With so much of the working world moving into the home, video calling tools such as Zoom, Teams and Hangouts have become vital for keeping organisations communicating.
But while technology makes it easy to stay connected, the widespread adoption of video calling has brought its own set of challenges.
Many of us feel unnatural and awkward speaking on camera and, for some, the pressure of having to perform so frequently on work video calls has lead to the rise of ‘Zoom anxiety’ – in other words, a physical feeling of panic when called upon to talk on video.
Presentation design agency Buffalo 7 surveyed 2,066 homeworkers to reveal their biggest triggers.
Do any of these sound familiar?
The Biggest Triggers of Zoom Anxiety
|1||Having tech/audio problems and not knowing how to fix them||83%|
|2||Being unable to read caller’s body language||67%|
|3||Feeling like you’re being unheard||56%|
|4||Being put on call without time to prepare appearance||41%|
|5||Worrying about an unprofessional background||34%|
|6||Being talked over when trying to make your points||31%|
|7||Having too many people to focus on||23%|
|8||worrying about how you look on camera||18%|
|9||Having to manage call screen with presentations and documents||15%|
|10||Not knowing what to do with your hands||9%|
Which Tasks are the Biggest Triggers of Zoom Anxiety?
- Presenting – 42%
- Interviews – 25%
- Client Meetings – 18%
- Team Catch Ups – 15%
When asked, ‘have you experienced Zoom or video call anxiety this year,’ an enormous 73% of respondents said yes. These findings are supported by Google, with a huge 180% increase in UK residents searching for the term ‘Zoom Anxiety’ between March and November of this year.
Being on a video call requires more focus than a face-to-face chat or a regular phone call, which might be why 76% of people said they found that video calls made them more anxious than telephone calls, and 48% found them worse than face to face meetings.
Buffalo 7 Marketing Manager James Robinson said: “Of course, 2020 hasn’t been short on anxiety, and we’ve all had a lot to deal with. However, with a huge 73% of respondents saying they’ve struggled with Zoom anxiety at some point this year, it’s clear that for many video calls bring with them their own set of challenges.
“Everyone is struggling this year, and if you do suffer from Zoom Anxiety, look to discuss your problems with your boss, or follow the steps we’ve set out. Some of these issues come down to confidence, so if you are struggling with tech, could you put aside some time beforehand to learn about common problems, so you’re not caught out when they happen on calls?
“We’re all under a lot of stress this year, and the worst thing you can do for yourself and for your colleagues is add extra pressure on yourself. Always remember – you’re doing great!”
How to build your confidence on Zoom, Skype and other video calls
Overcome your nerves with these five quick tips from Buffalo 7:
- Practice Your Presentation
If you’re using PowerPoint to show slides, rehearse along with it so you know exactly what image is coming up next – this will help you cycle through slides smoothly. Make sure you know the basics of PowerPoint and how to solve common issues – i.e. things like pressing B if your screen accidentally goes black!
- Treat Video Calls the Same
Try and think of a video presentation as the same as a regular one, and react accordingly. If you move your hands around a lot in real life, do so on the call – it’ll feel more natural. If interviewing, don’t be afraid to exaggerate – smile more, laugh more. Sell what you’re feeling across the screen.
- Be Tech Prepared
Test your presentation with a friend beforehand so that you’re prepared for any potential tech and audio issues. Make sure you know how to share screens and how to fix common microphone problems. Check your internet connection before you start the real call.
- Face Your Fears
Remind yourself that nobody ever died from doing a presentation; there is nothing to be scared of! Remember that you are coming across better on screen than you think you are, and any pauses which feel negative on the other side are probably tech related and say nothing about their mood.
- Focus on the Physical
If you suffer from anxiety in stressful situations, look at the things you can control. Eating healthily and exercising beforehand always help, and make sure you limit your \caffeine intake before the call! The less stressed you are, the less anxious you’ll be.
If you or one of your team members is suffering from Zoom anxiety, follow some of these quick tips to help alleviate the problem:
- Limit Calls
Ask if this call is really necessary. It may be easier to add notes onto a shared doc, for example. Video calls may not always be the most efficient option.
- Cancel Cameras
Ask your boss if cameras are required on every call. If they are, try putting your camera on a side angle not face-on – you’ll focus less on yourself.
- Allow Recharge Time
Speak to others about only allowing a set amount of calls a day. Can there be a limit? If not, make sure there’s a set time between calls to recharge.
- Give Notice
Never drop anyone on a call without telling them in advance. If people have time to prepare, they’ll be more organised and less anxious.
- Communicate Concerns
Communicate! Talk to bosses, talk to teams – if there’s an issue, you never know who else is facing it too. Encourage conversations. Ask your boss for a private chat.