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How Important is Body Language During Video Calls?

How Important is Body Language During Video Calls?
07 October 2020 | Updated 06 October 2020
 

Whether you’re pitching and presenting, or brainstorming and building out a campaign, it’s safe to say that communicating with colleagues and clients has changed dramatically over the last six months

Gone are the days of handshaking, boardroom meetings and team lunches in the virtual realms of the “new normal”. Free UK conference call provider, WHYPAY?, has delved into on-screen body language during professional video and conference calls, to discover its impact.

 

“How you position yourself and behave when speaking on a conference will ultimately affect your overall delivery. Receiving and interpreting communication through the use of body language can also impact you.”

–Lucy Norris

Digital Communications Strategist and Video Communication Expert

 

Are you a Serial Sloucher?

 

We’re all guilty of slouching during a working day and this is even more true now that we’re working from home more and with less attention on us throughout the day. Carrying out business from an environment you’re most comfortable in means that you’re much more likely to slouch during a meeting via a conference call or video call, than you are in a face to face meeting at the office. What’s worse, you’re more likely to become a serial sloucher if you carry out your work on the sofa or at another seating area in the house that isn’t designed for a full day’s work. 

Sitting up tall can promote confidence in your vocal articulation. You’ll also find that it demonstrates a stronger interest in the meeting by your coming across as alert. With that in mind, practice sitting up straight for short periods of time throughout the day, to begin to train your body back into this champion way of presenting yourself. 

 

Remember to Smile

 

There’s no denying that some work calls go on for longer than they probably should, and it’s very common for someone to lose interest as the minutes wear on - but don’t forget to smile!  After all, you’re on camera and your expressions can be seen clearly and directly on other participants’ screens - probably more so than if you were in a boardroom full of people. 

Lucy Norris, Digital Communications Strategist and Video Communication Expert, advises to try to maintain a neutral, interested expression throughout:

“Mirroring body language and tone of voice at the beginning of the call can help to gain trust. Then, the flow of the conversation can be led accordingly with intentional body language choices, closing the deal with specific body language choices and tone of voice.”

 

Don’t Avoid Eye Contact

 

Eye contact is a definite formality when it comes to face to face interaction and this etiquette applies for your video calls.  Look directly at the feed of the person who is speaking, rather than looking directly into your laptop’s camera. Doing so will give the impression of maintaining eye contact and indicate that you are listening to the person, showing an interest in what they have to say.

 

Hand Gestures

 

Another revealing truth about your on-screen body language during work calls is that your hand gestures can be just as impactful as your facial expressions. Whether intentional or not, glancing over at your palms and fingernails does show that you’re bored, and resting your hands on your head may indicate that you’re frustrated. 

To avoid unnecessary insult, it’s best to keep your hands out of the frame during your call. Of course, if you do normally speak with your hands, just be yourself and communicate how you usually would - especially when it comes to video calls with people you regularly communicate with. 

Lucy Norris adds: “How you position yourself and behave when speaking on a conference will ultimately affect your overall delivery. Receiving and interpreting communication through the use of body language can also impact you.”

 

Looking Relaxed

 

If you feel like your body language does suffer during a work call, it could be down to nerves or not feeling relaxed enough. Ask yourself why you may be feeling a bit on edge. Is it because work calls are simply not your preferred way of communicating? Is it the technological aspect that is putting you off? Whatever the reason may be, just remember that your colleagues are in the same position as you and are there for the necessary support. 

There’s no denying that when you feel relaxed mentally, your body will follow. So, try to channel some relaxation before your call and say goodbye to all of the slouching, negative facial expressions and awkward eye contact.

Lucy Norris concludes with: "Remaining grounded and present must be at the forefront of your mind when taking a conference call or video call. The receiver must be able to trust you, therefore your tempo and pace are important when building a level of trust in the conversation."

Picture: a photograph of a person on a conference call, sitting at a desk

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 07 October 2020

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