While the use of video meetings is expected to skyrocket over the next two years, (increasing 47 percent annually through 2017, according to Wainhouse Research) some people are still uncomfortable with the notion of appearing “on camera” at work.
In a recent survey by Wainhouse Research over 40% of participants said they’d be more willing to use video if their colleagues were more comfortable being seen on video. This “no, you first” mentality is gaining momentum, with an additional 10% of would-be video conferencers expressing that they’d be comfortable with video only if their fellow meeting attendees enabled their own webcams.
Where does this mentality originate? In the traditional workplace, we see our colleagues on a daily basis - but yet we remain reluctant to let them see us on-screen. Are we afraid of the camera adding ten pounds, or is something else at play?
We argue there is something else.
1. Perceived Loss of Control: Technology Takes Over
Being thrown into a meeting without checking your audio quality can be unnerving. We’ve all been on a call where someone failed to mute themselves and we are subjected to dogs barking/phones ringing/babies crying/traffic noises. No one wants to be that guy. In person, you innately adjust your voice level and tone to match the room, you can check your appearance before getting in the room; in a virtual meeting you have often lost that control.
2. Eye Contact Control: Loss of Focal Point
Secondly, the inability to actually “meet someone’s eyes," one of the most important parts of a visual connection, is not often possible in video software. In order to appear as if you are looking “straight” at someone on their screen, it means you have to actually be staring intently at your video camera not at the person you’re talking to at all, otherwise you come across as looking up/down/sideways.
3. Personal Distraction: Constant Reflection
Another major difference meeting over video is you can see your own face. You don’t usually walk around with a mirror all day, looking at yourself while you talk, brainstorm and connect with others in the office. Seeing yourself on camera from a video meeting can be distracting and uncomfortable.
How does Fuze help make the video experience a positive one?
Enter the Fuze Green Room.
As a user-focused organization, we began to consider the most critical point of contention or trepidation was the users’ perceived loss of control. We realized we needed to allow the meeting attendee to feel comfortable and confident that his/her audio and video settings were configured to desired specifications –before “prime time”. To conquer on-screen fears, we created a preparation space allowing Fuzers to validate and present their best selves and removing the potential to be “that guy”.
Our hypothesis proved true: since introducing the Green Room feature, we’ve seen a 20% increase in video usage.
Why the Green Room Matters: We give users control.
The Green Room allows users to control their video and audio settings before they join the meeting, setting up a private space to ensure maximum comfort and control for the participant before joining the group. Just like a quick check in the restroom before an important meeting, Fuze users have the ability to do a quick self-check. Choose whether mic and video are on/off, check your appearance and then enter the meeting. In this way, the whole process of actually getting into a meeting is more streamlined; the host of the meeting no longer needs to play tech support, and users join confidently and in control.
Mimicking the idea of looking directly into someone’s eyes, the participant pods for others in the meeting can be moved around (by you) to meet your gaze, and when content sharing the pods are located on top bar of the meeting to create a more natural eye-to-eye connection.
If you don’t fancy looking at yourself on screen for the duration of the meeting, the ability to minimize your own pod as it appears to you during the meeting removes the idea of a mirror. While some people enjoy monitoring how they appear over camera, and it is a good training tool for immediate feedback on how you are presenting to others, the option to minimize your own pod gives users the choice.
Our community have told us these improvements to the UX have improved meeting start times and confidence in users to use video.
Give Fuze Green Room a go — and enjoy being back in the driver’s seat. You, in control of your meeting, and your workday.
Your free Fuze account is available here.
(Wainhouse - Video conferencing buying plans, May 2014)