Online meetings are the new norm, which is why now’s the perfect time to hone your virtual communication skills. Here are the best body language practices to help you get your point across effectively.

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Virtual meetings are a great way to stay connected with other real estate professionals, potential clients, current clients and more. But virtual meetings also take a lot of practice. When we’re in virtual meetings, we don’t always have all the information we need to judge someone’s personality and tone.

Since communicating through video conferencing is still a foreign concept to some, it’s easy to mistakenly send signals you don’t mean. With that in mind, here are some body language do’s and don’ts for virtual meetings.

1. Keep on a smile, even when not talking

A smile is friendly and disarming. When talking to a video screen, it’s easy for your face to go blank. But that doesn’t give the other person a lot to work with. They may think you don’t understand. They may think you’re upset. Smile, and keep nodding. While it may seem artificial at first, it’s really just a positive feedback mechanism — you’re making sure they know you still understand.

2. Don’t slouch

It’s easy to start slouching at your desk. You’re probably used to doing it when you work. Before the video conference, sit in your chair with good posture, and make sure that the camera captures you completely. As you talk, remind yourself to hold your head high and your shoulders back. This is simply more professional body language. Otherwise, you may seem tired, lazy or simply distracted.

3. Try to maintain good eye contact

On a video conference, you can quickly forget where the camera is. You’re probably staring directly at the screen. But with clients especially, eye contact is important. Eye contact shows honesty and trust, and everyone wants a trustworthy real estate agent. Remind yourself to look into the camera when talking directly to your clients.

4. Don’t rest your head on your hand

Habits can take over quite easily. When on the computer, many people rest their head on their hand when they’re watching things. But your video conference isn’t Netflix. Remind yourself to sit up with good posture, and if you can, keep your hands and arms off the desk altogether.

5. Do keep your head close to your microphone

Position your microphone before you get started, and make sure everyone can hear you. As you talk, don’t stray away from your microphone. This can lead to you getting quieter and quieter to your audience over time. You should always be aware of where your recording equipment is, including both the microphone and the camera. This will prevent video and sound issues.

6. Don’t rely on physical gestures

Some video cameras still aren’t set up to capture fast gestures. If you’re gesturing as you talk, sometimes there can be a delay, which can result in a blurry video. Just trust that your words are expressive enough. If there’s anything you need to clarify, make sure that you’ve clarified them verbally rather than with body language.

7. Do practice your active listening skills

Video meetings make it easier to zone out and stop listening. It’s because there’s nothing physically in front of you that’s engaging with you, so your mind slips into passivity. If you find yourself thinking about other things, start practicing your active listening skills. Nod when you understand; interject when you don’t. Repeat points to your client or colleague as you go, so that you secure them in your mind.

Video conferencing is really just face-to-face conferencing with a screen in between. Don’t take the screen for granted, or get overly comfortable. As long as you’re attentive, you should be able to conduct your virtual meetings effectively.

Debbie Biery holds a Washington State Broker’s License with eXp Realty. She contributes social media management strategies to eXp World Holdings and VirBELA, is the National Education Director for the eXp Power Girls and is a Life Coach specializing in personal empowerment and positive psychology. You can follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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