Is Video Conferencing Anxiety a Real Thing?

May 11, 2021

Do you have that online meeting anxiety that comes up when you see another video conference come up? Maybe it’s mild, like, what am I going to wear? Or a more acute worry about what you look like, what your listening face looks like, do you seem friendly and likable? 

Good news is that you are not alone in feeling “Zoom anxiety.” Recent articles in both Psychology Today and Discover Magazine on this topic say that it is important to connect visually with other people, whether friends or colleagues, during this time when we’re less able to physically get together. The anxiety to ‘perform’ on camera can be stressful. Normally in person you can depend on the 85% of human communication that is expressed through body language. That’s very difficult to express via video, so we are naturally more alert to how we look. 

How we look is a major contributor to video conferencing anxiety, and can result in being distracted from watching ourselves! 

What can you do about it? If you choose voice only and don’t show yourself, you can seem aloof or even absent. But as a team or group you can decide to turn the camera off after that first check in when the meeting starts. That way you get to see your colleagues, you can be smiling and greeting each other, then turn off the video so you can focus on listening to what people are saying without the distraction of the camera. 

And what about that “what to wear” question? We’ll address that next week… Until then, what’s your ‘go to’ video wardrobe? Are you all business on top and super casual on the bottom? Let us know.