Communication technology has completely changed the way we connect with people to conduct business. It has opened global markets and fostered the use of geographically dispersed teams – including multiple site organizations and remote or home working.
But not all technology is created equal. Lean technologies, like texts and email, offer limited social cues. When you add voice and image you employ much richer sources of communication. We were born with the innate capability to communicate through our postures, gestures, facial expressions, and vocal prosody. In fact, our brains search for and expect these most primitive and significant channels of information. According to Dr. Thomas Lewis (an expert on the psychobiology of emotions and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the university of California San Francisco), when we are denied these interpersonal cues, the brain struggles and real communication suffers.
There is no doubt that using a visual medium can be a powerful way to connect with people, but I once watched a Chief Executive Officer give an entire video presentation bent over notes on a table in front of him while the audience (his entire organization, since this was an “all hands” event) viewed the top of his head. Then, because the camera was much too close to him, when he occasionally glanced up, his eye movements looked exaggerated (making him seem agitated) and his hands kept flying in and out of frame as he gestured.
The effective use of visual technology comes with practice and experience. Here are six techniques to keep in mind for your next videoconference:
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