Recent research would suggest that turning our cameras off in remote meetings leads to us being less tired and more productive.  These results came after a four week experiment found that individuals felt more free to ‘focus less on the face of others and more on the content of the meeting’.

I have been talking with my clients about this exact topic a lot this month, and reference to this research has been used as an ‘aha, now I can turn my camera off!’ Sounds great, right?


It’s the wrong solution for this particular problem.  Turning our cameras off makes us less influential and less impactful.  Rapport lowers, mis-trust increases and – let’s face it – we all know those with ‘cameras off’ could easily mean that they are doing something else for some/part/all of the time that they’re not visible to us.

Being able to see the impact of our communication on others is an incredibly powerful tool to modifying, adapting and enhancing our influence.

Yes, I agree that we want to be less tired and more productive.  Turning our cameras off is not the way to do it.  

We jump on calls to build relationships, discuss options, solve problems, lead change, galvanise our people, make decisions, agree actions, secure commitments and genuinely make our workloads easier.  Being an influential leader means being a visible leader.  Always remember that trust increases, rapport increases, dialogue increases when we are on camera.

So, instead of turning off our cameras off can I suggest:

1) Shorten all 1 hour meetings to 45 minutes and 30 minute meetings to 25 (with a hard stop).

2) Review your calendars regularly to remove meetings which are unnecessary, low value, repetitive and too long.

3) Use other media to communicate.  Some issues don’t need a meeting at all.

4) Sharpen your influencing skills.  In the absence of being crisp, concise and compelling, take one guess as to what the easiest response is from our audience – who are not convinced by us.  Yep, you’ve guessed it… the answer is… ANOTHER MEETING.  If we are more persuasive, more compelling, more able to reach people, engage people and change people… we don’t need turn our cameras on at all because we don’t need another remote meeting.

Until next time….

Sarah Brummitt FFIPI AICI CIP