8 Body Language Tips for Video Meetings
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When successful, virtual
meetings enable talented peers to work together regardless of location
and organizations to mine the collective wisdom of a widely dispersed
employee population. In order to tap into this potential, enterprises
are increasingly using geographically distributed teams as a key part
of their business strategy.
While there are many forms of
technology – from texts to emails to teleconferences – that enable
virtual interactions, none holds the amazing promise of video. Video
meetings are an information-rich medium, in which our brains process
the continual cascade of nonverbal cues that we use as the basis for
building trust and professional intimacy. One of the keys to success in
a video meeting is body language. Here are eight tips for projecting
confidence, credibility, and your personal brand of charisma:
1. Dress for success.
It takes less than seven seconds
for people to make judgments about your confidence, competence,
professional status, and warmth. While a face-to-face meeting gives you
added opportunities (entering the meeting room, shaking hands, etc.),
your visual presence sets that first impression on the screen. So be
sure your grooming and wardrobe send the right message.
2. Flash a genuine smile.
Natural smile and great eye
Humans produce about 50 distinct
types of smiles but there’s one distinction that really matters: is the
smile real or fake? Genuine enjoyment smiles light up the entire face
and create crows-feet at the corner of the eyes. Most importantly,
smiling directly influences how other people respond to you. When you
smile at someone, they almost always smile in return. And, because
facial expressions trigger corresponding feelings, the smile you get
back actually changes that person’s emotional state in a positive way.
3. Uncross your arms.
Don’t tell me, I already know:
You are more comfortable with your arms crossed. It’s the way you
habitually sit. It even helps you focus your thoughts. All that may be
true, but with nonverbal communication, it’s not how the sender feels
that matters most; it is how the observer perceives how the sender
feels. Although there are cultural differences to take into account,
crossing arms is almost always perceived as a closed sign of
resistance. (And, by the way, since the human brain pays more attention
to negative messages than it does to positive ones, what people
unconsciously look for and react to the most, are signs that you are in
a bad mood or that something is wrong.)
4. Lower your vocal pitch.
In a virtual meeting, the
quality of your voice can be a deciding factor in how you are
perceived. Speakers with higher-pitched voices are judged to be less
empathic, less powerful and more nervous than speakers with lower
pitched voices. One easy technique to do before the meeting is to put
your lips together and say “Um hum, um hum, um hum.” Doing so relaxes
your voice into its optimal pitch.
5. Sit up straight.
Squaring your shoulders and
keeping your head straight — especially when making a statement — makes
your look sure of yourself. When you hunch or round your shoulders or
when you tilt your head, you look more tentative. Hunching minimizes
your physical presence and makes you appear less confident and
competent, and the only time head tilts are perceived as positive cues
are when you are listening to someone else speaking.
6. Maintain positive eye contact.
Eye contact is hugely important
in nonverbal communication, but it is different in a video meeting. In
person, you would look directly at someone’s eyes. In a video meeting,
you maintain eye contact by looking into the camera. So a good idea is
to lower the monitor camera a little so that you don’t have to tilt
your head back to gaze up at it. (And if you use a teleprompter, keep
it at camera-eye level.)
7. Slow down your gestures.
Keeping your movements relaxed,
using open arm gestures, and showing the palms of your hands — the
ultimate “see, I have nothing to hide” gesture — are silent signals of
credibility and candor. Individuals with open gestures are perceived
more positively and are more persuasive than those with closed gestures
(hands hidden or held close to the body). But too much hand movement
tends to look jerky on screen. So practice beforehand and see what
gestures work best for you.
8. Reduce nervous behaviors.
When we’re nervous or stressed,
we all pacify with some form of self-touching, nonverbal behavior: We
rub our hands together, bounce our feet, drum our fingers on the desk,
play with our jewelry, twirl our hair, fidget. When you do any of these
things, you immediately rob your statements of credibility — or you
look like we’re uninterested in the conversation. If you catch yourself
indulging in any of these nervous actions, take a deep breath and
steady yourself by placing your feet firmly on the floor and your hands
palm down in your lap or on your desk.
Since we interpret what people
say to us only partially from the words they use, we get most of the
message (and all of the emotional nuance behind
the words) from vocal tone, pacing, facial expressions and other
nonverbal cues. Body language savvy can be the key to developing
positive business relationships and presenting your ideas with more
impact when you’re in a video meeting.
About the Author
Kinsey Goman, Ph.D.is an international
Keynote speaker on collaborative leadership and the impact of
language in the workplace.
coach to executives to improve their leadership presence and
Leadership blogger for Forbes and author of "The Silent Language of
Leaders: How Body Language Can Help - or Hurt - How You Lead.”
Carol@CarolKinseyGoman.com Authors Google+
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2013-12-16 15:07:55 in Personal Articles