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Lights, Camera, Action – The Stresses of Video

According to a new survey from Broadridge Financial Solutions, almost 60 percent of advisors are currently working remotely and more than half do not expect to ever be back in the office full time.

For many advisors, remote communications will often be their major form of interaction with clients and co-workers going forward. So, it is helpful to understand how virtual communications are different from in-person interactions and how to put your best face forward. 

An article in Medical News Today highlights five issues:

Gaze awareness
While it’s easy to make eye contact during an in-person interaction, during a video call, it can be difficult and confusing to decipher between where the camera is versus the person to whom one is speaking. Try to look at the camera so it’s clear you are paying attention and listening. 

Limited attention span
During an in-person meeting, taking notes, looking elsewhere or moving around is normal. When captive to a small camera, these gestures can be distracting or seem rude as if you may have left the conversation. Try to explain what you are doing – “I’m just taking some notes.” Or, “Hold on, I just want to grab a pen.”

Technical glitches
We have all been victim to dropped calls, muted participants, lags, frozen screens and other technological issues. This is frustrating and exhausting to everyone so try to stay technologically “up to date.” But also remember that some circumstances are beyond one’s control. If you do have difficulties, a “good old-fashioned” email explanation will diffuse the situation.

Performance pressure
Lights, camera, action – being “on camera” puts pressure on us to perform and be 100% present. Plus, seeing yourself on screen can result in exaggerated motions and/or talking louder. Try to act as normal as possible and minimize background distractions from pets, kids or appliances. But also keep in mind that everyone can be subject to the same disturbances, try not to stress about it and, if possible, use it to make the conversation more personal.

Too much screen time
Somehow, even the most casual conversation, whether for work, talking to family, online entertainment or getting together virtually with friends has become a screen activity. Where we used to have the ability to take regular breaks and decompress from the screen, this has become much more difficult to achieve. Take breaks, go for a walk, or segment your day. You and your clients will be happier you did. 

For financial advisors with client-facing responsibilities, it is important to understand the differences between in-person and virtual communications and work hard to manage a healthy and positive experience for all participants.