Are you socially awkward? Does your anxiety skyrocket when you have to make video or voice calls? If so, this is a guide on how to avoid being socially awkward in those situations.
During this pandemic, platforms such as Zoom are on the rise because they offer video and voice call services, both of which are incredibly important. But some people may find that they are incredibly awkward in 'normal' situations and epically awkward on voice and video calls. Do not fret if you're one of those people; there are many people like you. These are some ways that you can tone down your awkwardness and push through your social anxiety in order to talk to people on video conferences or zoom calls.
Understand How Important The Video/Voice Call Is – But Don't Freak Out
It's easy to tell someone to not freak out, but how easy is it to stop freaking out? It's not very easy; I understand. However, have you noticed that we sometimes put more effort into trying if we understand how important something is to us, or to those we care about?
So, if you plan on closing a deal through a video call, you need to understand how important the deal is to you or your company. Now, this is not to say that you don't try, or do your best. This is simply to show that you might fare better when you take active steps like this.
Don't Disregard It; Accept It
It is highly unlikely that simply ignoring your social anxiety is going to make it go away. You have to actively work on yourself. You need to accept and understand that you struggle with human connection and social cues. Accepting your awkwardness does not mean you don't want to overcome it; it means you agree that you are an awkward person who gets into awkward situations.
A sure way to feel even more awkward and anxious during video/voice calls is by pretending to be someone you're not. That is the worst thing to do. You will spend your time thinking of how to behave, what to say, and how to carry on with the fake persona you've invented for yourself. Rather than doing that, why don't you practice ahead of time? Practice the points you're going to make; the ways in which you will pitch your idea to the client. This is you being yourself. You're not discarding who you are, you're simply preparing yourself for the call. Preparation is key.
As cliché as this looks, breathing exercises have been proven to help with anxiety. If you find that your anxiety is through the roof before a video call, to the extent where you fear you may have a panic attack, breathing exercises are a good way to calm yourself and stop feeling anxious. However, if you have a panic attack, or are close to having one, you should see a professional such as a doctor you trust.
Practice Your Social Skills On Friends And Family
It's arguably much easier to communicate with people you know and trust, than with clients, colleagues, or bosses. You can practice having video/voice calls with those people you trust in order to get more comfortable with work-related calls. You may argue that practice doesn't help, but wouldn't it be better if you had good experiences to attach to the use of video/voice calls? Sure, you may still be somewhat awkward on those work-related calls but you will be more relaxed.
Remember That People Are Not Judging You
Unless the point of the voice/video call was to judge your social skills, the people on the other end of the line will not be focused on how awkward you are. Most times, they will be focused on what you have to offer; your contribution to the meeting. Sure, your anxiety may tell you that people are judging you but all you have to do is focus on the meeting.
Focus On The Point Of The Video/Voice Call
When you are determined and you set goals for the meeting, you are less likely to feel awkward. In that particular social situation, your goal is to achieve what you came for and be done with it. Be it a job interview, or a virtual office meeting. At that moment, your priority is passing across whatever information is needed.
Use Body Language
Body language is important in day-to-day life. You do not want to come across as defensive or bored on video/voice calls. That is a recipe for disaster. What you want is to let people know that you are open to their ideas and suggestions and that you are fully interested in what goes on in the meeting. You want to look into their eyes while you talk; that shows that you're interested in what they are saying. However, prolonged eye contact may be interpreted as a threat.
What's next is for you to apply this guide to your life. There are people who have overcome their awkwardness and become socially skilled, i.e. skilled in social interaction. You can do that if you set your mind to it. Just practice your breathing exercises, maintain eye contact, make hand gestures, and accept that you're a socially awkward person who will master video/voice calls. You can do it! it's not as easy as ABC but, you can do it.