- Marquette University researchers found that videoconferencing participants were more productive and happier with their performance when they couldn’t see themselves on the screen, CBC News reports. The researchers said that participants worry about how they look, act and speak, which distracts them from the work at hand.
- The study divided participants into two groups: Those who could see themselves on the video screen and those who could not. The latter group showed higher performance and satisfaction with the outcome of conversations than the former.
- Researchers aren’t sure of the cause, but they think it relates to a phenomenon psychologists call “objective self-awareness," in which seeing oneself on screen detracts from individual focus.
The study results might not apply to all videoconferencing participants, but knowing that objective self-awareness can occur could perhaps allow videoconferencing hosts to warn callers about the phenomenon before a meeting starts.
This is particularly interesting for remote workforces, which often rely on videoconferencing and other established communication technologies to conduct day-to-day business. This model is seeing growth across all industries, so it will be important to establish the pros and cons of each method to ensure fluid communication.
Researchers said videoconferencing is growing, with 46% of organizations in the study using it. Videoconferencing differs from live meetings in that participants can’t be heard when speaking at once, so listening to others before speaking is essential.
Employers should develop policies emphasizing courtesy, respect and collaboration. Alternatively, some participants might take the opportunity of seeing themselves on the screen as a way to improve their presentation skills.