One criticism I consistently see regarding virtual meetings is that people feel they can’t read others as well on a screen. It’s true we miss feeling “the energy in the room” that we get in person, but as I illustrate in my book “Read The Zoom” you actually get a closer look at many nonverbal expressions. These can give you valuable insights if you know what to look for and what to say as a follow-up to observing those signals.
The flip side is making sure others can see you in a way that gives them the nonverbal signals they need to relate to you more naturally. For example, sit about 2 ½ feet away from the camera during virtual meetings, so people can see more than just your face. When your upper torso is visible, other participants can see shoulder movements and more of your hand movements, which convey important nonverbal cues.
Natural movements like these show you are engaged at the very least and can convey emotions ranging from confidence to pensiveness to disagreement. Even if people aren’t trained, they will feel more comfortable if they can see the same view of you they would see above a conference room table or a desk.
One more tip: If you have your camera lined up just above your eyes and pointed slightly down toward your face, you can better simulate eye contact with other participants. Having eye contact is critical to building trust and connection.
What other tips have you found helpful in overcoming any disadvantages of virtual meetings?