Communication happens through both verbal and nonverbal cues, which is why you should never underestimate the power of body language. When you are presenting to an audience, what you do with your body is just as important as the words you speak. If you give off the wrong vibes, you could easily detract from your message. On the other hand, the right body language can help you win over an audience.
As today’s workforce continues to shift toward a remote environment, more and more companies are utilizing video conferencing for their presentations. It goes without saying that presenting virtually is quite a bit different than presenting face to face. In many ways, it’s much harder to engage an audience when they can’t see you in person. This change in the presenting dynamic makes it even more important to focus on things like eye contact and body language. While a video presentation may lack some of the richness of communication compared to face-to-face interactions, there are many ways to maximize engagement with your audience using nonverbal communication.
Make Eye Contact
If you think you’re exempt from eye contact because you’re behind a camera, think again. No matter whether you are presenting in person or through a video, eye contact is essential for connecting with an audience. Good eye contact makes you look more credible, professional, and trustworthy. To achieve this in a video presentation, make sure you look directly into the camera and match the motion of your eyes with what you are saying. You want your audience to feel as though you are speaking directly to them.
Avoid Crossing Your Arms
It is very important to pay attention to the way you move your arms when you are presenting virtually. Crossed arms can be interpreted to mean that you are defensive, angry, or disinterested in what you are saying. On the other hand, open arms are welcoming and inviting and this signals that you are trying to have an open conversation with your audience.
Keep a Good Posture
Good posture is important because it conveys confidence. Slouching or leaning back can give the wrong impression, but someone who maintains a good posture looks more confident and in control. When presenting virtually, some experts even recommend standing and presenting from a higher desk. This will help you to more naturally and effectively maintain a strong posture.
Whether you are presenting in person or in a video, a smile can go a long way in helping you connect with your audience. Smiling sets a positive tone and helps with the overall delivery of your presentation.
Avoid Fidgeting or Squirming
While it can be beneficial to use your hands when speaking, you want to pay close attention to the way you move your hands. Avoid fidgeting with your fingers, tapping them on the desk, or clenching your fists. Likewise, you want to avoid squirming in your chair. All of these can be signs of nervousness and can cause you to lose your credibility as a presenter.
Be Facially Expressive
Facial expressions can do so much to help your audience connect with you on a personal level. People can see it in your eyes when you are sincere. They can tell by your facial expressions that you are passionate about what you are saying. Try practicing your presentation in front of a mirror so you can become more aware of your facial expressions and learn how to use them appropriately.