How To Utilise Body Language In Video Calls

How To Utilise Body Language In Video Calls

Many elements of our daily lives and our working days have changed completely in 2020 and one of the major shifts that have come in the world of business is the significant uptick in video conferences and calls.

As most people will tell you after months of Zoom meetings, it’s not always that easy to see or read someone’s body language through a screen. After all, most of us sit pretty close to our computers and therefore there isn’t that much opportunity for people to see much more than our face and maybe our shoulders.

But, as a recent article for Quartz at Work pointed out, we can all take one simple step that allows us to use our body language for communication again. Simply sit further away from the camera.

French mentalist Remi Larousse told the publication that not only is this a good way to ensure that we’re able to use our body language as part of our communication, but that it will also ease what’s been termed ‘Zoom fatigue’.

This refers to the tiredness caused by the cognitive load of having multiple online video meetings in a day.

We spend a lot of time looking for non-verbal cues for communication, and in video conferences where we can only see people’s faces, our brains are struggling to find the cues they’re looking for.

“Make sure that your hands are visible because they convey a lot in terms of body language,” Mr Larousse stated.

Last month, London Loves Business shared research which has found that 47 per cent of people who regularly use video conferencing tools in their work have suffered from ‘Zoom fatigue’ since the beginning of the first lockdown.

The news provider also explained that, during in-person meetings, our brains use the 7-38-55 rule. This means that just seven per cent of what’s communicated is verbal, 38 per cent comes from our tone of voice and the remaining 55 per cent is our body language.

If you take a Silent Speech Understanding Body Language course you’ll learn much more about both how we use body language to understand others and how we can use it to our advantage in our communications.

In the meantime, an article for This Week in FM offered some advice about how you can use body language to improve the quality of your video calls.

The first is to make sure you’re not slouching when you’re sitting at your desk, or wherever you’re working from. Sitting up straight will make you come across as more confident and actually improve your vocal articulation.

It also pays to remember that people can see your expression all the time during a video call, so make sure you smile!

Hand gestures are important for body language, so, as we’ve already said, it’s best to make sure your camera is zoomed out a little so that your hands are in the frame rather than being hidden from view.

One final tip is to think about making eye contact with the person you’re speaking to. This might feel challenging in a video conference, where your eyes are likely drawn to your own video, but make sure that you look straight into your camera to mimic the eye contact you’d make in a face-to-face setting.