Is Your Zoom Body Language Hurting You at Work?

Last week on a Zoom call, I noticed that the speaker had the camera above his head. We’ve been told it’s a more flattering angle. But this time I noticed that it can also make us look lacking in authority. And that brought me to the question, “Is your Zoom body language making you show up differently than you’d like?”  

Having coached and trained public speaking for 10 years, I know that up to 93% of presentation is voice and body language, and only 7% what we actually say. Yikes!

Maybe some of these sound familiar:

  • How do you strike the right balance with a supervisor or senior executive, between eager and attentive, and authoritative and equal?
  • What does it do to your meeting pace and efficiency when participants look like they’re also doing work on an adjacent screen?
  • Do you hide by having bad lighting? What impression does that give?
  • Do you dress for work, or slide by in a sweatshirt?

If any of these sound familiar, here’s just a little reminder that people are watching. I feel silly sometimes wearing a silk shirt for a Zoom call when everyone knows I’m just home, but somehow they still respond better. Funny how that works.

  1. Yes, have your screen at eye level or slightly above, but not so high that you look small and far away
  2. Turn off other devices and focus during meetings
  3. If you are running the meeting, set ground rules upfront and get everyone to say yes to them. Research shows that when people commit, they are more likely to comply
  4. While I usually recommend hand gestures if they come naturally to you, take a lesson from newscasters and err on the side of keeping hands on the desk
  5. Get a ring light if you don’t have one, or sit in front of a window. Natural light is wonderful
  6. Do dress for meetings and get cleaned up  

Being overly casual may have worked for a few months, but a year and full promotion cycle later, it’s something to pay attention to.

Gently nudging,

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