Good handling with videoconferencing

Good handling with videoconferencing

Since March, the daily work routine has changed a lot for many people. You often sit in front of our computer for hours, one video call after the other. Whereas in the past people mostly refrained from video conferencing for distance reasons, in times of Corona we are dependent on the use of this virtual possibility. This certainly has many advantages, but also serious disadvantages, which are especially detrimental to our health. Perhaps you also feel exhausted and tired in the evening – after many video conferences or an online training session – or you can no longer follow the conversation during the video conference, you feel drained and stressed or even suffer from severe headaches? On the net you can already find various names for this phenomenon – like z. B. Videoconference exhaustion, videoconference fatigue, zoom coller, zoom fatigue or even corona online fatigue. So you are not alone! Lead with confidence z. B. Well-planned videoconferences, paying attention to some important points, less often to this phenomenon. Therefore, we would like to give you a small guideline, so that you also come well through the next video conference. Many rules apply to lecturer/facilitator. Participants alike.

Make sure you have good equipment!
If it is possible, you should get a good equipment. A good webcam and headset are particularly helpful here. With poor image quality, our eyes tire more easily, noise distracts us and costs a lot of concentration. Put yourself in a good light! Make sure that the lighting is good so that your counterpart can see you well! Move the camera a little further away so that at least the upper part of your body can still be seen. Here's how to give your counterpart more insight into your moods. We are used to paying attention to facial expressions and body posture. In a face-to-face meeting, the moderator can always take a look around and see what the mood is. Are the participants still listening attentively? Or some already seem very tired. It would be beneficial to take a break? Technology check before the meeting! A quarter of an hour before the meeting, make sure your Internet is stable and the technology is working. It disturbs not only the lecturer/facilitator but also the other participants if you are late for the meeting. And most of all, it probably bothers you. This is also a stressor. Clothes make the man! How would you normally go into a meeting? This point is not completely irrelevant for our psychological well-being. Therefore, you should think carefully about the clothes you would wear to a video conference "under normal circumstances". A good tip for videoconferencing is to avoid distracting patterns or bright colors, so as not to tire your counterpart's eye even more. Find a quiet place! For many moms and dads in home offices, this point is certainly a very big challenge. That said, it's important to give yourself the space you need to do so. Talk to your family! Paint a sign for the door so that you are not disturbed under any circumstances! It is best to also specify the planned period of time during which you must not be disturbed, so that children in particular can better adjust to it. But not only children – also pets, the ringing of the mailman, phone calls or even the eating of a participant during the meeting can be disturbing if the microphone is not turned off. And every noise – every unsteady image disturbs the other participants as well and additionally stresses us, because we have to calm down and focus again. Create an orderly workspace! Of course, it would also be desirable to have one's own office at home – preferably ergonomically furnished – but this is certainly not feasible for everyone. In the home office, even a dining table will do in a pinch. However, a workplace where the children's exercise books or the wife's bookkeeping are also lying around is not only unprofessional but also distracts our focus from the meeting. Keeping the desktop of the computer tidy is also an advantage, should the screen need to be shared during the conference. "Do what you do!" – Chinese proverb
In the videoconference we do not feel observed. Some participants leave the meeting for a while or take care of things that have fallen by the wayside or are important to them at the moment. Close all open documents and your mailbox for the video conference! Put your focus only on the meeting. Multitasking ability is sometimes certainly a wonderful quality -in this case it costs extra energy and concentration. Switch to "mute! The best way to avoid noise is, of course, to mute the microphones. Only the current speaker should have the microphone switched on. Keep the (N) etiquette here and basically let this one speak out before you speak up and turn on your microphone. Good moderation is the key!
While it is perfectly normal for an instructor to lead an online training session, it is very common in a video conference for participants to want to speak at the same time because they have an important topic on the tip of their tongue. Here it helps to set up rules for communication at the beginning of the meeting. Here you can z. B. The possibilities of virtual hand signals offered by communication programs can be a real help. The moderator should keep track of the order in which hands are raised. This is often very difficult with several participants. Questions and topic suggestions could also be sent via chat during the meeting – the moderator decides if there is still time for these items, so that a meeting is not unnecessarily drawn out. Keep the circle of participants small! Often online trainings and video conferences tempt to allow or invite more participants, since there is no (room) limitation here. Here, however, one tends to lose the overview and it is less noticeable when participants briefly leave the meeting. If it is unavoidable to hold a large conference, it helps to use z. B. Assign topics and tasks to smaller groups who can discuss them in a small circle and then present their results to the larger group. Action reduces fatigue! A good arrangement is everything! Just as a lecturer plans a training course, the moderator of a video conference should also prepare well! Put the TOPs together. Plan time slots for this. It is recommended here z. B. A division into slots of 30 – 45 minutes with short 5 – 10 minute breaks in between. If the meeting lasts for several hours, it is important to plan an additional longer break to recover. The agenda should be sent to all participants at the time of invitation, so that everyone can prepare themselves optimally. A warm welcome. The red thread! As a presenter or inviter, greet participants one at a time so everyone knows who is "in on it," especially if some participants do not have a camera or it must be turned off because the Internet connection is not ideal. Introduce the TOPs so that each participant can tune in to them. Inform about the planned duration of the TOPs and the break times. To avoid participants getting up during the conference to get coffee or stretch their legs.Establish rules that no eating or drinking will take place during the meeting if you have allowed enough time for it. Perhaps you, as the moderator, are ambitious enough to include a small movement or relaxation exercise in the break program, which the participants perform together. There are enough great ideas to be found on the Internet here. A mood barometer helps! Ask your participants beforehand. After the break according to your current mood. This can be z. B. Be done via emojis or with arrows in the chat. Arrange individual markers here like z. B. – concentrated – tired… Etc. Participation in the mood barometer is of course always voluntary. A break is recovery time! The normal concentration capacity of a human being is at ca. 90 minutes. Then take a break of at least 20 minutes. This break should be used to redirect your concentration to something completely different. Use your break z. B., to read and answer emails or make important business phone calls, this is not a break that leads to recovery of your brain and your ability to concentrate, but sooner or later to mental exhaustion. Therefore, use the breaks consciously – for the sake of your health: Open your windows and ventilate thoroughly so that you have sufficient fresh air available again. Take advantage of Every break, to drink enough. Drinking water helps concentration. Avoid headaches. Eat a small meal, which are not stressful, such as z. B. Fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt, cottage cheese, or the like. Prepare these meals the morning or even the night before so that you always have enough healthy snacks for your breaks. Avoid sugar and simple carbohydrates, as these provide a short-term "HIGH", but after a short time become a real energy thief. Use the breaks for a small exercise session. If you have a longer break, make sure you go out into the fresh air. Also one Small Round the block helps your brain regain energy. You love relaxation? Very good. Use the remaining time of the break for relaxation music, a short meditation, a unit of "Progressive Muscle Relaxation" or "Autogenic Training".If you are practiced in these relaxation techniques, you can also switch off wonderfully with the short form of training. Relax the eyes by palming Get into a comfortable sitting position with relaxed shoulders. Close your eyes. Place both hands slightly curved over the eyeballs without the palms touching the eyes. Hold the position for at least 1 minute. Then lower the hands again. After 10 seconds, slowly open your eyes. Blink until you get used to the light again. A short power nap can work wonders! The positive effect of a power nap has been proven. Those who sleep for a few minutes at noon are much more efficient in the afternoon hours. The ideal sleep time here is between 10 and 20 minutes. With a little trick you can prevent yourself from falling asleep too hard. Sit down at a table. Put your elbows up, rest your head on your hands in which you hold your car keys (a larger set of keys is beneficial) If they fall down, you have entered the proper relaxation phase. Afterwards, move or stretch extensively.

Block out appointments! You chase from one short meeting to another. Due to the short duration there are no breaks? Block (break) appointments in your calendar! Leave your (home) office here. Use it deliberately for your recreation! A conference protocol relieves the memory! After the meeting, take a moment to jot down what you consider to be the most important findings from the meeting. Key points are already enough! If these are on paper, we have a good feeling not to forget anything and have the head free to focus on other things again.

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