A small study raises questions about whether videoconferencing distorts interactions in a subtle but important way.
The study found that doctors and nurses who attended seminars via videoconference were more likely to be influenced by the charisma of the presenter.
In contrast, people who were face-to-face with the presenter were more likely to base their judgment of the presentation on the arguments that were used, the researchers said.
I’ve never been a big fan of videoconferences, but this is the first time I’ve even seen this argument proposed, let alone empirically validated. Personally, I’m more likely to tune out of a remote presentation than to be mesmerized by it. But perhaps that isn’t so different: remote presenters bear a much stronger burden of keeping the audience’s attention, which places a higher premium on charisma than in face-to-face meetings where the audience is more captive.
In any case, it’s a reminder that the way we consume information often matters as much as the information itself.