Webinar Takeaways Series : How do you really feel about communicating via video?

By Skills Hub - 17th July 2020

In this series of blogs our Skills Connector Ian Watkiss has turned roving reporter. He has been attending many of the free online webinars and has condensed his findings into these easy to digest bullet point takeaways.

Webinars are a great way to continue learning during these unusual circumstances. If you want to catch up on what's available check out our News & Events page ... or follow this blog series to see the Skills Hub practicing what they preach and upskilling online!

How do you really feel about communicating via video?

Reflections a recent webinar from Sam Lee:
How to Connect with Confidence in this Digital World

When posing this question seriously to yourself, you might find that you have some reservations.  Are you uncomfortable with the tech?  Do you long just to be in a room with the other people, reading body language, making eye contact, shaking hands?  Are you just plain fed-up with being stuck in one location, and with all the distraction drawing you away from the meeting or event? 

The reality is, however, that much of this understandable baggage is likely to come across negatively through your video, getting in the way of your ability to connect effectively with everyone else.  Awkwardness, worry, stress and self-consciousness unfortunately are just as likely to mask your true professional persona over a video call as they do in the public arena. 

Your personality could also be a factor too; maybe you are an introvert, happy to hide behind a switched off camera and mute button, or maybe an extravert monopolising the floor, desperate to fill even the slightest silence at any cost.

In short, video calls may not be what we are used to, may not even feel normal, but that does not mean that we cannot make them work for us.

As with anything we decide to show up to, it’s useful to consider what are we aiming for?  What is our intention?  Is it to be part of a natural, flowing, energised conversation where ideas and feelings are shared?  Do we look to be approachable and to relax and enjoy the experience?  Are we needing to network, make contacts and inform others of what we do?

Simply asking ourselves what we want out of a video call can be overlooked but is key to allowing us to take control of the interaction, whilst giving us something to prepare and to strive for.

And when we are in control, we can consider who we want to be, conveying our own unique style to others.  This is where the fun begins:

  • What is your ‘digital handshake’ – a good physical handshake can convey warmth and sincerity, so how can you utilise your body language, dress, background, and tone of voice to create your own virtual handshake?
  • Taking initiative – by taking the initiative, you have the power to set the right tone for the meeting, creating a relaxed, friendly interaction where people feel more at ease to connect.
  • Break the ice – to connect we naturally reach out to others.  It might even work well to acknowledge that the video call can be awkward, but we are all just people looking to make contact and together, this we can do!
  • Rapport – when conversation is flowing well the energy is good and it just feels right.  If this dips however, then it may work to keep checking in, asking open questions, listening carefully and keeping an eye out for observable non-verbal cues – these will be there, its just you may have to work a bit harder to appreciate them.  
  • Simulating eye contact is also an interesting one – try looking into the camera as you speak rather than watching yourself talking or getting hung-up on the reaction of others.  It is quite possible that this will help inspire a better feeling of connectedness.

Overall, you will have a range of sophisticated interpersonal skills, and it's exactly these that will help bridge the divide.  Honesty, a genuine concern for the feelings and ideas of others, and humour are all integral to the way we connect, they just need repatriating into the digital space.

So, before your next meeting or event, try a little bit of preparation.  Ask yourself who do you want to show up as?  What is your intention and what outcome are you looking for?

And how do you really feel about communicating via video? 

Overall, you will have a range of sophisticated interpersonal skills, and it's exactly these that will help bridge the divide.  Honesty, a genuine concern for the feelings and ideas of others, and humour are all integral to the way we connect, they just need repatriating into the digital space.

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