As time goes on, people from all over the world become ever more connected in both the casual and business spheres. Because of this, video conferencing, made possible only recently by rapidly advancing wireless technologies, is used more and more often.
Since the visual nature of video conferencing magnifies your body language, it is important for all those who want to use the revolutionary technology to become familiar with how to use their bodies to help convey the intended message – and what to refrain from doing to keep from inadvertently sending a message they don’t want to convey.
To help you with that, the following list touches upon ten of the most useful body language tips to keep in mind when video conferencing.
1. Crossing Your Arms=Blocking – Crossing your arms or placing any other type of physical barrier between yourself and the viewpoint (in this case, the camera) of your conversational partner creates the illusion that you are not open to what is being said.
This is easy one to remember, because you can think that closed body=closed mind. Also, according to a study carried out by Allan and Barbara Pease, a person actually remembers 38 percent more of what they hear when their arms are uncrossed due to the psychological effects of crossing your arms.
2. Do Not Stare – It is important to make eye contact in order to show interest with what the speaker is saying. This can be difficult when you are communicating visually through a camera, so try to look at the camera, rather than your screen, most of the time. You do not want the speaker to feel you are staring, however, so you should let your eyes drift back to your screen from time to time.
3. Take Up Space – Whether people realize it or not, they read more confidence in someone who takes up more space. It is a primal instinct that you can use to your advantage by wearing spacious clothing, positioning your camera so you take up more of the shot, and otherwise making yourself big in as many ways as possible.
4. Tension Symbols Aggression – Another read people make, usually without knowing it, is that tension in the body equals aggression. This is because tension can mean you are ready to fight.
Relax the parts of the body visible to the video conference participants in order to come off as amiable.
5. Stiffen Only Your Back – The back is the one exception to the last point. Tensing and straightening your back does not symbolize aggression but confidence.
6. Lean In Slightly – It may feel natural to sit back in your chair, but it conveys that you are not interested in what is being said. Don’t lean in to a degree that looks intentional, as you do not want to come off as falsely attentive, but a slight lean forward will be greatly appreciated and will actually help the speaker to give a better performance.
7. Strike a Power Pose – Researchers from Harvard Business School have confirmed that striking certain poses and holding them for a few minutes actually boosts testosterone and decreases stress hormones. Make sure to look at a list of the so-called “power poses” the researchers found and employ them when you are sitting idle in a video conference.
8. Don’t Multitask – Don’t engage in any form of multi-tasking while listening to someone. This includes checking your watch, fidgeting, looking at your emails, or even tilting your head. To appear completely attentive, remain totally quiet and still while listening. Remember you don’t want to stare, but you might think about striking and holding one of those power poses…
9. Mimic Your Partner – Taking on the speaker’s behaviors or tone of voice will make him or her feel as if you are in agreement. Studies show that mirroring is one of the strongest ways to build rapport, and you can use this to your advantage my mimicking only when you agree with what is being said.
10. Two Hands=Higher Thinking – It may sound silly, but most people associate two-handed gestures with more informed thought than one-handed gestures or no gestures at all. When you are making a point that you need people to agree with, gesture with both hands.
Fifty-five percent of communication is exchanged through body language. Not only is this an example of why a modern online conference call from Blue Jeans UK or other conferencing software providers are so popular and helpful, but it is a good reason to master the tips mentioned above.
Of course, the ten tips make up only a small sampling of all the information about body language available, but they are a great place to start.