“Is anyone else getting tired of Zoom?” That’s the question I heard on my first Zoom call of the week. Everyone’s head nodded in unison.
Zoom fatigue is real. A recent BBC article discussed this very topic. One would think that a video call would be the best way to communicate during the COVID-19 pandemic as it combines the immediacy of a phone call with the visual appeal of a YouTube video. Presumably, it provides all the benefits of an in-person meeting without having to travel or risk exposure.
But Gianpiero Petriglieri, associate professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD, said that being on a video call requires more focus than a face-to-face chat. Here are some of the reasons:
- The compression of the video means that non-verbal cues such as facial expressions are harder to distinguish. It’s much easier to understand these cues when the person is physically in front of you.
- Audio delays result in the other person being perceived as less attentive or friendly. It’s similar to how conversations held over speakerphone always feel awkward.
- It is nearly impossible to make effective eye contact with the other person as you can’t look at your screen and the camera at the same time.
- Most people spend more time on-screen looking at themselves than at others.
So how can financial advisors and planners stay connected with their clients without wearing them out?
Use One-Way Videos
Consider using one-way videos, which are short videos recorded for a specific person or a general audience.
Here are a few examples:
Mark Cooke, President and CEO of Heritage Financial in Gainesville, VA has been using Dubb.com (another tool is BombBomb.com) to send short video messages to each of his clients. He told us, “clients like seeing me along with the message. It’s more personal than email and easier than making a phone call and leaving a message.” He’s also able to record the message and delay sending it until an appropriate time.
Kaleb Paddock with Ten Talents Financial Planning in Parker, CO receives great feedback from the videos he posts every week on LinkedIn using a theme of “What’s on My Mind.” Recent topics include “Don’t wait for retirement to live your great life!” and “My favorite reason not to sell your investments during a market decline.”
Each video is about three minutes. He posts them specifically for what he calls “lurkers,” whom he describes as “people who feel like they know you but have never liked, commented, shared, or otherwise made contact. However, every once in awhile, out of the blue, you will get a lurker to reach out as a prospective client. When they do, they are generally ready to sign up immediately because they feel they already know you.”
Kaleb describes a phenomenon known by researchers as a “parasocial” relationship: an ongoing, one-sided bond with a media figure. A common example of this exists with television reporters. Most people feel like they have a relationship with their favorite newscaster even though they’ve never met!
These types of relationships are perfectly healthy. Humans crave connection and the use of video creates a genuine emotional connection even in the absence of a physical relationship.
Tips to deepen your emotional connection
So, if you want to deepen your emotional connection with clients and prospective clients without creating Zoom fatigue, here are few tips:
- Use one-way video often. The relationship grows with frequency.
- Be authentic – don’t worry about being super polished or scripted. Show the real you!
- Demonstrate warmth. A friendly smile and caring eyes are always a great way to start.
Want to get started? It doesn’t take much – a smartphone will work wonders. Try recording a quick hello and share it with someone you know. Need help figuring it out? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll figure it out together!