Perhaps the most relevant topic right now is body language using digital technologies such as video calls, phone calls and even the tone used in your emails and IM’s.
As we are in the midst of a pandemic life has had to drastically change quickly and innovatively. The use of zoom has skyrocketed for almost every business and social circle in the entire world over the last twelve months.
I observed a zoom meeting last week where half the team were not present on camera, and the call leader had positioned his camera so it cut off half of his face and you could only see his eyes and nose.
Can we force our team to join using video? No. But we can encourage them. We can encourage by discussing the importance of their physical presence (noted virtually) to the team engagement, their own representation of commitment and also the impact it has to the person leading the call.
Entering a zoom call to an almost blacked out screen can really impact the call leader. It can make them feel demotivated and as if their meeting is unimportant or going unheard. It is harder for them to engage the team as they are unable to read peoples facial expressions in order to better understand what they are thinking.
This is exactly what happened during my observation. The call leader felt as if he was talking to absolutely no one. It made his voice monotoned, which as we know, instantly puts people to sleep. It made him slouch forward on camera to the point where we could only see his eyes and nose, and it felt like he wanted the call to be over quickly.
The overall impact made the call completely ineffective, not one person felt obliged to engage, and the message went unheard.
This demonstrates just how important body language is on video as it is in person!
Here are a few ways you can enhance your body language when delivering or joining a video call:
• Dress the way you would in a physical version of this meeting
• Sit back far enough for colleagues to see your gestures
• Make eye contact by looking directly into the camera
• Sit up straight to project energy
• Use facial expressions to send non-verbal cues
With more and more teams switching to remote work and video conferencing becoming easier than ever to use, video calls are only going to become more popular. Enhance your skills now so that you do not fall behind.
Written by Sahar Habib
Founder of Coach Wilson