How to beat Zoom fatigue – Find the confidence to shake-up the way you meet online

Bit Famous works with businesses and organisations
to help them communicate with confidence.

By Penny Haslam

MD and Founder - Bit Famous

Penny Haslam

Whatever video conference system you use, people are telling me they are getting exhausted by the calls they're on. People often schedule them back-to-back leaving little time to reflect or recover and they can be draining on the eye, and the brain.

So, here are my five top tips for beating 'Zoom fatigue'.

Tip 1. Plan your conference call

Tip number one is just to plan ahead, it's back of the envelope stuff. Sketch out how the time you're going to be spending with your team is going to work.

Figure out who is going to be doing what and how long are they going to be doing it for. How can you best introduce them? I'm a fan of the saying "don't bore us, get to the chorus", to encourage people to make their point quickly rather than waffling on. (I know that conversation isn't always easy to have with certain team members!)

Make a note of the time at the beginning of a conference call and tell people when you will finish. That way they can relax without worrying that it'll drag on.

Tip 2.  Say people's names more than usual

You are probably doing this anyway because peoples names are visible for everyone to see on screen. However, when people hear their names, they are more likely to be attentive. Their ears prick up!

It's a trick I use when I'm speaking and delivering training.  Just refer to people a lot more than you usually do, even when you're not specifically asking them a question.

Tip 3.  Use the camera lens to give eye contact

This a really good trick when you are talking - to look at the lens on your computer or device, not the screen or image of yourself. That's how you create the impression of eye contact when you're on a video call. It's not a staring competition by the way, so do feel free to you look away but always come back to the camera lens. 

It's also a really valuable trick when you're listening to others when they're speaking. It makes people feel like they're properly being listened to. 

If you're finding the images on the screen distracting, maybe it's someone's lounge or dining room, check it out by all means - but return your eyes the lens when you can.


Zoom fatigue, too much screen time.

Tip 4. Take time to reflect on how your calls are going

You can do this in several ways. You can ask for anonymous feedback on how things are running. Or, you could just take a little bit of time and make a note after each meeting. Maybe ask other teams what's working well for them?

For example, if your sales team is always buzzing about their call, how are they running it? What's making it better? 

Remember, it's not always the people who are attending the call who make it work. It can be the way it's structured or the way it's timed. It might be the content. Take time just to reflect on how it's going.

Tip 5. Shake up the format

We all fall into habits, it's easy to think the best way of running a conference call is the way it's always been done. But it doesn't have to be like that and it's OK to shake up the format!

You could take it in turns to run the meeting, by asking every team member to have a go at hosting. It would then be their job to plan ahead, time it, ask people to wrap up when they've waffled on and make sure it finishes on time.

How about getting creative? 

You could suggest for ten minutes everyone switches their video is off, just to rest your eyes. Or ask people to run around the house and grab an object that says something about the team. A great idea is a quick-fire round where everyone says one thing about a topic. Energising your meetings helps them feel less tiring and less of a chore.

And trying new ways of doing meetings while working remotely can really up your game. It gets everybody thinking about how the calls could be better. 

All of this, of course, does take a certain amount of self-assuredness. Confident team members could well feel ready to run a meeting, or input on being creating - but not everyone feels that, especially if they've been on furlough or aren't that comfortable on camera. Even relinquishing 'control' and shaking up the way things are done, at a leaders' level, requires confidence.

It's all about clear, confident communication and it's fairly urgent to get right, because this mode of communicating isn't going away any time soon. 

Bit Famous - We help people communicate with confidence

We run lots of different training and coaching programmes to help people communicate with confidence - which is good for their career, their chances of promotion and for the business or organisation's brand image. Our Bit Famous Confidence Workshop is popular and provides insight and ideas into building confidence for colleagues at all levels.

All training is of course deliverable via Zoom (or Teams, or Google Meet etc...)!