From our posture to our movements, a large percentage of communication is nonverbal. Unfortunately, that puts us all at a disadvantage during video calls. Since the camera is most likely framing your face, your body language—good or bad—isn’t viewable for added context. If you’re interviewing for a job, you may inadvertently send the wrong message or come off as cold.
“There’s no rule book on how to communicate body language in a digital world,” says Erica Dhawan, a Fast Company contributor, and author of Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection, No Matter the Distance. “Today, we’re all immigrants in this new world, and there can be a level of misunderstanding. Body language hasn’t disappeared; it’s transformed. The challenge is creating an authentic connection when you’re meeting on camera for the first time.”
Whether you realize it or not, Dhawan says you’re always sending signals. Make sure you’re sending the right ones by paying attention to these subtle factors.
Just like meeting face to face, those initial few seconds create a first impression. Dhawan suggests being totally prepared before joining the call, setting devices to do not disturb and getting rid of any distraction to maintain professionalism. “It matters more than ever,” she says.