Even after engaging in a few video calls or virtual hangouts, I admit I am still nervous to speak in front of a webcam. In most cases, especially before a call, I will Google desperately for ways to engage better, but everything falls flat immediately when the conversation begins. Even my usual mantra doesn’t help!
I believe I have some kind of social anxiety that makes me turn down any conversation or interaction via a webcam. Or maybe it’s imposter syndrome, making me hide behind emails.
Camera shyness is a typical thing for most people, especially millennials. One survey found that 73% of millennials still prefer to communicate through email and aren’t comfortable with web conferencing. Many, like me, are struggling with social phobia.
That leads to live videos, virtual communication, and virtual hangouts being immensely underutilized by the millennial workforce.
If you provide writing services, chances are you will need to speak to prospective clients, sources, and other writers through platforms such as Skype, Zoom, and Google Meet.
While each person may have valid reasons to avoid virtual interactions or online interactive events, such connections can offer you additional skill sets that you can draw from in your career and business.
Let’s look at ways virtual interactions and hangouts can help you in your work. From realizing the power of web meetings to fighting writer’s block using virtual technology, modern solutions have a lot to offer to a writer.
Learn to Build or Keep a Community
Covid-19 is making it hard to meet in person, so getting on virtual meeting platforms like Zoom seems a convenient way to engage with family, coaches, and even conduct a sales pitch. For writers, most of our online interactions have been through Zoom write-ins and online writing conferences.
Such interactions help you take a mindful approach to writing, become motivated to get words on paper, and find helpful advice. The feedback provided on live chat about what the writing period was like can help keep you more engaged and look forward to your next writing sessions.
But that’s not all, because with each great writing session, you build a community of writers. You can create such communities on platforms such as Google Hangouts, which are ideal if you offer—or intend to offer—coaching sessions, online critique, or a writing class.
The audience you build are those you can look up to, not just for projects, but also when you are yearning for connection, for referral marketing, and for word-of-mouth marketing. Thus, you can use that community as a virtual network when looking for a new job, a virtual event moderator, or script writer for virtual events.
Nuke Writer’s Block
What do you do when your creativity tank dries up? Most writers will tell you to take a break, edit your work, change your routine, walk outside, take a hiatus, visit places, binge on Netflix, or talk to people.
But getting outside and connecting with people is not for everyone. Some of us are physically challenged and others have their own fears.
Instead of pushing through several hours or days of anxiety and stress on streaming services, I put my home entertainment system to better use by taking a virtual holiday or tour out of town. I interact with Orca pods in the Arctic or the tropics, learning about their different feeding patterns.
Explore the world, whether it is the coral reef of Australia or a safari in Africa, from various tourism boards and museums with tour content available online. These tours not only provide the break you might need, but also a good way of finding story ideas for a writing project.
You can even go a notch higher and take the free virtual reality experience on Google Expedition and Street View. If you are struggling with your writing idea, maybe some background knowledge can help, especially if the event took place decades ago.
Virtual reality can help you develop sufficient background knowledge on a topic. Simulations and video experiences can take you back to earlier times, allowing you to present your ideas more vividly, writing what you see.
Get Access to Better Connections and Stay Organized
Each person has a role model in their career or a place where we would like to live or work. Maybe because that place has more opportunities than where we are right now.
For example, if you live in a city where you lack professional connections to help you get ahead in your career, you would want to move to your ideal city where you could find work. But the fears of not experiencing life in your ideal city can hold you back from relocating. Talking to a role model in a city you want to relocate to can help you overcome those negative thoughts and feelings.
Virtual hangouts such as online conferences, book and film clubs, and Airbnb Experiences help create those networks and build relationships with role models and professionals from a different city or your ideal city, needing no hotel, car, or rental expenses. Such interactions with a role model can give you an overview of what to expect before moving to another city to start a career.
In addition, it helps reduce business card clutter or loss of contacts when you want to catch up with new connections after a conference. Virtual conference programs like Whova automatically connect your contacts and email to other attendees, enabling you to view the full attendees list and filter it in various ways to start engaging or chatting with your favorite connections.
This way, not only do you forge long-term connections—even if they may not seem useful right away—but you also stay organized.
Learn New Ways of Work
Writers have always had to get used to a world of self-isolation, but as novel ways of interacting expanded, they had to adjust and show they could do so in an uncertain situation.
In-house writers, editors, and content creators who moved to remote working are already showing how they are managing remote relationships in a time of trouble.
Conference calls rely so much on visual aids. Learn how to use slideshows and whiteboards to gain an interest in conference calls. To take things a notch higher, this is the best time to tell hirers how you are using virtual reality (VR) to find topic ideas, design book covers, or make your stories more efficient.
Get Better at Communicating Professionally
Another reason for disliking video communication is the thought of how messy my sanctuary looks on camera. Even with all the virtual backgrounds I can use, I still get disturbed by the surroundings.
However, there is a personal touch and feeling that comes with video communication that email cannot provide. Information easily comes out when you talk, and video provides that medium for talking! It also helps to build trust, as you can see the other person.
If you want to improve the way you communicate and interact, get out of the 73% of people who are still hesitant to use video for communication. You can kill your nervousness by rehearsing some of your responses or doing a mock test with a family member.
The practice may not seem useful right away, but as more companies rely on conference calls and demand projects be presented online, such soft skills—like demonstrating cooperation and building social rapport to increase performance and enhance trust—ensure we chat less through a myriad of voicemails and emails, using instead productive talking.
Besides, integrating VR technology in your writing work enriches your information literacy skills. The enchanting experience and immersive nature of virtual reality helps to improve the quality of your language, as you will be able to see every experience in the virtual environment and retain information so that you do not struggle with what to write.
Use the Lockdown to Familiarize Yourself With Virtual Technology
Building a writing career today requires tenacity. And that includes embracing virtual interactions, even if they make you feel awkward. Virtual events are proving to be popular if there are quality conversations and realistic objectives.
Now that many of you are adjusting to remote work and are bound to work from home at least for the immediate future, it is the best opportunity to familiarize yourselves with virtual technology to fight writer’s block, learn new ways of working, and build incredible relationships that can help you in our writing journey.