Video conferencing is changing the way that we communicate. This useful tool helps build relationships faster and make meetings more engaging. But it can also bring some new challenges that need to be anticipated and overcome.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania claim that just 7% of our interlocutor’s impression depends on the verbal component of our message. The remaining 93% consists of body language (e.g. movements, postures, tone of voice).
Misinterpreted eye contact frequency and intensity, facial expressions, and misleading body posture can result in confusion and mistrust. If you want to maximize the effectiveness of this communication channel, you should align your body language with the intended message.
These useful tips can help make your video conference more successful:
In order to bring your video conference to success, control your facial expressions to avoid conveying unintended messages:
– avoid aggressive facial cues, such as frowning, sneering, staring/blank stares or yawning;
– a moderate smile with slightly raised eyebrows will help you seem less aggressive and more susceptible to receiving a message;
– beware of being too exaggerated with any facial expression and strive to a balance;
– while smiling can come across as positive, smiling too much can be interpreted as insincere and condescending;
– when confusion or dislike arises, do your best to be diplomatic and maintain a neutral facial expression.
When conducting a video conference, pay attention to what message the rest of your body language is conveying to your interlocutor. There are plenty of ways to improve your body language:
– mirror the body language of your viewer, it will put them more relaxed;
– lean your shoulders slightly toward the camera, you will appear more attentive;
– sit up taller in your chair, as it appears better on camera, makes you look more impressive, and helps to project your voice within your meeting;
– put your hands in front of your stomach or on the desk in front of you with the fingertips touching or interlocked, as it makes you appear more confident;
– DON’T stiff upper body, as it makes you seem untruthful and causes distrust in the viewer;
– DON’T cross your arms across your chest, as it creates the impression that you are defensive, tired, cold, or uncomfortable.
Your eyes are one of the leading contributors to positive communication or, alternatively, miscommunication.
Begin the video conference with the perfect amount of eye contact. It should be neither too little nor too much. According to Forbes, business people around the world expect you to make eye contact 50-60% of the time.
If there’s too little eye contact, it can potentially convey little interest in what you are hearing, poor listener skills, or lack of self-confidence.
If there’s too much eye contact, it can actually put off your meeting attendee, especially if you rarely blink. Don’t blink too much, either.
Excessive blinking could convey that you’re uncomfortable with the conversation. Done right, eye contact can express confidence, interest, and active listening skills.
Through consistent eye contact, genuine facial expressions, and good posture, you will surely ace your next video conference.