Every day it seems like new information is coming out about the effects of constant video calls on our lives, or “Zoom fatigue,” as they’re calling it.
Another problem with video calls is the effect they have on how likeable you seem. Trying to counteract this problem adds additional fatigue.
If you define a leader as someone who inspires those around them to willingly go along with thoughts, ideas, and directions, likeability is crucial.(Click to Tweet)
Note the word willingly, as opposed to unwillingly or grudgingly.
Zoom and Likeability
Respect, competence and experience aren’t always enough to inspire this willingness. Likeability is often the quality that helps determine whether we will go along with another person’s ideas, thoughts and suggestions, a sort of interpersonal capital to draw on when you ask another person to do something.
When we like someone, we are far more willing to forgive their transgressions, ignore their inadequacies and cut them more slack. According to a study by the University of Massachusetts, likeable people are more likely to get selected for a position, get needed collaboration from others, and have their errors overlooked.
The Problem with Zoom Fatigue
So how does Zoom fatigue factor into this?
Long before the pandemic, researchers knew that qualities of likeability did not come across as successfully via video. This is exacerbated by video increasing the relative importance of likeability. A 2008 study shows audiences judge a speaker more by their likeability than the strength of their expertise when they’re connected virtually.
So you need people to like you more, and the tool you’re using makes you come across as less likeable. Meanwhile, the strategies to come across more likeable can be exhausting and video calls increase exhaustion. What can you do? Here are three suggestions to come across on camera better, as well as lower Zoom fatigue:
A primary reason for Zoom fatigue is the “cognitive load” of trying to interpret the feelings of others virtually. Our subconscious effortlessly delivers a lot of information based on non-verbal clues in person. We may still see the cues on camera, but our ability to interpret them is hampered, which is mentally exhausting.
Experts recommend improving your likeability on camera by making eye contact, which means looking into your camera lens, not at the screen. Making a concerted effort to smile is more critical on camera than in person, as we lose some of the ability to read body language. Finally, varying your voice to deliberately convey warmth is important.
Ways you can combat this include:
- Shut off the camera when it’s appropriate. If you are meeting people with whom you have an established relationship, take that opportunity to reduce your cognitive load by turning off the camera.
- Examine your camera area. Some things that make in-person meetings less exhausting include our ability to move our hands or doodle, or even stand. These activities can seem rude if they take us out of the frame on camera. Change your setup so you can stand, move your hands or get other movement opportunities without drawing attention.
- Create a “bubble.” Part of the mental load of Zoom calls is constant face-to-face closeup interaction. We usually aren’t less than a metre apart, staring directly at each other’s faces in a meeting. If you can, try minimizing your screen while still looking into the camera, so you aren’t staring at faces close up.
Likeability is more potent than respect, ranks ahead of competence and runs circles around track record if you are trying to have an influence. Try these suggestions to remain likeable while minimizing Zoom fatigue.
Till we read again.