Are You a Video Meeting Bully?
Many thanks to my friend, Anna Seacat for sharing her wisdom in this blog post.
When a VP insisted that everyone in his meetings “show yourself” on camera, his Directors and Managers perceived this as a new rule and also made it a requirement in their meetings.
A perfect environment for video bullies was created.
During one video call with more than a dozen participants, the VP interrupted the speaker and called out to a team member:
“Natalie, are you not going to turn on your video?”
“Uh, well, ummm. I wasn’t going to…No.”
“Natalie…we’re all waiting…”
Were they though? Was anyone else in the meeting scanning through the grid of heads to make sure everyone was complying with the “show yourself” mandate?
It was not likely that many had noticed Natalie wasn’t on camera.
The Value of Video
I tend to minimize everyone’s heads during meetings, finding it to be a distraction from the task at hand. It can also feel unnatural — hypothetically, one could study someone else intently without them knowing it. Requiring individual cameras to be turned on all team members for 60 minutes, especially when they’re not a presenter, can be problematic for many reasons.
I’m not questioning the value of a speaker being able to show themselves on camera during a presentation to a large virtual audience. I also know there is value in inviting participants to use their camera in other professional circumstances, such as during introductory calls or a team discussion with 2-4 members. But, it’s important that we all recognize bad behavior and be upstanders in our organizations when others are being coerced to “show yourself” on camera.
(Note: The event described above did not occur where I am employed.)
Join the conversation!
- When is using video capabilities during a meeting most effective?
- Should everyone on a team or company be forced to be on camera during meetings?
- What can we do as upstanders in our organizations to ensure everyone can contribute to their full potential and in a way that feels natural?
Anna Seacat is a seasoned marketing and product leader of innovative and high-profile offerings and services. She has domain expertise in enterprise IoT, SaaS, and cybersecurity for IoT. Anna has a reputation as a visionary and for consistently delivering timely results by driving tight integration with product management, marketing, sales, business partners, design, development, and research. Anna has a proven track record in leading the entire product and marketing life cycle with Enterprise Design Thinking. She has a Master of Science in Marketing. Anna currently serves as a Senior Director at Ascension where she leads all marketing, PR, and communication for Ascension’s largest market.