Body language can be difficult in face-to-face conversations. It can be even more difficult to master in virtual settings. While the two settings can seem quite different, many cues do overlap. Fortunately, just like with face-to-face conversations, practice makes perfect and a September 16 article in Associations NOW lays out 5 suggestions for improving your body language in virtual meetings.
- Consider the frame. Think about what people see in your frame. If you normally use a lot of hand gestures, be cognizant of what those look like to others. Can they be seen? You may think that it is helpful to move your hands to the top of your chest. However, this can look more unnatural on camera. Instead move your hands closer to the sides of your face for a more natural look.
- Look at the camera, not at the screen. We are accustomed to looking people in the eyes when we are talking to them. Unfortunately, due to the placement of the camera on our computer relative to the person we are looking at, this almost never happens naturally. Instead, you will need to train yourself to look at your camera, rather than the person you are speaking to.
- Embrace verbal check-ins. Reading an audience can be difficult in person but it’s even harder in a virtual setting. It is important to train yourself to periodically check in with your audience to make sure they are still following.
- Get in touch with your body. If this is an important meeting or presentation, you may feel more nervous than you would in a face-to-face setting. This is completely normal given that you are operating within a relatively new platform. As you work to build your confidence, focus on your breathing. Breathing deeply when nervous can help, along with slow and careful breaths.
- Watch out for bad habits. When we are on camera, our tendency is to speak more quickly and use more filler words. You may also become more aware of bad body-language tendencies you have. The key to erasing these habits is to become consciously aware of them. Name them and commit to breaking them with practice over time. Also, because these habits are often the result of nervous energy, take the time to take deep breaths and slow your breathing down.
As with most things, practice over time is the key to success. Use each opportunity you have in a virtual setting to continually improve your body language and engagement with others.
You can find the original article here.