Tips for Non-verbal communication in the digital workspace

Did you know that a 2022 survey of 200 executives showed that 92% of managers believed that employees who turned off their cameras during online meetings were less likely to have a long-term future at their company?

We are aware, that how we are perceived, when using non-verbal communication during in person interactions such as eye contact, a firm handshake, a smile and a confident body language, can have a positive impact on others. However, we are still learning how to use them online via chats, video meetings and other digital interactions. 

Non-verbal communications work both ways, it is how others perceive you and how you interpret the non-verbal cues of others. Even though it is not an exact science, for there is a great deal of ambiguity, a lot depends on your own experiences and your relationship with the one you are communicating with. Nevertheless, experts point out that non-verbal cues carry a lot of meaning and that it is important to pay attention to them.

What your non-verbal cues say about you:

  • Your profile picture – is it of yourself or an avatar or a pet?
  • Your video background – what does it say about your level of professionalism?
  • Text messaging – do you use an emoji when appropriate?
  • Eye-contact – do you look at the person on the screen or at the camera?
  • Posture —  do you lean forward or do you often slouch back in your chair?
  • Personal grooming – hairstyle and clothes: do they convey professionalism?
  • Camera position – if it is positioned below the chin and your colleagues have to look up at you, it is not perceived that you are at their level and they would not like it very much.
  • Expression – do you look interested and engaged?

Tips – Non-verbal cues to build affinity:

Building and maintaining strong relationships take a little bit more effort in the digital world than it is in in-person situations. However, it is possible to make an effort to engage in non-verbal communication can help build affinity. Some tips that can be applied without much effort are:

  1. Use a clear profile photo of your face with an open expression.
  2. Send a well-timed emoji or a GIF image in a group chat.
  3. Lean forward in your chair.
  4. Keep the camera on (unless otherwise instructed)
  5. Make sure that the camera is at the right height before a meeting
  6. Good lighting on your face so that your expression is clearly visible.

As Annemieke Meurs-Karels, a non-verbal communication expert based in the Netherlands says, ‘“Society now is moving more online and away from face-to-face communication, but the need to be able to understand each other won’t go away.” 

Making a deliberate effort with small gestures can have a large impact on how you are perceived in the digital workspace and can go a long way in fostering genuine connections.To learn more about How ‘non-verbal communication’ is going digital click here.

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