Utilizing Body Language to Optimize Conversation in a Virtual Meeting

Body Language and Virtual Meeting

Body language is one interpersonal skill that speaks the loudest. It includes facial expressions, gestures, posture, eye contact, and even tone of voice. These cues help us better understand what someone is thinking or feeling. Combining proper communication and appropriate body language will ensure you are conveying the right message in a virtual meeting, no matter how far away we are from one another.

“According to a 1981 study by body language expert Albert Mehrabian, words, body language and tone of voice account for 7%, 55% and 38% of effective communication.” 

If the most effective communication comes from body language, it is essential to utilize gestures, facial expressions, and other nonverbal cues in any setting. Virtual meetings are no exception. Unfortunately, many individuals lost social skills when in-person interactions came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The following body language tips will help you optimize your conversations in virtual meetings.

Posture 🧘

Maintain a professional posture to project confidence and professionalism when in a virtual meeting. No one likes a sloucher or a slacker. Not to mention, your chiropractor will thank you!

Non Verbal Cues👏👍

Non-verbal cues such as nodding, tilting your head, or leaning forward are good indicators of active listening. These cues show that you are engaged in the conversation, and even though you are not replying verbally, the speaker recognizes your commitment.

Facial Expressions😀😲

It is okay to laugh, smile, and show emotion in a virtual meeting. Virtual meetings are not poker, and you do not always have to have a serious face. On the other hand, be wary of what facial expressions you let loose because you always want to be respectful first. You wouldn’t flat out tell someone their idea sucks, so why let your face say it for you?

Eye Contact 👀

Keep eye contact with the person on the other side of the call to let them know they have your full attention. Avoid looking at yourself or directly into the camera. Eye contact is also important when using virtual meeting features like screen share. Do not let your eyes wander when you are supposed to be looking at the information on the screen.

Implementing appropriate body language into your next virtual meeting will remove ambiguity and help you understand what people think, even if they did not say it. When comparing virtual to in-person meetings, you have more control over how you present yourself to the other participants when it is virtual. Take this advantage and ensure you set up your space to showcase your body language the best you can. Two main points to focus on: 

  • Camera Angles
    If only your face and tips of your shoulders are showing, you lose the ability to communicate your body language fully. Your camera should capture your upper torso so that your hand gestures and posture come through clearly.
  • Appearance
    Starting with the attire you wear and the background you choose to present, appearance goes a long way. Make the same impression with your coworkers virtually, as you would in person. Ultimately, it does not matter what you look like, but it does matter if it seems like you are not paying attention.

Look at proper communication as an umbrella. Of course, there are spoken words and written text, but body language plays a massive role in delivery, context, and overall message. Improve your body language in your next virtual meeting by fixing your posture, nodding your head, using facial expressions, and maintaining eye contact. 

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