10 Tips to Power Up your body language on Zoom

 By Carol Kinsey Goman

Body language savvy in a virtual meeting can be the key to developing positive business relationships and presenting your ideas with more impact.

Here are 10 simple and powerful body language tips that will help you project leadership presence on Zoom:

1. Breathe

To calm your nervous system before joining the meeting, take five deep breaths. This silent breathing technique is a secret weapon of all on-camera presenters to help them get centered and focused.

2. Be visible

To stand out in a virtual meeting, even if you are not leading the event, you need to be on camera. Don’t hide off-screen behind a name plate or a still photo. You can’t display leadership presence if you aren’t present.

3. Get framed

Pull back from your computer slightly so you aren’t just a talking head. The more of your body we can see, the more trustworthy you look.

4. Dress for virtual success

Working from home, it’s easy to slide from business casual to way-too-sloppy. If it’s appropriate for the event, your outfit can be very casual, as long as your grooming and wardrobe reinforce your professional image.

To have the greatest impact, bright, solid colors work best. Avoid clothing with tight patterns, as they “jump around” on camera.

5. Start with a smile

While a face-to-face meeting gives you added time to impress people, in a virtual environment your visual image sets that first impression in a fraction of a second. Because of this instantaneous evaluation, a smile is the most impactful facial expression to start with. It gives you instant emotional presence by signaling warmth, openness, and empathy.

Smiling also directly influences how other people respond. When you smile at someone, in person or virtually, she almost always smiles in return. Because facial expressions trigger corresponding feelings (called “facial feedback”), your smile makes both you and your audience feel more upbeat and positive.

6. Make virtual eye contact

In person, you know that eye contact sends a nonverbal message of connection, and the most artificial part of a virtual meeting may be looking at the camera so that it appears that you are looking directly at your audience.

It’s helpful to put a Post-it note with a smiley face next to the camera dot on your computer to remind you to keep your eyes here when speaking.

7. Watch your seated posture

The way you sit sends a nonverbal message about your physical state and communication savvy. Rounding your shoulders and slumping makes you look uninterested or insecure — which is not the way any of us wants to be perceived.

The best tip for looking confident in a virtual meeting is to sit with good posture – facing the screen directly with shoulders squared, head straight, arms slightly away from your body, and feet flat on the floor. A side benefit is that good posture not only makes you look more confident, it also makes you feel more self-assured.

8. Lower your vocal pitch

In a virtual meeting, the quality of your voice can be a deciding factor in how you are perceived. Speakers with higher-pitched voices are judged to be less empathic, less powerful and more nervous than speakers with lower pitched voices. One easy technique to do before the meeting is to put your lips together and say “Um hum, um hum, um hum.” Doing so relaxes your voice into its optimal lower pitch.

9. Modify your gestures

You’ll be most effective when people can see your gestures, but you’ll need to keep them close to your body and within the frame of the camera. Doing so will enhance your credibility by helping the audience more easily understand what you are saying. Just remember that sweeping gestures that go out of camera range – or get exaggerated by coming too close to the camera – are counterproductive.

10. Use the power of the pause

Because so many of the nonverbal cues we use to assess a speaker are unavailable in a virtual environment (the main reason for “Zoom Fatigue”), your audience’s brains have to work harder to understand the full meaning of your remarks. You’ll connect with people even more positively if you wait a few seconds between phrases to let them absorb and analyze what you’ve just said.

To build your leadership presence in the next virtual meeting, follow these simple tips and see for yourself how powerful they are.

Let us know your thoughts or experiences on this topic in the comments below!