Can you imagine if someone showed up to the office with a paper bag over their head?
“Hey everyone, I didn’t want to bring my face to work today, so I’m only bringing my voice.” Seems perfectly appropriate, right?
You’d never wear a bag on your head for an in-person meeting, so why are you keeping your webcam turned off in online meetings?
Look, I get it. It feels weird to be on video. That discomfort is something I struggled with as well, and it’s something you’ll need to work through. Here are three reasons why you should:
1) It Creates an Incredibly Powerful Human Bond
Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve been emailing back and forth with someone, or spoken on the phone several times with someone, and then you finally meet in person? It brings your whole connection to another level.
There’s no replacement from sharing a smile with someone. It’s so simple, but it’s one of the most powerful things we can share as human beings.
2) It Helps You Get Your Point Across
If you have to “be the bad guy,” people see that you’re human and it softens that experience. Think about how much more slack you cut your teammates than you do faceless entities like “management” or “the man” or the cable company.
Turning your webcam on can be helpful in the opposite situation as well. If someone else is delivering tough news, they can see that you’re uncomfortable without you having to come out and say it. It avoids the worse case scenario, which is them assuming there’s no issue because no one spoke up. (I don’t know about you, but announcing “I’m feeling kinda uncomfortable right now” is the last thing I want to do in a big meeting.)
Lastly, having your webcam on softens the experience if you interrupt someone, which is inevitable, since it’s much harder to see when someone else is about to speak in a web conference.
3) It Communicates That You’re Serious
This one is aimed at anyone telecommuting – whether that’s fully remote or working from home on a Friday. I hate to break it to you, but there are still some stereotypes out there about remote workers being slackers, who “work” from bed and spend all day eating nachos in their PJs.
Turning your webcam on shows that you’re here, you’re present, and you’re a full participant in the conversation.
It’s As Easy As Clicking a Button
Turning on your webcam is an simple yet powerful way to connect with your coworkers and clients. It’s so powerful that I routinely turn on my webcam even when no one does just so that other people can feel connected with me (though that was something I worked up to). Try turning on your webcam the next time you’re on a Zoom / Webex / GoToMeeting / Google Hangout – I promise people will be happy to see you.