Is “shadowy” a word that conveys trust? Do you think, when you get on your seventh videoconference of the day, “That guy, who looks like he’s doing a TV interview from witness protection – that guy, who barely emerges from the shadows – that’s the guy I want to listen to!”?
No. You do not. You can’t help it. This is how our brains work. We need to see each other’s faces – especially each other’s eyes – to build connections, to build trust.
In a 2019 BBC Future piece on eye contact Christian Jarrett wrote: “ . . . research also shows that eye contact shapes our perception of the other person who meets our gaze. For instance, we generally perceive people who make more eye contact to be more intelligent, more conscientious and sincere (in Western cultures, at least), and we become more inclined to believe what they say.”
We’ll be in hybrid mode for a long time. Maybe forever? How you show up on video still matters. Do it well!
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