Video Chatting: Tips for Ease of Communication
Video chatting has become an important tool in helping us stay connected to family, friends and work-colleagues while observing stay-at-home regulations. Here, we present some tips for communicating effectively when using this popular medium.
Today we are spoilt for choice when it comes to communicating with others who are physically remote. We may use Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, Whatsapp, Houseparty and others too numerous to mention.
Although so convenient, video chatting can pose various challenges both for people with normal hearing, and those with hearing loss. Bearing this in mind, let us look at some practical ways of facilitating easy and effective communication while video chatting.
Video chatting tips for everyone
- At times you may find the image or audio freezing, lagging or going out of sync, making it difficult to carry on an intelligible conversation. If this happens, it may be due to a slow internet connection, so avoid uploading or downloading material while you are video chatting. Ensure the internet connection is dedicated to your conversation alone. Accommodate any lag by giving the sound time to catch up, and the person time to answer without interruption.
- Both facial expression and body language are important parts of communication. With video chat, ensure you are at a suitable distance so your face can be seen clearly and that you have the camera at eye-level, with you facing the camera. Also check that the lighting in the room allows your face to be well lit.
- Eliminate or reduce background noise to a minimum – turn off the TV/radio, shut the windows, put pets into a different room. Reduce visual clutter too; aim for a simple visual background, not one that is overly busy.
- Be more mindful of turn-taking conventions. When chatting remotely to one other person or to a group, lessening the number of interruptions will assist in maintaining the conversational flow.
- If you tend to have a quiet speaking voice, raise your volume so your communication partner(s) can hear you without having to strain.
Video chatting tips when hearing loss is present
- In group interaction, ensure the hard-of-hearing person is aware when there is a change in topic and/or speaker.
- Avoid looking down or turning away.
If you are hard-of-hearing:
- Hearing loss is invisible. You may choose to remind your communication partner you have a hearing loss – I can’t hear as fast as you can talk!
- Ask the speaker to keep their hands away from their face and speak a little more slowly.
- It may be helpful to remind the speaker to state the topic up front.
- It’s an effective strategy to interrupt the conversation as soon as you’ve not understood, and ask the speaker to repeat or rephrase what’s been said.
Whether we communicate face-to-face or via video chat, it’s deeply gratifying to feel we have furthered meaningful connections, be they with social or work ones. To this end, we trust this information has been helpful.
Please feel free to contact us on 1300 761 667 for assistance with any of your hearing and communication needs.