Gaetan: reports that natural nonverbal cues - gestures and body language - are difficult to interpret during video calls

By Joe Gaetan

December 16th, 2023



Joe Gaetan

As I see it, there are two great advantages to zoom meetings. One, you do not have to leave your home. Two, you can avoid the hassle of driving, commuting and parking, and the time taken to and fro, from home to work. The “piece de resistance” to zooming is you can attend in your jammies or take a bathroom break while not missing a thing. Hopefully doing so with both the mic muted and the camera turned off.

However according to a peer reviewed study conducted by Stanford University, zooming for hours- on-end comes with zoom fatigue and psychological consequences. Following are the four causes of zoom fatigue:

1 Excessive Eye Contact. Zoomers experience an unnatural amount of eye contact during zoom meetings as “everyone is looking at everyone all the time”. This is in contrast to traditional meetings where there are different things to focus upon.

2 Constantly Seeing Yourself. While some people may enjoy looking at themselves in the mirror, the study points out that, “it is unnatural to see yourself at all times when speaking to another person”.

3 Reduction Of Mobility. Unless you’re sitting on a treadmill while zooming, zoom calls “unnaturally reduce people’s mobility by forcing them to stay within a certain field of view”. But not, if you zoom-attend with your cell phone. Cell zooming allows you to take a walkabout, or nature break. Hopefully Fido or Felix is not annoyed by you invading their space.

4 Higher Cognitive Load. According to the study, people should be concerned about this as, “natural nonverbal cues such as gestures and body language are difficult to interpret during video calls which means the brain has to work harder to send and receive signals.

Council as the adjourn for the last meeting of 2023 – all by Zoom

Is there a case for zoom calls, YES. Should they be used all the time, NO. Is zooming abused by some organizations or attendees, PROBABLY.

What about elected people, should they zoom, WITHIN REASON, and if they ask you if they can “zoom meet you” when campaigning for your vote.

Source: Search Engine Journal, Matt G Southern Feb 27,2021,

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7 comments to Gaetan: reports that natural nonverbal cues – gestures and body language – are difficult to interpret during video calls

  • Earl

    Interesting piece, Joe. Does this mean you will be a ‘feature’ reporter for the Gazette?

    Editor’s note: The Gazette has a unique category to define reporters; we call them Putz’s. Joe was the first to be given that title.

  • David

    As a business man, I always used to force face to face meetings (the drop in) it’s quicker in the long run and you get more favourable outcomes.

  • Joe Gaetan

    Pepper thanks for the pics. Just for fun I thought I would try to interpret the real-time Cognitive Load. ….Earth to council…might as well answer a few txts…. will this session ever end… good time to listen to some Mick…. lots of time to write one more Christmas card….I am so tired….2:06 come on already….is that me I am looking at?

  • Gary Scobie

    Good piece Joe. I’m really no fan of zoom meetings for public officials who should be willing to meet personally with their citizens in official meetings. But it is clearly not their intention as they’ve become used to dodging the people they supposedly represent.

    And they just had the complete redo of the main floor of City Hall to admire on their official visits and sometime soon a redone Civic Square to enjoy too each time they choose to come to work. But I’ve stopped holding my breath on doctor’s orders.

    • Joe Gaetan

      Gary: Very odd they do not seem to use ZOOM during the election cycle or to attend targted outings and photo opps. Maybe I am becoming too cynical. But yes, I did not vote for a fulltime zoomer.

  • Joe Gaetan

    Oops minor edit on Mobility, I meant to say while on a stationary bike that charges your cell phone. Saw one at the airport in Costa Rica.

  • Anneand Dave Marsden

    Oh no hope they do not intend to hold our meetings to resolve complaints by zoom prior to Ombudsman involvement. We have waited over a year for these meetings to take place as Kevin Arjoon advised almost if not a year ago that they had no appetite to meet with us to resolve our substantial legislation non-compliance complaints which we know are not just coming from us.