Converting video-off cultures to video-on cultures

behaviours change leadership change management creativity culture engagement ways of working Jun 14, 2022
Lata in purple jumper making victory sign, text: converting to a video-on culture

Something I get asked all the time by my clients and students is how to deal with teams working virtually where most, if not all, people have their videos off.


It makes it hard to gauge focus, understand if things are landing, encourage participation, and build connection and rapport.



What’s driving videos off?



I have to feel for a lot of people.


I’m lucky to be very photogenic and somewhat of an attention-seeker so I’ve always loved the spotlight and feel pretty comfortable rocking up on video - especially because I carry my weight from my tummy down and video meetings are usually from the shoulders up hahaha.


But I grew up with a brother who refused to smile for photos, have a partner who is camera-shy, and have clients who don’t feel comfortable having their profile pictures splashed over social.


Selfie culture has done wonders for visibility but these are often posed, filtered, enhanced and curated, and it’s impossible to be that poised for an hour-long meeting where you’re trying to figure out what a [insert technical jargon] is and whether or not you even needed to be on this meeting.



So here's some ideas for **softly, softly** encouraging a video-on culture:


Set standards up front

If you expect to have a video-on meeting or workshop, let people know in the meeting invite and potentially tell each attendee individually that you’re expecting that. Don’t forget to explain why - to get the best outcomes from people’s time. It means people aren’t blind-sided and can prepare for it with make up, a clean space, or their lunch already eaten!



Be the example

If you want people to always have their video, you need to be that change you want to see and always have YOURS on, whether it’s your meeting or not. Energy and congruency go a long way in influencing, and you have to give what you want to get.



Avoid lunchtime, early mornings and school pickup times

Admittedly, this is most of the day… but if you can aim your meetings from 10am-12pm, 1pm-2pm and 4pm-5pm, your chances of getting people in environments where they CAN turn their cameras on increases. It also forces you to…



Prioritise what meetings need to happen

Meeting overload was a thing before COVID, and virtual has made it worse. Reducing meetings and using asynchronous tools like the comment, tag and track changes feature in cloud-based work platforms, or automated workflows, is a great way to reduce the meetings scheduled to the most critical. 



Identify red socks 

You might have some people who are notorious for never having their camera on and it might need a difficult conversation from their leader to pull them into line. I loved the analogy “one red sock can turn the whole wash of whites pink” and the same for video habits… nip those lurkers in the bud with agreed team social agreements.



Plan some meetings to be audio-only

Pick up the phone! For a while during COVID I really needed to rest my increasingly-myopic eyes and so I asked my Executive Coaching clients if we could do phone sessions instead of video and most jumped at the chance! It’s just as effective, less tiring and frees both parties up for note-taking and tea-sipping. Or do a walking meeting or a phone call so you can save the face-to-face video time for the critical meets.



Discover more ways to drive exciting and engaging experiences with virtual and hybrid teams on my free "How to Lead Your Virtual Team through Change" webinar. Register your free spot below:



CLICK HERE to register for your free spot on my "Leading Virtual Teams" webinar



Lata xx

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