Body language is just as important in a video conference as it is during an in-person conversation. Body language can help us communicate where words fail, convey complex emotions, and understand one another better. Have you ever looked in someone’s eyes and knew exactly what they were thinking, or knew how a loved one felt by watching how they moved? This is body language, and it’s a crucial part of overall communication in humans and animals alike.
With many companies moving to remote work until the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, video conferencing is becoming something of a norm in the modern workplace. Let’s take a look at these seven body language tips for video conferencing.
1. Look At The Camera, Not Your Screen
As tempting as it may be to focus on your personal image on the computer screen, you need to maintain eye contact by looking directly into your camera. This lets people know you’re paying attention and care about what they have to say.
Eye contact is everything when you’re speaking to a group or individual. It’s more professional and personal, and while it’s a little harder to keep eye contact over a screen, you can master it with some practice.
2. Calm Nerves Beforehand
Anxiety can be the bane of any productive video call. We all get some level of anxiety and stress when we’re speaking to someone new. Sometimes, it shows outright, and other times, it’s internalized. If you’re feeling nervous or anxious before your video meeting, it’s important to work on calming those nerves before you join the conference.
Try walking around to get your blood flowing. Take deep breaths, reassure yourself that everything will be alright, or chew on gum or mints. These tips will help you calm your nerves before the video call and regain your composure. You don’t want to freeze up in the middle of your point!
3. Don’t Roll Your Eyes Or Use Other Negative Body Language
We use video conferencing for everything from sales pitches to personal conversations to interviews. Everything you do in front of the camera is going to be seen by the person on the other end of the connection, so it’s important to mind your body language and avoid subconsciously using negative body language.
If you disagree with something, your subconscious instinct might be to shake your head, roll your eyes, or otherwise display disagreement via your body. Discipline yourself and be mindful of your language—don’t be negative or insulting. It’s perfectly ok to disagree with a person, but when you’re being nasty, whether subconsciously or consciously, it’s going to affect everyone on the call.
If you disagree with something, wait until the speaker has finished and then ask to relay your opinion. Don’t make a bad habit of interrupting people, either. It’s incredibly rude and doesn’t allow the person to finish what they were saying.
4. Pay Attention To Others’ Body Language
Equally as important as minding your own body language is minding everyone else’s. You’ll want to pay attention to how other people react or use their bodies when they speak. Body language is a powerful part of communication, so pay attention. If you didn’t understand something, ask for them to repeat it. Look them in the eyes and really listen to what they’re saying. This is also a sign of respect.
If you’re not paying attention, you might miss subtle cues or miss an entire point altogether.
5. Use Your Hands
The hands play a major role in body language. You’ve likely told a story before where you used your hands to reinforce emotions in the story. Most of us use our hands in some way when we’re talking, and you can do the same during your video call.
If you’re surprised, sad, mad, confused, or even excited, you can display those emotions with hand gestures.
6. Good Posture
Poor posture is a concern that is sadly not taken seriously. The better your posture is, the more confident you look, the better you’ll speak, and the more attention you’ll command. You’ll also save yourself a myriad of health concerns, from poor digestion to back pain, and more. When you’re on a video call, sit up straight with your shoulders back and your feet flat on the ground.
If you haven’t already, get a good office chair that offers lumbar support. It’s difficult to sit up straight for extended periods of time, but it’s better than the alternative. Back pain is a serious problem in the US.
7. Wear The Same Clothes You’d Wear In-Person
What you wear says so much about you as a person. If you’re hosting a video conference for new clients, your colleagues, or your supervisor, you should be wearing the same thing you’d wear to an in-person conference. Showing up in your pajamas is not a good idea, even if you are comfortably tucked in at home.
Make sure you’re dressing for work, too. Even if you don’t have any video conferences to attend, dressing for work can help maintain good habits while you’re working from home.
It’s foolish to underestimate the power of body language, especially when it accounts for so much of our communication. Even over a video conference, you must mind your body language and that of the other callers. We hope these tips give you a better idea of why body language is so important in conference calls!