Zoom fatigue is a real thing. We tend to attribute the fact that we're tired after a full day of online meetings to the fact that we were not used to doing this in the past, and that we have to get accustomed to doing it now. But the real reason is very different... Watch the following video or read the text version of the blog for more.

I listened to a session given by Pamela Barnum recently where she spoke about the importance of building trust. Pamela is a former undercover agent, and as part of her presentation, which I loved, she mentioned the effects of eye-to-eye connection. How is this connected to Zoom fatigue? Well, she brought up some research that showed that a lot of people are more tired after a full day on online meetings than after a full day of in-person meetings.

Even though meeting in person is a lot more tiring physically, because you have to be in a room and you have to usually travel there and back, it is less tiring to meet people in person than it is to meet them online. Why is that? We're at home, in our pajamas. The way she explains it makes total sense. 

From a brain point of view, eye-to-eye contact has a huge impact on the feel-good chemicals that are generated through our bloodstream. When you look at somebody in their eyes, they receive a shot of oxytocin. Most people, when presenting online, don't really look at the camera, so you don't get the impression that somebody is looking right at you, and therefore, you're not getting your shot of oxytocin. Oxytocin is a natural booster. When we look in someone's eyes, we get this ongoing energy, feeding each other with eye gaze, therefore receiving our feel-good chemicals. When we meet online, unfortunately, not all presenters are trained to look at the camera. 

If you're a presenter, you might want to get used to looking straight at the camera. Of course, when you do so, you can't really see what's going on on the screen, and you also can't get your own shot of oxytocin, but the audience should receive theirs.

Another thing you can do is hide your Self View. In Zoom, you can see three little dots in the corner of your image. Click on these three little dots and select "Hide Self View". That's what I do with all my clients. When I am presenting online and I need to know what my slide looks like, I keep it on, but otherwise, when I'm meeting somebody one-on-one or with just a few people in a meeting, I disable it.

I find that we get distracted by our own image somehow, so this option is very useful and makes you give your full attention to the person that you're talking to.

I hope you enjoy your next online meeting and get those feel-good chemicals flowing in your brain!

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