a video meeting, build yourself some buffer between scheduled meetings so that you have ample time to log in and get the meeting open for attendees. A minimum of 10 minutes of buffer time in your calendar will relieve some unnecessary stress for the inevitable hiccups that technology will bring. Various platforms release updates unexpectedly and undoubtedly you’ll have to run an update prior to logging into a meeting at some point. This can delay the start of your meeting if you don’t give yourself some buffer.
- Audio. If you have an unstable internet connection, try using your phone for dialing into the meeting so that you aren’t reliant on the internet to stream voice and audio. This way even if your internet blips during the meeting, you can still hear and speak with participants in the meeting.
- Distractions. Think of your participation in a virtual meeting no differently that if you were physically in the room with your meeting participants. Eliminate distractions such as background noises, cell phones and background activities (use an electronic background if things are going on behind you in the video).
- Fatigue. Spending so much time in front a video camera for meetings isn’t natural and can be draining. These tips are shared from an article from cnbc.com:
- Hide self-view. On Zoom, you can right-click the video then press “Hide Myself.” Other videoconferencing software has similar options.
- Shrink the Zoom window to make other people a little bit smaller. Make it a third of the screen instead of maximized, Bailenson suggests. Or you can place your chair a little farther away from the webcam.
- Spend half an hour tinkering with your setup ahead of an important meeting. Check the lighting, figure out where to place an external camera, and make sure your chair is comfortable and at the right height. Maybe try placing your laptop on a stack of books to raise its height.
- Turn off your camera and take a five-minute audio-only break during a long meeting to give yourself a chance to move around.
- Set cultural norms with your co-workers that it’s OK to turn off the camera sometimes.
- Physical Activity: You may find yourself so focused that you don’t stretch and walk around enough. Try to get up every hour, walk to the kitchen and fill up your water, go outside or walk around the office/house for 5 minutes periodically.
- Mute: Learn the meeting controls for each platform including how to turn on/off your mic and video. There have been many embarrassing stories of hot-mic situations in the news from virtual meetings.