Zoom Fatigue and How to Avoid It

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Third Piece Essentials
Bobbi, dressed to impress for a video conference with a prospective client.

Whether you’re a seasoned Zoom “pro” with years of video conferencing behind you or a relative newcomer to the scene as a result of the pandemic, you’ve no doubt come to realize that presenting yourself professionally online is an entirely different ballgame!

While our lives are slowly returning to some semblance of “normal,” it seems video conferencing is here to stay—and with it comes the fallout of what some researchers are referring to as “Zoom fatigue.” Not surprisingly, women are reporting greater instances of this latest addition to the lexicon than men.

Historically speaking we have always had to work harder to make an impact and be seen and heard in the boardroom, and the fact of the matter is when conducting business online, you have fewer opportunities to make that impact and a very narrow medium in which to do it.

 

HOW ZOOM FATIGUE AFFECTS US…

What we are learning from Zoom fatigue is that it affects your contributions and the influence you have over others on the call. The exhaustion is real, but there are ways to make things easier on yourself and make the positive impression you want to make.

Zoom fatigue can be a result of a combination of stress, anxiety, frustration, and in some cases, even anger. These emotions are exhausting under the best of circumstances but throw in the high levels of “emotional labor,” “mirror anxiety,” and “hyper gaze,” so prevalent in video conference calls, and these meetings seriously take their toll, as noted in the recent New York Times article, “Zoom Burnout is Real, and It’s Worse for Women.”

Some women have become reticent to contribute or fail to speak up for what they know needs to be said as it just seems easier to stay silent. And these are only two of the possible outcomes of this issue—there are many more.

 

HOW TO COMBAT ZOOM FATIGUE

The truth of the matter is video calls are not going away any time soon. According to the aforementioned New York Times article, companies are trying to find ways to combat the issue of Zoom fatigue, however as I see it, while some of the triggers may diminish somewhat, we are still going to be experiencing the same emotions—perhaps just a bit less frequently. Over time, we may find ourselves less and less engaged which narrows our window of opportunity to make the impact we need to make to ensure our success—and the cycle continues while our careers stagnate.

My solution? Be proactive. Take control over what you can take control of, a good part of which is simply bringing your appearance to a place that brings you confidence.

If you’ve been following me for any period of time, you’ll be familiar with the concept that women’s self-esteem and self-confidence are inexorably tied to how we feel about how we look. That is not only a researched and validated fact, but one that my experience as a stylist has led me to observe time and time again. This isn’t about vanity, but rather about how we are hardwired.

 

THE ROLE CONFIDENCE PLAYS

When it comes right down to it, confidence is your greatest ally in life, and certainly very much so in the workplace. At Be Iconic Style, we live by the following credo: When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you have confidence. When you have confidence, you can do anything!

Studies show that those who feel more in control of their lives are happiest. Happiness raises your energy and draws better experiences and opportunities to you. Confidence is part of that “happiness factor,” and it begins to emerge when you decide to invest in yourself and put your best foot forward in terms of your hair, your makeup, your wardrobe, etc. When you take control and take the time to create a look you love, your confidence soars and that shines through without your even having to try. This extends to how you present in video calls.

When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you have confidence. When you have confidence, you can do anything!

When you do this, you’re addressing something that many women are not sure how to deal with. As a result, they ignore it and move on—often to their detriment—and in particular when they see themselves “mirrored” on-screen and are not pleased with what they see. This leaves them feeling less-than-confident, and that lack of confidence may cause hesitation to speak up and result in the very real situation of becoming “invisible” to those who could ensure their success.

 

WHAT’S NEXT

So, show up and dress the part—if only from the waist up. Put together some power-driving looks that your boss, clients, colleagues, and peers will recognize. None of us is immune to the impact of power dressing. Do your hair, makeup, and accessories in a lovely, understated, professional manner. Use the tips and tricks we have shared in past blog posts and videos (listed below) to help you look your very best in terms of lighting and makeup and use your all-black power “uniform” to create the confident and powerful presence that will support all your successful endeavors.

 

Need some assistance with confidence building or boosting for your next video conference call?

Check out the following posts that will provide you with just what you need!

And when you head back to the office, you’ll want to make sure to check out these posts as well:

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