• Deanne Pandey

Awkward during Video Calls? We have got you covered!

Owing to the strict adherence to social distancing, work from home is the new norm. This means you are mostly dependent on video conferences. Ideally video conferences are the perfect replacements of meetings. Yet, why do we feel so awkward during video calls? You don’t know where to look, you practically miss out on most of the conversation if your network is weak, images are pixelated, you might run out of things to say, some work at home interferes in between, or you might just be shy or nervous. One major drawback of video conferences at home is that if you are at the office or outdoors for a meeting, no household work can interrupt you. Although, these Zoom or Google Hangout meetings are going to be the new norm till our fight against the virus is over, which, clearly seems like a long time. So it is best to brace ourselves to be safe from the virus as well as awkward video calls!

Here are some major reasons making your video calls awkward and ways to handle them-

1. Set the frame

Your frame says a lot. If the laptop is places farther, you might get awkward and distracted by the happenings around your colleagues’ houses or if it is placed too close, the close up angle might just be unpleasant and distracting. The best way to tackle this is to keep your laptop nearly a foot away from you and placing your hands on a table or your laptop. This way, you are not too close into the camera neither are your surroundings in focus.

2. Surroundings

Things might get pretty awkward during a meeting if someone rings your doorbell or if your dog starts barking at the laptop or if you are required to look after some household chore. This is why it is better to mention to your family the details of the meeting so that they are aware too and choose a place in your room where you will not be interrupted.

3. Dress formally or informally?

Naturally, this question arises since it is work from home. But it might create an awkward situation prolonged for 30 minutes for you if you are to give a presentation in your pyjamas whilst your colleagues are dressed up. The safest card to play is to wake up, freshen up, put on basic formals and light make up. This will not only make you look subtle and presentable but also give a boost of confidence. Do not put on fancy formals and a lot of make up as that can also be very awkward and distracting.

4. Map out your conference

When you are in a meeting in person, the possibilities of running out of things to say is almost negligible as your gestures and body language come into the picture. But on online platforms, you are dependent on whatever you or your colleagues have got to say. Thus there are more chances of running out of things to say which leads to awkward silences. To avoid these silences, prep for your meeting beforehand. Go through the agendas, areas of doubt, prepare to ask or answer questions and prepare pointers for smoother conferences.

5. Shy and nervous?

What if you are a shy and nervous person naturally and even after all these measures, you are constantly awkward and shy during the call? First of all, accept it. Accept in your mind that you are shy and nervous and that it is okay to be shy and nervous. Secondly, do not forget to breathe. It will help you take a moment off and assess the points put forth during the meeting. Thirdly, if looking at your boss and colleagues is causing you to be shy, then you at yourself on the screen. Lastly, distract yourself right after your video conference. It will keep you from analysing your words and overthinking about the meeting.

These are some ways to avoid awkward situations during a video conference. Let us know if these steps work for you or suggest some more ways to tackle the awkward bug! Stay home, stay safe and take care!

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