Body Language Basics For Virtual Meetings

BY Jessica Helinski
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Body language can speak volumes, but how can you use it effectively when you are speaking with someone virtually? Salespeople may not be used to presenting, communicating and pitching via video, but today’s world is requiring many reps to step outside their comfort zones and conduct business virtually. Jefferson Graham, in a USA Today article, discusses how you can still use effective body language even if you are presenting via Zoom rather than onstage. Despite the shift from in-​person to screen, “…body language makes all the difference between whether your audience pays attention or not.”

Body Language Best Practices

Graham shares insight from communications expert Mimi Bliss, who, as a former television reporter, has used body language to effectively communicate. She points out that despite the difference of being distant, people should rely on the general basics, but amped up a little. "We need to be more engaging, and more concise, because people are sitting behind computer[s], where their attention spans are shorter," she explains.

Her first tip in regards to body language is to consider how you use your hands. While seated at a computer, you may feel compelled to sit with your hands tightly clutched in front of you or leave them at your sides. Bliss suggests actually using your hands, which will naturally lend more energy to your voice and tone. Otherwise, if you sit formally, you run the risk of being monotone or not expressive. 

Gesturing is a big part of body language, but try not to allow them to cross your face. “We don't want our gestures to cross our face or come above our shoulders,” Bliss says. “That’s distracting.” She also encourages speakers to gesture for a purpose. Doing so “allows us to emphasize important information and even to pause."

All of the tips from Bliss are worth checking out. While they do rely on basic body language advice, she’s adapted them slightly for digital times. Integrate her tips so that you’re ready to captivate any audience, whether it’s in person or on-screen.