Sorry Mr Sinek – sometimes we just need a quick fix - 4 tips on how to survive in a virtual world

performance Mar 10, 2021

The ability to research used to be limited to the few, now it sits at the end of our fingers.  The virus has made researchers of us all.  Why does it do what it does? Why do we have to distance, wear masks, get vaccinated?  We can all have opinions, we all have access to the facts, generally to a multitude of versions of the facts.  We can all construct our own “why” about how we should respond to the pandemic.  But sometimes this seems a very heavy burden.  Sometimes we just need a quick fix. We need something that works, never mind the why, give us the how.

For a wonderful quick fix on how to keep your sanity in a virtual world, I am indebted to Professor Jeremy Bailenson, who has researched Zoom fatigue from a psychological perspective.  In a peer reviewed article, he has identified four consequences of prolonged video meetings. That’s all very good but more importantly in he has told us what to do about it.

Welcome the 4 quick fixes for Zoom fatigue:

Problem: Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact is highly intense.

Solution Take Zoom out of the full-screen option and reduce the size of the Zoom window relative to the monitor to minimize face size. Use an external keyboard to allow an increase in the personal space bubble between oneself and the grid. 

Problem: Seeing yourself during video chats constantly in real-time is fatiguing.

Solution: Users should use the “hide self-view” button, which one can access by right-clicking their own photo, once they see their face is framed properly in the video.

Problem: Video chats dramatically reduce our usual mobility.

Solution: Think more about the room you are videoconferencing in, where the camera is positioned and whether things like an external keyboard can help create distance.  For example, an external camera farther away from the screen will allow you to pace and doodle in virtual meetings just like we do in real ones. And of course, turning one’s video off periodically during meetings is a good ground rule to set for groups, just to give oneself a brief nonverbal rest.

Problem:  The cognitive load is much higher in video chats.

Solution: During long stretches of meetings, give yourself an “audio only” break. This is not simply you turning off your camera to take a break from having to be nonverbally active, but also turning your body away from the screen

Share these tips with your colleagues at the beginning of meetings and make sure that everyone uses them.

Pat Chapman-Pincher 

Pat has spent most of her career founding and growing leading edge technology companies all around the world.   Pat believes that thoughtful and inspiring leadership is critical to the future growth of the world economy and now uses her skills and experience to help leaders and teams at all levels reach their full potential and to help companies succeed in a world where technology is transforming the way we do business. 

Pat is a Founder of