At least 75% of the calls I do these days are on video. Zoom, Google meet, WebEx, which ever one your company is using…video calls are here to stay and if you’re not doing them now, you will be soon.
I LOVE IT!
You may think I’m crazy because so many people dislike video calls. Their complaints are almost always related to the way they look on camera.
I invite you to reframe this…to think about the way video calls can help your relationship and connection with your co-workers and clients.
When someone turns their camera on, I get all giddy and happy to see them. I don’t care if you did your hair or put on makeup. I’m happy to SEE YOU.
“I hate how I look”
Women almost always say, “I hate to be on video,” worrying about how they look. I hear this when we’re videotaping them delivering a speech or presentation with the intention of watching the playback for feedback.
Men will notice things they do with their body language or their voice, like, “I never noticed that I do that weird thing with my hands” or “I need to look at the audience more” or “My voice sounds too aggressive to be empathetic.”
Women will say, “I look fat” or “My hair looks awful” or “Look at my double chin!”
If you spend your time on video calls worrying about how you look, you run a high risk of not coming across as someone who is in command of their subject or can be trusted.
I can tell when someone on a video call is looking at their own video because they’re not authentically engaging with me. They’re playing around with their hair or moving into different light or fidgeting.
I guarantee that no one else is thinking about your looks. No one else is ever thinking about you as much as you are. (Read more about this HERE)
It really works!
I did an experiment with a client to see how video affects their relationships with co-workers and clients. I challenged 10 people to turn on their videos for every call and report back on how it affected their confidence.
I expected them to say that it made them feel connected to their co-workers and clients, which turned out to be 100% true.
AND there were other benefits. Everyone said they felt more confident in their own role and their relationships after making this a regular part of their call culture.
They all said something like, “When we get on video, it really breaks the ice. Even with clients and co-workers who are much higher up than me, once we see each other, I can see that they are just like me.”
Tips for video calls
The first thing I say when we get on a video call is, “It’s so nice to see you!” Try it, it instantly sets a positive tone for the call, especially when you really are happy to see them.
Here are some quick tips to make yourself more comfortable (and look better!) on video:
- Raise your camera to eye level. I put my laptop on 4 game boxes (usually Twister, Pictionary, Telestrations and Life 🙂
- Be sure windows, lamps or other light sources are shining light onto your face, not your back, so you avoid a halo around you. And turn off overhead lights that shine into your camera and create glare.
- Remove anything weird from your background (I was on a call last week where one guy had his home bar in the background, which was controversial…you know who you are!)
- If you use Zoom, go into Preferences and turn on “Touch up my appearance.” It’s a pretty great feature that makes you look a little, well, touched up!
- Finally, move the video call window so that the person you’re talking to is directly under your camera. This will help you stop obsessively looking at yourself AND when you look at them, it makes it seem like you are LOOKING at them since your eyes are closer to the camera.
The bottom line
Instead of thinking about yourself, try thinking about the other person on the call and how seeing them will help build a connection.