Even as more workers—from every generation—begin to appreciate the benefits of on-the-job videoconferencing, including convenience, increased engagement, and productivity, corporate executives still face some barriers for widespread adoption of the technology.
Many users harbor fears of public speaking, appearing on camera, and even seeing themselves on a multi-screen video display system. These trepidations prevent users from taking advantage of the technology in a casual way, where videoconferencing is deployed in the same way a voice call might be, for a spur-of-the-moment meeting between co-workers or partners. Additionally, the thought of large-scale videoconferences can cause anxiety for many employees, preventing them from working to their full capabilities. Giving employees the tools and training to succeed during videoconferences and online collaborations may improve adoption rates at the enterprise level.
Understand What Employees Fear
According to the Technology Adoption Curve, a bell curve theory that deals specifically with technology, people fall into categories that range from “innovators,” who want to push for advancement to “traditionalists,” or “laggards,” who drag their feet until forced to use something new. Every business will have people who fall into different adoption categories, with most falling into the “early majority” and “late majority” mass market of technology adopters. Some fields, such as software development may have more innovators and early adopters, while others, such as insurance, may have more traditionalists.
In the case of videoconferencing technology, especially, fear often drives the individuals categorized as late majority adopters and laggards. What are they afraid of? Public speaking, being on camera, or—to a lesser degree—fear of not understanding the technology.
Moe often, these fears have nothing to do with the technology but about how the user will be perceived in a professional setting. Recognizing the source of fear provides companies with a starting point to encourage higher adoption rates for videoconferencing.
Address Videoconferencing Fears with Three Business-Friendly Solutions
Since many fears have nothing to do with understanding the technology, businesses can use training programs that increase an employee’s confidence in all settings—not just online.
Consider these three professional videoconferencing skills solutions to eliminate fear and maximize the benefit you receive from your enterprise videoconferencing solution:
1. Provide professional public speaking coaching. Most employees, regardless of position, will speak in front of groups several times during their careers. Public speaking coaching will give your employees the confidence to leverage each face-to-face meeting with ease. A public speaking coach may help users learn how to control their breath, make eye contact, and arrange speaking points in a more effective manner. Invite a coach into your organization or consider incentivizing employees who join external groups such as Toastmasters.
2. Hand out a guide for videoconference best practices. Employees may have concerns about how they appear on camera. Provide a style guide to help them optimize their videoconference setting, whether they are working from a home office or are on the road in a hotel room or coffee house. Include information about lighting, backgrounds, and wardrobe choices. Clothing and backdrops should be solid-colored if possible, and participants should avoid stripes or busy patterns. Discuss ways to minimize background noise, and provide instructions for the optimal audiovisual settings. Encourage employees to test their settings prior to a meeting. Understand that conference fears may differ based on user demographics, so use that information to create a best practices guide that addresses individual pain points that may be common within your organization.
3. Create a comprehensive, solution-oriented training program. Addressing the practical, real-world fears of public presentation and building employee’s confidence is an important first step toward widespread adoption of videoconferencing.
However, don’t neglect the importance of helping employees get over the less common fear of the technology itself, too. Choose intuitive systems with a user-friendly interface, provide employee training on the system, and ensure your team knows what to do and who to call if the technology does fail.
No employee wants to engage in a videoconference call only to fumble over the setup, lose participants, or face technological difficulties with no idea how to troubleshoot. For a technology solution to work properly, businesses must provide employees with enough foundational information for them to use the system confidently.
Impress upon employees the importance of testing and have IT or AV professionals test the solution regularly to spot check for bugs or common problems. Develop a program that addresses setup, the steps involved in any call, and technical problems that arise.
Set up practice conferences so users can exercise their presentation skills to become more comfortable in front of the camera, as well as the practical aspects of using the technology.
Fear of adopting a new technology solution is natural, but failing to address common fears in a productive manner can increase the likelihood of technology rejection. Cultivate a culture within your organization that embraces technological change to reach your business goals, including videoconferencing technology for communication and collaboration without borders.