I’m not going to jump on an angry bandwagon condemning video calls today, but I will point out what a welcome break it is when you don’t have to make one.
I had a long overdue catch-up with someone in my professional network this morning and we just used the phone. No Zoom. No Google Meet. No Skype. Just pure audio and a break from ensuring we looked okay in front of the camera.
We very quickly both admitted it was a pleasant change from what appears to be the new default – setting up video calls for every little human interaction. I love using video when it has a purpose. It allows me to connect with clients in coaching sessions and in training events.
But for one to one chats where we both know each other, I think the phone is just fine. The fact that phone calls now seem like a break highlights for me the cognitive load associated with video calls. And I can only imagine how horrific it is to be on these non-stop throughout the working day.
I’m lucky enough that I control my own agenda, ensuring reasonable breaks between calls involving video and never having more than a couple of big ‘set pieces’ in any single working day. I both want to be at my best and also avoid the inevitable exhaustion from being on camera all day.
So, the phone was just what I needed today. I’m not looking my best after a night of appalling insomnia and my contact was obviously dealing with questions from her child while we were chatting. The absence of a camera meant we could both relax into listening mode and be ourselves.
A suggestion: take a look at your schedule for the remainder of the week and identify a couple of video calls that could easily become phone calls. Notice the difference this makes.