March 24th, 2020 by Guillermo Fernandez
Many of us have done it. We heard the stories of hackers snooping into our lives by connecting into our meagerly prepared home networks, to view and intimidate our families through our computer, doorbell or security camera. So, we added a little piece of tape, or in some cases a sliding lens cover to our laptop in order to prevent the camera from displaying our picture. It’s a very functional solution and certainly didn’t cost much. But what effect does this have on our ability to communicate with our professional peers?
Our kids have already figured this one out. Using their front-facing cameras on their smartphones and laptop computers, they convey so much more as they interact both synchronously and asynchronously. They use apps like FaceTime, Snapchat, Facebook, TikTok and others to record or communicate in real-time, in a way that more richly expresses their emotions. Why don’t we do this as working professionals? Why wouldn’t we use the added features we have in video to differentiate ourselves in remote sales conversations, interviews and other daily interactions we have with our remote contemporaries?
The Social-Distancing Mandate Caused by the Coronavirus Is Forcing Us to Rethink How We Interact with People
So much is lost when communicating by phone. Certain emotions cannot be conveyed like smiles, frowns and other facial gestures. Likewise, it is difficult to know whether your audience is paying attention or even present when we are forced to have meetings by using a conference call exclusively.
I’ve been no different. I’ve always been one to use my cell phone to call a co-worker, line up a conference call and even tended to turn my camera off when I was on a Zoom meeting. Lately however, I find that I am appreciating the ability to interact with fellow employees and clients using video conferencing. I’ve made a habit of doing even ad-hoc calls to my co-workers using the Microsoft Teams “Meet Now” feature. It is easier to use than my desk phone and it’s just as easy as using my i-Phone.
So next time you’re needing to call your boss or setup a remote conference meeting, take the tape off and try it with video. I think you’ll find it gives you something you just can’t get when on the phone. We need that extra element of social interaction right now. Take care.