Ten Reasons a Conference Call Is Better Than a Video Conference

Ten Reasons a Conference Call Is Better Than a Video Conference

Ten Reasons a Conference Call Is Better Than a Video Conference

As people ramp up the number of video conference calls and sometimes fill their days with them, the realities of what is being called Zoom Fatigue is catching on.

As much as face-2-face meetings provide some additional sensory information about participants, there are a lot of reasons to just get on the phone rather than get on a camera. Here are my 10 favorites.

Ten Reasons a Conference Call Is Better Than a Video Conference

  1. You don’t have to spruce yourself up and be “camera” ready.
  2. You can do other work (multi-task) and not feel guilty because other people are watching.
  3. You can look out a window or at a nice piece of art, and not at a screen.
  4. You don’t have to sit at your computer to participate.
  5. You can better concentrate on what is being said without worrying about how it’s being said.
  6. Reassert that meetings are about outcomes, not time spent in the meeting. Get to the point and get back to work.
  7. You will probably spend a lot less time fidgeting with your configuration.
  8. You can eat and drink without embarrassment.
  9. You can’t be “Zoom bombed” by a kid, a wife, or a pet if you are on the phone (though yelling off to the side remains a distraction for all).
  10. You will still need to manage how you insert yourself into the conversations, but you can participate relieved that you won’t look stupid while you do so.
Ten Reasons a Conference Call Is Better Than a Video Conference

A couple of additional ideas

Use planners like Microsoft Planner, MesiterTask or Trello to manage tasks so meetings focus on what needs resolution, not what everyone already knows needs to get done or what has been done. Effective use of project boards to manage tasks can reduce the general time spent in meetings. On those boards, identify what requires visual input. If you need to review a design or walk through a presentation, that may require a more visual meeting than say, editing a document. But even reviewing a sketch can easily be accomplished asynchronously by dozens of PDF mark-up tools.

If you are a meeting leader and you don’t need to do anything visually in the meeting, give everyone a break and offer up an audio-only meeting.

One final note. Most conference calling technologies don’t require video. They include a dial-in or audio-only feature. Take a pixel-break and give yourself permission to call into meetings without video. See how it works for you and your colleagues.

Some people thrive on face-2-face, even when it’s virtual. Some find face-2-face a social struggle. “Zoom Fatigue” isn’t a new phenomenon, just a new name for a technology impact increasing in frequency, and therefore impacting more people’s day-to-day work experience. Recognize it. Design meetings to accommodate it. And gathering feedback on how meetings are working for people—and redesign them to better fit needs and expectations based on the feedback.

More so than ever, video or audio, team leaders need to ask if the people invited to the call really need to be on the call. If you want to avoid distraction you need to understand engagement. If people have more important things to do than be in your meeting, let them do those things.

And if you are worried about important messages not getting out, don’t create a single point of failure. Say, post, record, etc. anything critical. Important messages should be omnichannel communications.

Daniel W. Rasmus

Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.

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