Video conferencing; did you mean to ‘say’ that?
Video conferencing has become part of our ‘new world’. It allows us to regularly meet up with our team, discuss ideas and share thoughts as we would in the traditional work environment. Yes, it also allows us a little freedom with wearing slippers under the desk (which is great for lockdown!).
We all know that 90% of communication is non-verbal, research suggests that it is as high as 93%; broken down into the 3 different areas as 55% being body language, 38% is the tone of the voice and only 7% for the actual words spoken. Our brains listen and we see, therefore it’s important to understand what your body language might be ‘saying’ during video conferencing.
We’ve got some top tips to help you stay confident and comfortable so that when you return to the office, your team is still strong.
It may sound basic, but what you wear impacts your presenance within the video call, before you have even said a word. Your attire should represent the type of meeting you are attending and the expectations.
Sit up straight
Yes, it is something we’ve been told since we were kids, but it is more important than you might think. You are usually only visible from your waist up, but what your feet do is important. Don’t jiggle! It can make it distracting for others. Keep your feet flat on the floor as this helps you sit up straight and when you do, you will be heard clearly as your voice is projected confidently. If you lean back in your chair, others might think that you are distracted or disconnected with the meeting… or with what they are saying.
You would smile when you meet someone in person, it’s the same in a meeting via a video call. It is a warm and confident start; it is also thought that meetings run more smoothly when people smile occasionally. It’s all about finding the right balance– you don’t want to smile too much (people might wonder what you are really thinking) but if you don’t smile at all – they may think you are not listening to them. The best option is to mirror the person you are having the meeting with – just like you would in a traditional face to face meeting. Also when you smile while you talk; your tone is automatically more positive and natural. Don’t believe me? Try it?
Again, think about what you would usually do with your hand gestures while in a face to face conversation. If you like to use your hands to gesture while talking, that is something you should continue to do (although maybe minimise the actions so that they do not seem so dramatic on a small screen!). Keep them relaxed and visible on the table if you don’t know what to do with them. Don’t shuffle papers or click your pen as this can be construed as a distraction and please do not cross your arms as you may appear unapproachable and bored.
Phew – this is the last one and probably the most important. As your face is on screen, some of your ‘habits’ may be more noticeable. Do you often chew on your lip? Do you unconsciously fiddle with your hair or rub your eyes? Now is the time to break those habits and to be more aware of how others ‘see’ you. Those little things on camera can make you appear insecure or even uninterested! Some good habits for video calls are to hold your head up high, nod occasionally to show you are listening and keep your mouth closed…. No snacks, no one likes the sounds of eating or watching someone eat if you are on mute.
Here’s hoping that this little list will enable you to be more aware of what you ‘say’ during video calls with your verbal and non-verbal communication. It may even keep you and your team engaged and motivated for the next meeting.