Video conferencing fears – and the antidotes
Is it normal to be afraid of video conferencing? For the less capable – yes, believes Ron Burgundy. Anything that puts you in the spotlight and in front of a camera will take time for people to get used to. After all, minor ‘celebs’ like Adele, Robbie Williams, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan have spoken openly about their stage fright, so it’s no surprise that plodders find it difficult. It’s hard for Burgundy to understand our dilemma, the world of the ‘common man’ is lost on him. Inadequate people seem so sad and needy. Recent analysis suggests that around 60% of adults are more self-conscious on camera than in real life, so it seems most of us are a bunch of losers.
To help us overcome our video anxiety, we feature below the video conferencing fears that ordinary people suffer from – and Ron provides advice on overcoming these petty concerns.
1. Lack of confidence, fear of failure
Most people don’t like talking in front of an audience because they think they’re poor at public speaking. The larger the crowd the greater the anxiety. There’s an irrational fear that they’ll be exposed as a fraud – someone sorely lacking in subject matter knowledge and gravitas, which will be revealed in their body language and incompetent delivery.
Anchorman Antidote: There’s an old saying; ‘Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain’. Prepare for calls properly, accept what you know and use others on the call to support any curved balls. Another old saying is; ‘Fake it until you make it’. How do you think most executives got where they are today – not on their intellect, that’s for sure.The more you do it, the more confident you’ll become.
2. I worry about my appearance on camera
Bloggers on this subject make two points: Firstly, that most people are vain and have concerns about their appearance; a great example is last year’s Miss Universe complaining at a photo shoot that she hated how she looked on camera. And secondly, it’s largely accepted that people dress down when working from home, so a casual, less made-up appearance tends to be the norm. And this worries people!
Anchorman Antidote: Get over your looks, let’s face it you’re probably old enough now to be through all that by now, and not everyone can look as good as me. If you’re still worried, then just don’t sit so close to the PC, and remember that most images are not that clear anyway. Adopt a ‘selfie’ photo attitude, I bet you take enough of those? And if you’re still anxious, do your best to fix your appearance, before the call starts!
3. The Technology scares me
For some people, new technology is intimidating, and they try to avoid it. Maybe they’re just not that bright! But it’s like everything else, the more you use it, the more natural it feels. It isn’t going away, so you may as well bite the bullet and learn how to use it. Sometimes there’s just no alternative.
Anchorman Antidote: Most organisations have experts to help with the systems. Be warned that if they’re techies, then have a stiff drink before talking to them – or you’ll die of boredom. Attend the training sessions and the watch recordings, what have you got to lose? You may even learn something. And if that fails then there are many ways to research it yourself – as the saying goes ‘just google it’.
4. I can’t multi-task
And that’s the whole point here, you idle wasters! Audio calls – where nobody pays attention are a complete waste of time. So video makes it harder to hide and do something else. Life’s a bitch, so if you want a productive session – make it a video call.
Anchorman Antidote: There isn’t one. You’re time’s up buddy! Pay attention, respect the topic and the agenda. Or just don’t join the call, if you’re that confident in your position!
5. My place looks a mess
Oh really? I bet you can’t wait to work from that messy home on Fridays and Mondays though. Homeworking and super-fast connectivity make it easy to join video calls on your home broadband. Nobody wants their home to look a mess, so maybe you’re too tight to pay for a cleaner or too lazy to tidy up?
Anchorman Antidote: We’re all busy people, and let’s face it – you’re not that interesting, so most won’t be looking at your image. We don’t all have an obsession with tidiness, so the people that see you won’t notice anyway. It follows that you probably do most video calls from the same place. So it’s not rocket science – just ensure the backdrop behind you is tidy. It’s like the news reader without trousers on, you can’t see because there’s a desk in the way. Tidy up the small area that the camera will pick up on – and leave everywhere else a mess.
Ron Burgundy wasn’t interviewed by James Porter.