Answer This Question in the First 30 Secs of a Video Call to Instantly Capture Everyone's Attention

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k

Zoom fatigue: we’ve all experienced it. No matter how much we try to fight it, we’re exhausted by the sheer volume and length of video calls to which we’re being subjected with increasing regularity as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.

Reputable outlets ranging from National Geographic to TED have illuminated the reasons behind Zoom fatigue, a relatively newly articulated phenomenon, citing the emotional strain it takes to appear engaged, a lack of nonverbal cues, the absence of in-person contact, anxiety about others being able to observe our personal space, reduced collaboration and other factors.

“This might come as a shock, but when you're delivering a presentation in a virtual meeting, your viewers are doing something other than giving you their full attention,” keynote speaker and author Carmine Gallo writes in Inc. Because of Zoom fatigue and other distractions, she suggests starting any and every video meeting by answering the question everyone is silently asking: Why should I care?

Ultimately, Gallo says, people care about themselves — far more than they care about your amazing thoughts and ideas. They’re thinking about their own goals and achievements. According to Gallo, people’s main priorities generally boil down to making money, saving money, gaining status, fame, power or recognition, and achieving purpose.

That’s why you need to start every type of video call, whether it’s a team meeting or a presentation, with an explanation of what they’ll gain from listening to you talk. And you should get to the point quickly, within the first 30 seconds. 

Be as specific as possible. “Today, I’ll tell you about our long-term goals for institutional success and how your individual contributions will impact our larger mission” isn’t going to engage your audience. But if you say, “Today, I’m going to tell you exactly what you can do to get promoted this year”? Now, they’re paying attention. 

So, the next time you gear up your Powerpoint for your weekly team Zoom call, take a step back and think about how you can get your team interested in what you’re telling them. Then, summarize it succinctly, and articulate it with in the first 30 seconds of the meeting. You’ll capture their attention, demonstrate how the session impacts them and make yourself more invaluable — to both your colleagues and the entire company — in the process.