With New Ways of Connecting During These Times, Here’s How to Help Others Stay in the Conversation Online
Whether for work or to stay in contact with family and friends, people are connecting through videoconferencing now more than ever — many for the first time.
As someone who helps others communicate every day and has taken a deep dive into videoconferencing services, our own Chelsea Walters, B.S., BC-HIS, a provider and co-owner at Family Hearing, has some tips for successful virtual communication:
- Decrease the Distractions Around You
When videoconferencing, additional sounds in your world are picked up by your microphone, which can create more work for those on the other end who must filter out the excess noise. Remember to turn your music down, and be sure to shut the door if the kids are reenacting battle scenes in the next room. Also, avoid multitasking, so you can focus on the conversation at hand.
- Consider What the Listener Is Seeing
Hearing and vision work together to enhance communication. Making sure your room is well lit and keeping your eye on the camera or the person speaking rather than your image makes it easier for others to lip-read and catch facial expressions that lend context. Some video platforms let you move your image to a new spot — closer to the camera, for example, making it easier for the listener to catch everything.
- Modify What You Said if It’s Not Understood
If the person on the other end of the conversation didn’t understand what you said, avoid repeating it verbatim. Instead, replace the words. Often it can be a certain sound the other person missed, and hearing it the same way won’t help them understand it better. For instance, “My dog won’t stop pulling out the trash” could be changed to “Jasper keeps ripping up the garbage.”
- Be Authentic
Nearly everyone is experiencing some version of major change right now, whether working from home, becoming the children’s day care or teacher, feeling bored and lonely, or deep-cleaning the house. It’s comforting to feel solidarity in that experience. So if your hair’s a mess, own it. If your kids are squirting water guns at each other in the background, own it.