You’re Wearing Others Out and Don’t Even Know It

You’re Wearing Others Out and Don’t Even Know It

Last week Stanford published one of the first early-stage studies on the effects of videoconferencing over the past year. Studies are showing it takes more brain energy to be on video than in person due to nonverbal effort. You can read the details as to why attached, but the big takeaway is: You’re tired, and you’re unintentionally wearing others out. Here’s the 2 biggest offenders:


Scenario A

Your top middle manager is completing morning 1:1 video calls with her team. By mid-day, she’s joining cross team video calls, and end of day video calls with her manager/customers/project stakeholders. By early evening, she’s catching up on emails and spreadsheets to keep everything lined up for the next day’s calls. It’s 8 hours on video keeping 8x more eye contact and interpreting limited visual cues, all while seeing a constant mirror of themselves.  Day-after-day, in addition to managing the rest of WFH issues, the fatigue has set in. She’s losing steam, performance dips, and the energy to be her best is gone. Now what? She can’t have LESS communication?!


Scenario B

You’ve just scheduled a great prospective talent who’s interested in joining your team to meet with several others to see if there’s a good mutual fit for joining your company.  Since you can’t do onsite interviews, it’s best practice to have as many team members as possible get to meet her by video. Your support team has lined up:

  • 2 senior leader videos
  • 3 peer video calls
  • A wrap up with you at the end

That’s a 6 hour day of interviews! That’s about the same amount of time as the typical onsite; however, those interviews are done without breaks or food, the ability to move out of frame, speaking 15% louder than normal and at a closer visual range. While the candidate enjoyed the conversations, by the end of the day, she wasn’t speaking with typical enthusiasm, she was losing engagement, and both she and those she spoke with “didn’t have a good connection”. Your team debrief gives you mixed feedback and now you’re not sure whether she’s the good fit you thought she was. And she’s thinking the same!


Don’t get me wrong: Zoom is incredible and it’s a huge benefit to business productivity. However, these are new loads for our brains to handle. If we want the best out of others (and ourselves), we have to intentionally find ways to set ourselves up for REPEATABLE success. Who’s with me on the video fatigue? *Hand Raise*


Interested in additional information regarding Nonverbal Overload?

Find it Here