Seven Facial Expressions To Avoid On Video Calls

Body language matters, even when you’re speaking to someone on a video call. The other person might not be able to see you tapping your foot or slouching in your chair, but your facial expressions and gestures speak volumes. Whether you are meeting with a colleague, a boss or a client, it’s important to stay vigilant so you don’t come across as disengaged or distracted.

According to Steve Adcock, a contributor for CNBC and other outlets, professionals should stay mindful about seven gestures when they are on a video call. Keep reading this issue of Promotional Consultant Today for Adcock’s thoughts on what to avoid the next time you join a virtual meeting.

1. Avoid over blinking. When you blink too quickly, you send the message that you are uncomfortable. To the other person, you might be signaling that you are either upset or distrustful, says Adcock. To avoid sending the wrong message, stay cognizant of your tendency to blink, especially when someone is addressing you specifically.

2. Avoid biting your lip. This gesture often signals that you are anxious or nervous about something. On a virtual call, the other people may read this gesture as anger or uncertainty. Pay attention to what you do with your mouth when you are not speaking. You don’t want to subconsciously purse or bite your lip.

3. Avoid furrowing your brow. Adcock points out that a furrowed brow almost always signals anger or contempt. When you make this facial expression, you’re not typically enthused or pleased. This expression can certainly affect the video call and may encourage other participants to stay silent, notes Adcock.

4. Avoid looking around. Distractions are all around, whether you are participating in a virtual meeting from a home office or your workplace. That’s why it’s important to make a point to look directly at the camera during the meeting. This shows that you are interested in the conversation and that you respect the other attendees.

5. Avoid smirking. Similar to rolling your eyes, smirking is something you should always avoid—both for in-person meetings and virtual calls. It sends the message that you don’t believe what other people are saying, and can come across as arrogant and flippant, says Adcock.

6. Avoid awkward laughing. If you are “multitasking” and watching YouTube or something else, a laugh can easily reveal that you are not focused on the call, notes Adcock. Laughing is great in the right context, but on a virtual call, laughing at inappropriate times can signal that you have disregarded what someone else has said.

7. Avoid shaking your head “no.” According to Adcock, you should avoid this gesture unless you are specifically responding to a question. If you regularly shake your head back and forth, you risk coming across as rude and judgmental.

When the camera is on, you can make the best impression by eliminating certain behaviors. Whether you regularly multitask and rarely look at the camera or you tend to furrow your brow when others are speaking, these small gestures and behaviors can end up damaging your reputation and professionalism. When you remember to treat virtual meetings the same as you would in-person meetings, you can help garner respect and grow your career.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Steve Adcock is a regular contributor to The Ladders, CBS MarketWatch and CNBC. He writes about mental toughness, financial independence and how to get the most out of your life and career.

filed under April 2021
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