- Start with peer video. The dress code, formality, etc. are known.
- Have one or two people join a staff meeting from their desks *while they are onsite*. After five minutes, they can close the connection, go into the 'real' staff meeting and laugh about the experience. This takes most anxieties about technical issues off the table.
- Make sure the offsite person is not displayed full screen on a 60"+ monitor. It is un-nerving to be displayed at that dermatological scale.
- Casually inquire if the person uses Skype, Facetime, etc. in their personal lives. Find a way to bridge to the work context.
- Help users with their first offsite connections. Pre-test for lighting, glare, etc. so the person is put forward in their best light. Make sure there is a PIP displayed so they can see how they are coming across to other users.
1. Ensure camera is at eye level (no double chins!). Use books and adjust lid to most flattering angle.
2. Ensure you're lit from the front. So instead of sitting in front of an open window, sit facing it. Or invest in a great desk lamp.
I've heard of a few colleges and universities hiring actors to help with presentation styles, etc.
We kid. When you say none of your folks were comfortable, what two or three aspects of video made them the most uncomfortable would you say?
This is an interesting change in how we are working and having meetings. And I'm feeling some unsurprising pushback among people that don't see the need to always have video. I'm feeling it when I'm having to remind myself to maybe comb my hair before getting into a meeting and a couple of weeks ago I wouldn't have bothered with it.
So, I'm wondering about what to do when setting up meetings with people outside of my organization that may not be thrilled with having a video conference. I want to avoid doing anything that lowers or inhibits their participation. In these meetings I need to share my screen and I am ok with people seeing my face.
So I'm wondering a few things.
- Can we do something to make the invitees not be worried about being pressured (forced) into sharing their video? I want to avoid doing anything that lowers or inhibits their participation and in these meetings I need to share my screen and I am ok with people seeing my face.
- Are there guidelines to help us know when to push for video sharing and when not to? Examples: A couple of old programmers working on a problem together at 2:00 AM are not likely to appreciate being forced to share video when sharing screens is all that is needed. Or, if I'm talking to a customer who is at home in the evening when maybe the family is gathering for dinner, I might find myself becoming an uninvited guest. (Probably time to stop video sharing and maybe even going on mute but still be able to share screens and finish what we are doing)
What I do with people outside the organization is to subtly message that “we are a video organization”. I give the video coordinates; then give audio-only as a backup.
But---my message solution rarely works by itself.
If the person who owns the meeting is the person in power and can dictate the meeting format or the person who owns the meeting knows that an audio-only meeting will be twice as long and have half the emotional engagement of a video meeting, then new people will take the risk.
I spend 90% of my effort making it easy for people to join visual meetings. But we know that there is a part of the brain that thinks it is easier to read an email invitation and type in: +1115551212#111222## on our phones rather than tap “Join Meeting”.
Let’s open a separate discussion for the question about people not wanting to be seen on camera.