Did you know only seven percent of a message is conveyed by words? The remaining 93 percent consists of tone of voice (38 percent) and body language (55 percent), according to research by Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA.
When communicating over the phone, people are forced to rely only on words and tone of voice. When not able to see facial expressions and other body language, a message can easily be misconstrued. This is one reason why many companies are turning to video conferencing products to connect with long-distance prospects and current clients.
Traditional face-to-face and virtual meetings are very similar. For both, you want to be dressed appropriately and be prepared. However, when participating in a video conference, there are some additional steps you should be aware of. These 4 tips will ensure that you’re next virtual meeting is a success:
1. Maintain good posture
While working on a computer all day, you find positions that make you more comfortable. Although sitting on your feet and slouching over your computer may feel relaxing, it doesn’t look professional.
The first thing you should do is sit up straight in your chair. If you lean slightly toward the camera, you will instantly appear like an interested and attentive listener. Also, if you have a swivel chair, fight the urge to rock back and forth. That’s one distraction you don’t need.
2. Practice with the camera
Before signing into your next virtual meeting, turn your camera on and make sure it’s angled appropriately. You don’t want it too low or too high—eye level is ideal. You also want to check the lighting. Bright lights that are behind you may cast a shadow over your face, making it difficult to see you. Additionally, you always want to make sure your camera isn’t picking up anything inappropriate or messy in the background.
3. Make eye contact
You’ve probably heard that you should maintain eye contact when speaking to someone. This gets a little tricky during a video conference. Naturally, when it’s your turn to speak, you’re going to want to look at the people on the screen. However, to appear as if you’re making eye contact, you need to look directly into the camera. If you look at others on the screen, it will appear as if you’re looking down.
If you have a free-standing camera, try and place it right above the screen. This way you’ll be able to glance at others on the screen while speaking without being too obvious.
4. Be aware of facial expressions
Not only can you see a smile, but you can also hear it. When you smile, the soft palate at the back of your mouth rises up and makes sound waves more fluid. This helps give you a warmer and friendlier tone. Conversely, the muscles used for frowning can make your voice sound more clipped and irritated—and it looks bad. Before beginning your meeting, put on a smile so you can give a good impression.
No matter if you’re meeting with colleagues, clients or preparing for an online interview, understanding and maintaining good body language is vital to your success.
To learn more about video conferencing and other collaboration trends, download our free eBook: The Future of Business Collaborations.