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Sellers Beware! Misleading Advice on Zoom Fatigue

Stanford University recently published an interesting study on the causes of ‘Zoom Fatigue.’


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Julie Hansen

3 years ago | 2 min read

Stanford University recently published an interesting study on the causes of ‘Zoom Fatigue.’ Researchers identified four main causes, one being:

*Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact is highly intense

While I don’t disagree with the study’s overall conclusion, I do disagree with the advice springing up around it suggesting people should REDUCE their level of eye contact on video calls. This is hugely misleading advice, especially for salespeople. Here’s why:

  1. Eye contact is a key ingredient in building relationships. In a virtual world, eye contact takes on even greater importance as other means of connecting with our customers are unavailable to us.
    Selling on Video
  2. Perceived attention is tied to your eye contact. Where our eyes go, our attention goes. Unlike in a live setting, your customer can’t tell where your attention is directed on a video call. All they know is that you are not looking at them, which reads as inattentive or distracted.
    Selling on Video
  3. People dramatically over-estimate how much eye contact they are actually making on video calls. It is next to impossible to judge how much eye contact you are making with your audience without a) receiving feedback from an objective observer, or b) watching a recording of yourself and focusing on your eye contact. After using one of these more accurate measurements, most salespeople I’ve worked with are flabbergasted at how little quality eye contact they are actually making with their audience.
    Selling on Video
  4. The majority of the time people have their eyes focused on the customer’s image. So while you may feel like you’re really making a connection, this does not register as eye contact to your customer. It’s a very easy habit to fall into because we are naturally drawn to the human face. That’s why it’s important to learn the techniques and tactics that make it easier to look at the camera and take in your customer’s body language as well.
    Selling on Video
  5. If your eye contact is too “intense” – you are doing it wrong! There is nothing natural about making eye contact on video. This is why many people adopt an intense, laser-focus on the camera that feels less like a friendly connection than a demanding interrogation to the customer. Learning to soften your gaze and expand to take in their images is vital for your success in a virtual world.

Eye contact is a key ingredient in building relationships. In a virtual world, eye contact takes on even greater importance as other means of connecting with our customers are unavailable to us.

My Recommendations:

  1. Don’t let up on eye contact.
  2. Allow your customers to manage the amount of eye contact they take in.
  3. Limit your eye contact on low-stakes calls.
  4. And learn how to make natural, inviting eye contact, as we teach in our Selling On Video Master Class and Workshops.

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Created by

Julie Hansen

Julie Hansen is a video and sales expert, and the author of Look Me in the Eye: Using Video to Build Relationships with Customers, Partners and Teams. She is the creator of the Selling On-Video Master Class based on her work on over 50 commercials, films, and television shows, including HBO’s Sex & The City.


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