Unified communications makes video meeting planning and participation seamless. You can add a video-conference link to your calendar with a click, check a colleague’s presence before calling, have your voicemail sent to your email – but all the technology in the world sometimes can’t account for human error, bad habits, or just plain bad luck.
Occasionally, video meetings come with a few challenges. Sometimes those can be fixed with good planning. Other things can be fixed by being more considerate. But regardless of how we fix them, we’d say the first step is having a bit of empathy for the person making the mistake.
When someone is late, it’s like they’re saying that their time is more valuable than ours. It’s a frustrating feeling. On top of that, a delayed meeting might be shorter and fail to achieve its goal. Worst of all, if you’re the one not late, stuck waiting in a video-meeting lobby with someone you don’t know very well, you’re awkwardly grasping at small-talk straws.
Your microphone stopped working because you actually need to download a new driver and didn’t realise until just now. The light bulb for your lamp burnt out and now your home office is plunged into darkness. Wait, Windows 10 needs to update everything right this second and it’ll take forty-five minutes . . .
At this point most people know and it’s just a fact of forgetting, but failing to mute oneself when not speaking or failing to unmute when you’re ready to speak must be the most common virtual meeting screw-up of all time. And it’s not even the talking that’s most annoying. It’s the typing sounds. Or slurping coffee. Or clipping nails. Gross.
Some people feel overwhelmed during video chat. There are lots of things to look at, there may be lots of people looking at you, and there’s a bit of stimulation overload. It’s a real psychological phenomenon, and fortunately, there are solutions. You can suggest a phone call, you can put a Post-It over your face on the screen, you can write notes for what you want to say, or you can doodle.
Video meetings are great, but they can be fatiguing, and that goes extra for when you have to deal with a dozen or so participants. Could this meeting have been an email? Or a few smaller meetings? These are a few of the thoughts we’ve had while sitting through a meeting with too many participants to get anything productive done.
Some interruptions are fine. Cat shows up? Then pay the cat tax and move on. But interruptions by colleagues can get frustrating, especially when you set your status to “busy.”
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