5 Reasons to turn on video in your next conference call

I get it. It's a lot easier to join a conference call with video off.

You can stay in your bed, in your pajamas, not fix your hair, makeup... it all seems a little bit like a no-brainer, right?

Why not just make it a phone call? Here's why.

We're all pivoting to learn a new way of communicating through a lens these days. If a meeting you usually conduct in person is happening at home, just turning to the phone misses out on some huge cues that you need in order to effectively communicate.

1. Body Language

90% of communication is non-verbal. Read that again. 90%!

Research shows words make up only about 7% of your communication. The remainder accounts for non-verbal cues and your tone or inflections in your voice. When you are communicating by phone or even by e-mail, you are missing out on major nuances that help communicate your message.

2. Connection

According to Lifesize, 98% of people say video strengthens relationships both outside and inside the company. Although compares to human-to-human interaction, video can come close. In fact, you can maximize your engagement online in an even more effective way by allowing back and forth through chat functions and feedback. By allowing participants to write questions in chat instead of opening up the room at the end of a presentation, it allows them to connect in real time and they are less likely to forget their question at the end of a presentation. To sustain audience engagement as a presenter, show your face as much as possible. Research shows human faces are inherently more compelling to other humans, so only share screens or slides when they enhance your presentation.

3. Confidence

There's something about putting on clothes (yes, pants too), fixing your hair and even a little makeup that can do wonders for your confidence. You sit a little straighter and that confidence exudes to your message. If you are laying in your bed, still in pajamas, there's a tonal change in your voice and you don't exude confidence. Furthermore, if you are a participant and not a main presenter, your video matters too. You are more engaged, more interested and pay more attention if your camera is on.

4. Feedback

Just as your non-verbal cues matter, so do those of the people you are talking to. The feedback you can get from someone's eyes, mannerisms or general interest in what you're saying can (and should) impact the direction of your conversation. Are they nodding their head in agreement? Do they look confused? Are they losing interest? These are important cues to direct your conversation that you just don't get to see on a phone call.

5. Comfort

Imagine logging on your work video platform with your colleagues, having coffee, checking in at the beginning of the day and one box is empty. Initials or a picture only, or worse... a black box. "Hey Ted, you there?" You leave them wondering if you're okay, if you're paying attention or if you are even in the room at all. While this isn't completely frowned upon, it is quickly beginning to feel... well, rude. We're all here with our clothes on and ready to work... why aren't you? Flipping the switch gives everyone around you a little more comfort knowing you are there, paying attention and ready to contribute. In turn, practice makes perfect. The more you do turn on video, the more comfortable you will be doing it.

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