These are all good tips for doing video-conferencing, but I want to especially focus on this one, for another reason:
“Gesture as you normally do. Your hands help you think and speak more clearly. Make sure your screen/camera is far enough away that your gestures can be seen. It is OK to be passionate and emphatic!”
Now, this may seem obvious when you are on camera, but what about when you’re not? Often we find ourselves presenting information using visual aids, or even sharing our screen to demonstrate how something is done, and we are not on camera during this presentation. (Or god help you, you are being forced to use slides.)
It’s tempting to think that no one can see you, no sense in gesturing.
Gesture anyway. When you are not on screen, and something else is, the only tool left in your toolbox for effective communication is your voice. When you gesture, your voice naturally follows. Make a grand sweeping gesture, you voice changes pitch and speed to match it. Smile, your voice will raise slightly to match that.
Similarly, don’t make any gestures, and your voice will start to flatten out. You will become the monotone speaker we all hate.
So make the gestures, use your voice as the communication tool, vary the pitch, the volume, pause for effect, etc. It can actually be very effective, if not quite the same thing as being seen yourself. It’s just not something most of us have learned to do.
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