Importance of Body Language in Video Conferencing
While what you’re saying in a video conferencing meeting is very important, so is how you are saying it. Presentation and body language go a long way toward conveying what you want to say and engaging your peers. If you you’re your next meeting to be more than just another webinar, you need to consider how you come across to your viewers.
Video conferencing meetings are collaborative and engaging experiences when done correctly, simply because they let others see a real person and not just a voice on the other end of the line.
Setting the Stage
Preparing for a video conferencing meeting is a lot like preparing for any other meeting. Whether the meeting is in webinar format or more collaborative, you will need to make your delivery as important as your content.
Choose your setting carefully to avoid distractions for both yourself and other participants. A quiet place will cut down on the noise level being transmitted through your microphone and allow the other participants to focus on what you are saying instead of the sound of traffic, or the noise and conversation of a busy coffee shop.
Your appearance is also important, so dress as you would for any other meeting with other professionals with the additional concern of avoiding busy prints such as plaids and stripes, overly bright colors, or black and white which can cause problems with the camera.
Body language, or unspoken communication, is an important part of video conferencing. Gigaom’s research found that 65 percent communication is nonverbal, comprised of facial expressions, emblems or gestures, stance, and posture. Video conferencing is better at conveying all of the cues one would be receiving in a regular meeting room with one’s peers compared to a teleconference or email exchange. Psychology Today states communication is composed of body language first, then the tone of voice, and then the actual words spoken.
Keeping It Real
Keeping it real means keeping it natural. Forced expressions and gestures can seem incongruous and distract from what you are trying to convey with your presentation. You may want to set up your smartphone or tablet camera, or use the video function on your laptop camera, to try making a few practice runs and refining your presentation accordingly. You will be at your best when you are most at ease.
Remember, this is not a performance and you are not an actor, instead think of yourself as a news anchor or presenter trying to convey important information and details to your audience. You wouldn’t try to do that with exaggerated facial expressions and gestures, nor would you be shouting as if trying to breach the distance between yourself and your audience by voice alone.
Practice in front of your laptop or smartphone camera until you feel comfortable both with what you’re saying, and how you are saying it.
Reasons Why People Hate Video Conferencing – and How to Fix That
Sometimes people can be very uncomfortable with video conferencing. Reasons vary, but there are very few that cannot be remedied and corrected to help people feel at ease with the new technology.
- When on a voice call, it’s much easier to multitask. Video conferencing cuts into multitasking because the meetings are shorter and more effective, so there is less time on the phone while simultaneously taking care of your email, answering private messages, or doing other distracting things on the computer when there is no one to see. When video conferencing, it helps to exit your email and any instant messaging programs, turn off your mobile phone, and minimize other applications in order to devote your full attention to the meeting.
- The learning curve on any new technology can be off-putting. People who have never used video conferencing before can be hesitant or even avoid using the new technology. When preparing for your conference, try contacting participants with a test call ahead of time, and send detailed instructions on how to use the video conferencing software long before the meeting occurs.
- People can be very shy when it comes to public speaking, and have anxiety over their appearance. Almost everybody has some anxiety about public speaking and appearances; this can be a big deterrent from participating in video conferencing. Rehearsing what you’re going to say in front of people you’re comfortable with, and arranging your lighting beforehand can help reduce the anxieties associated with these kinds of meetings.
Above all, don’t be discouraged by initial setbacks. Everyone has their own learning curve, and everyone has a comfort zone; mastering them both and then pushing the envelope outward is to be applauded and praised. In time, the confidence that your upper management and your staff develop in using this technology will convey itself to others, according to the Emily Post Institute.
When you are self-assured other people take confidence from that and develop faith in the new technology like Blue Jeans video conferencing and policies as they see it more widely adopted, and used with ease.