Video meetings allow for more productive collaboration and can be helpful in resolving issues quicker than traveling between two different physical locations. But communicating effectively during video calls has unique challenges. Non-verbal cues like body language are stripped away when communicating through a video call. Time lag, the additional time it takes for information to get from one side of a call to the other, can make conversations feel more awkward.
Communicating effectively during video calls isn't as simple as turning on a camera and talking. It requires more preparation, focus, and engagement. However, there are several things you can do to make the process smoother.
Challenges Associated With Video Calls
There are several challenges associated with communicating effectively during video calls. But you can overcome them by taking the time to prepare and focusing on the conversation.
Time lag - One challenge associated with video calls is the additional time it takes for one party to get information from the other. When you are face-to-face, there is no delay in getting information from someone. You can quickly read their face or body language to understand if they are happy, sad, concerned, etc. But communicating through a video call can feel awkward because there is often a noticeable delay in the network connection. This makes conversations feel slower and more awkward.
Non-verbal cues - Another challenge associated with video calls is that the reduction in non-verbal cues makes it harder to get more information about the other party. Body language is stripped away when communicating through a video call. All you get to see is the other party's face. When you have reduced access to non-verbal cues, it's harder to understand how the conversation is going, whether the other party is interested in what you are saying, and if they are struggling to understand.
Tips For Communicating More Effectively
To communicate more effectively during video calls, consider taking these tips into account:
1. Be prepared
There are several things you can do to be more prepared for a video call. These include doing some basic research on the other meeting participants and reviewing previous client interactions or relevant meetings. By taking some time to prepare, you will be better able to focus on the conversation itself versus simply trying to get your bearings. Appropriate forms of preparation depend on the meeting you are about to attend. For example, if you are attending a conference call with several other people, some of whom you haven't met before, it's important to prepare by doing some basic research on them. Do they have any expertise that you need to factor into the conversation? Are they technical experts or more strategic thinkers? What are their titles? By taking time to do this basic research ahead of time, you will be able to have a more quality interaction.
Many video calls involve interacting with people you've spoken to many times before. For example, if you are attending a weekly staff meeting where you and others review project status, you might not need to do advance research as much as you would for a meeting with a new client. It's still useful to spend some time reviewing previous meeting minutes to remind yourself of previous decisions and actions that were taken. Doing this will improve your ability to keep track of the action items that are still outstanding.
2. Take notes
If you are attending a meeting, it's important to take notes. Even if no other party is taking notes, it's still important for you to do it. Taking notes helps you remember the key points of the conversation later on. There are a variety of note taking techniques you can use depending on the type of meeting you are attending. For example, if you are attending a meeting where there are action items that you are responsible for, it's a good idea to briefly summarize these at the end of the meeting so you socialize them with the rest of your team.
Note taking can be streamlined by leveraging a AI call capture and meeting summarization solution. Hyperia automatically takes a meeting minutes, summarizes them, and allows you to listen to any part of the recorded conversation. This makes it easier to focus on staying engaged in your meeting versus writing down everything that was said. By combining manual note taking with AI transcription and meeting summarization technology, you can spend more time engaging and less time writing.
3. Be engaged
If you are attending a video call, it's important to make sure you are engaged. Make sure you have a quiet environment with minimal distractions. If you are able to find a clean background or leverage automatic background removal tools to remove distractions from the background, this will help you appear more engaged. When others are speaking, make sure you are paying attention to what they are saying. Avoid the temptation to multi-task while on a video call. It's one thing to look at something else for a few seconds, but if you find yourself constantly distracted, others will notice and it will make it more difficult to stay engaged.
Show you are listening by nodding and using other non-verbal cues to show you are paying attention. Ask clarifying questions if you need to. If you are interacting with someone who uses a different style of communication, be patient and be respectful of their style. If you are speaking with someone who tends to ramble, help them stay focused by asking steering questions that help them stay on topic. If you are discussing a project with a team member and they seem bored or disinterested, ask them what they think about the project. This will help you better understand their thoughts and determine whether there is anything you need to do to better engage them.
4. Listen more
One of the best ways to improve communication during video calls is to listen more. This means not talking over others and not trying to make your point as quickly as possible. Instead, make sure you are really listening to what the other party is saying. Make them feel like they are being heard and valued. When others see that you are listening to them, they will be more open to listening to you.
Good listening doesn't mean simply being quiet and not talking. It means being patient and trying to understand what the other party is saying. Make sure you understand someone else's position before you respond. Then summarize it back to them to show that you understand. If you are confused, ask clarifying questions to make sure you understand.
Distractions can be a challenge when trying to effectively listen during video calls. If you can find a quiet place with minimal distractions, it will be easier to focus on the conversation. Don't be tempted to look at your phone or check your email. Communicating on video calls can be challenging, so make it easier by not adding other distractions to the mix.
5. Talk less
If you are attending a video call, it's important to make sure you don't dominate the conversation. Latency in video calls impacts others ability to interject. If you talk too much, others won't be able to get a word in. This can make them feel like they don't have a voice and will make it difficult for them to engage. Try to be more deliberate in your conversations and try to get others involved. Ask questions and encourage others to participate.
Some people talk a lot more than others because they are nervous. They use talking as a way to fill in the silence. If you are potentially one of these people, make sure you pace yourself and try to make room for others to speak. It can be helpful to mentally pause before you say something. This will give you time to think about what you are going to say and help you avoid rambling.
6. Take breaks
Video calls can be long, so it's important to take breaks between them. It's not a good idea to talk on video all day without taking a break. By taking regular breaks, you will be more engaged during the meeting and will have more energy. It's also important to take breaks between tasks. For example, if you are attending a conference call and then need to follow up with a written document, make sure you take a break between the two. These moments give your mind time to collect its thoughts and will help you be more productive overall.
Some of us may feel afraid to take a short break after a call before sending out follow ups based on fear that we may forget something. With AI meeting capture and transcription technology, we have the ability to review the conversation, read through the automatically generated meeting minutes and key takeaways, and send them to others. This can be especially helpful for follow ups that are more complex or detailed. Having AI assist you with this allows you to take a break from the meeting, collect your thoughts, and then more easily send out the follow up.
For additional tips on remote meetings take a look this list from buildd.co.
When attending video calls or meetings, it's important to make sure you are prepared, focused, engaged, and focused on listening. Taking notes, paying attention, and making sure you are making room for others to be heard is also important. Video meetings are a great way to interact with colleagues and team members, but they can be more challenging than in-person interactions. By following the tips mentioned above, you can make sure you are communicating effectively during your next meeting.
Good communication is a combination of preparation, focus, good listening, time management, and ultimately a skill that improves with practice. Many of us are not natural born communicators, but we can all improve and AI systems like Hyperia can ease that burden. By automating meeting capture, making it easy to search through meetings, and leveraging conversation analysis and summarization technology, we can help organizations improve the quality of their communication. This can ultimately improve the effectiveness of your team and your organization.