You're listening but are you hearing? Why you should always keep your camera turned on.

Ok, so I have to admit that video calling platforms are almost all better than a tin can and a piece of string. But one of the weaknesses of video calls is the potential to lose focus and miss crucial information that is being conveyed. In business and personal interactions this can be very unhelpful.

It's well known that communication is heavily influenced by non-verbal signals (eg facial expressions), tone of voice and finally by what is actually spoken. In a physical meeting room it's not too hard to perceive the feelings and thoughts of those in the room, whether they are speaking or not. I am, so I'm told, particularly easy to read so I won't be taking up poker anytime soon...

Some organisations encourage (or allow) meeting participants to turn off their cameras during meetings. I do understand that sometimes techie reasons may make use of video impossible. But the equivalent in a physical room would be for everyone to sit behind a screen or wear a blindfold. Imagine walking into a meeting like that!

Speakers and listeners alike need to communicate fully and listen and show they are listening to each other. Human beings have evolved to do just that. Video calling can be a big step up from telephones (or tin cans) but only if it's used well.