Is Video Conferencing an Art?

Person in a video meeting

Midian Helps you Master the Art of Video Conferencing

Midian LLC has taken the difficulties that 2020 brought us and leveraged them to continue our mission in 2021. That mission is to empower individuals with elevated communication skills enabling them to self-represent and lead with confidence and effectiveness. Due to the prevalence of video conferencing, the leadership skills that one might already possess need to be re-addressed, and a new skill set needs to be mastered – effective communication via video technology. Midian LLC has added a new course to our robust line up, teaching the valuable skills needed to be a capable communicator while on a computer, phone, or tablet. We are fortunate to have these options as an alternative to in person communication, and with them comes a new set of challenges and guidelines. 

Video Conferencing in 2021: An Essential Business Tool

Video conferencing saw a 535% rise in daily traffic in 2020. When stay at home orders were put in place due to Covid-19, companies had to quickly figure out policies and procedures for maintaining their business goals and keeping their workforce working! Luckily, options like Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams were available to provide some continuity with face-to-face meetings. Video conferencing has become an essential business tool and is no longer just another option for employers, it is required to keep our economy moving. Before Covid-19, Americans were said to be participating in 11 million meetings a day, most of these being in person. When most jobs became remote in 2020, these 11 million meetings a day needed to find a platform that was suitable and video conferencing was, and continues to be, that platform.

Tips for Effective Communication via Video Technology

The issue then arises, how can an employee maintain the same level of effective communication on a computer screen as they do in person? Midian’s new online course on communication in a digital world, teaches everything that is necessary to be successful when video conferencing. Company leaders need these tools to provide excellent leadership remotely and employees need these skills to get their questions answered, get their point across and get their job done.

Midian’s online course covers the basics of quality on-camera presence; when is it appropriate to eat/drink during a remote meeting, what is suitable to wear, and how to master the mute button. We review and practice how to create eye connection to effectively communicate and listen. For instance, when someone is speaking to you, it is important to look at the video of that person so you can pick up on non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language. When you are speaking, it is important to look directly into the camera lens and not at the video of the person you are addressing.  This is the equivalent of looking someone in the eye. It can be awkward for the speaker, and yet extremely effective and personal for the listener.  Another important aspect we cover is being a supportive listener.  This is done by reacting to the speaker non-verbally – smile, nod your head or use the reactions button to let the speaker know you are engaged. If possible, keep your meeting in “speaker view”, so that the focus stays on whomever is speaking without potential distractions from other participants. Maintaining “speaker view” during your meeting can also help alleviate “Zoom fatigue”. A recent Stanford University study looked at “Zoom fatigue” in terms of what it is, what causes it and  how small changes can help alleviate some of its negative outcomes. One negative aspect of “Zooming” all day is that we are spending an exorbitant amount of time looking at ourselves.  That is unnatural, and it can be stressful and emotionally draining to look at (and potentially be critical of) yourself all day. Additionally, you may feel the need to exaggerate your reactions and your gestures to be seen in a small Zoom window. This is another reason that keeping your view on “speaker view” or using the “self hide” button can help your personal level of “Zoom fatigue”.

Sometimes it is necessary to participate in a video call when you are not in your regular workspace. Sharing a location with family members or pets may cause interruptions or something may require you to be mobile, thereby being compelled to engage in the video call from your phone or in your car. In these cases, the jostling of the video or the odd angles of the camera are distracting to the other participants in the meeting. In this situation, it is recommended to turn off your video.  Do let the host know the reason for being off screen and let them know if you are still able to listen and/or participate. Anytime your camera is on, refrain from multitasking.  Looking away from the video conference to engage in other work indicates that even though you are in attendance, you are not really present.

Is Working Remotely Here to Stay?

As companies have discovered that working remotely has benefits, it is quite possible that a new trend  for American business has been brought on by this pandemic. Companies have learned that utilizing technology, they can efficiently have meetings with 100-200 participants from all over the world without the cost of travel, meeting space etc. Companies can have large meetings over video conferencing and can also provide small video break out group sessions so that individuals are still being heard and their ideas are still being considered. Therefore, learning the skills to communicate effectively over video is key now and for the future. If working remotely is here to stay, it is essential that corporate culture does not become impersonal and that employees do not feel that they are losing their connection with upper management.   As Julie Schweber, a senior HR Knowledge Advisor at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), reminds us, leaders in the workplace cannot lose the ability to connect with their employees, “You lose that personal touch in the virtual work environment,” says Schweber. “Technology doesn’t take the place of a supervisor or a manager reaching out via a phone call or sending even just a small thank-you note. Managers and employees need to focus on that in addition to the technology, because having all that technology but not having a manager or an employer who is saying ‘we care’ may mean the message will fall flat.”

Midian LLC focuses on building leaders in the workplace and leadership training is invaluable to employees and employers alike. Building connections, no matter the method, is what successful businesses do. Midian’s new video presentation skills online course is one of many offered by Midian to help you and your company achieve your goals. Courses such as, Mastering Language: Avoiding Imprecise Communication or Project Management: Lessons Re-Learned are just a few programs that will help you build the connections needed in today’s modern workplace.


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