Watch What Your Face Says on a Video Call

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How easy is it to forget we are on video when in the middle of a conversation on a video call?  Just take some time during your next few calls to observe yourself and others.  So many times, our face tells a whole different story than our words or lack of words.

You must give being on a video call the same treatment you give being in the presence of others, or even more so.  People on video watch the other people more, they are working while on the call.

I catch myself too many times making the wrong facial expression, but not until I have already done it.  Someone on a call makes a comment which I totally think is ridiculous and my face says exactly that.  But I don’t realize it until it is too late.  Then the only question becomes, did anyone see me?  The question is, does that show on my face?  Seems like a continuous circle.

Post Covid-19, we are still in a giant video conferencing world.  People had a chance to see what video conferencing could do for them, and they like it.  So now it is being used more and more.

Learning how to act on a video call is critically important to you.  It is also critical to your growth in a company or in your own company.  I teach people all the time how to do better presentations and now I’m starting to teach people how to be better on a video call.  Both are critical to your success.

Today I just want to look at 3 ways you can become more effective at doing video calls.  Remember that today’s business world will get even more involved with video.  So being more effective on video is a business skill we all need.

As a leader, it becomes more and more critical to your success.  Your team is watching you.  They are watching your face so much more than your words.  When you prepare, make sure you prepare your face as well.  I know that sounds crazy, but follow below.

If you as the leader show the wrong emotion on your face during a call, that just gives the green light for your team to do it.  Believe me, I see it all the time.

Let’s get to those tips.

1/        When you prepare for a call, prepare your face as well as your words.

            When you do the notes for the call, in the margin, put little pictures to remind you to make sure your face is saying the same thing as the words coming out of your mouth.  Little reminders on your notes.  I use faces.  These remind me that my face is being seen by all the callers and it better be right.

2/        As a participant, find something to focus your vision on.

            Or someone.  I always try to focus on the caller.  In Zoom, I use the feature that brings the person talking to the forefront.  This way, I am always focused on them.  

            Another trick is to put yourself in focus so you can always see what you are looking and acting like.  The problem is that when you see something wrong, it is already too late.

            If you are a poker player, all of this seems like common sense and normal.  Just think about your face in the card game, you never let emotion show unless you want to.

            If you find yourself out of control and you know you are going to mess up in a moment,  stop the video and audio.  Don’t forget the audio stop.  Some time ago, I stopped the video, exploded, then remembered that everyone heard it.

            The great thing about video is that you can leave for a moment.  Something you cannot do in a live setting.

3/        Stay in the call at all times.

            We have a great tendency to wander or to do other work when we are on a video call.  Besides this being wrong, it could also be dangerous.  Your face could change based on what you are doing and it might be just at the same time someone else finishes a comment.  Now it could look like you’re reacting to their comment.

            Don’t check your email when you are on a call.

            Don’t try and catch up with your calendar.

            If you don’t need to be on the call, get off.

            If you can mute and turn the video off, do it.  The problem is many are like me, I want to see your face during a call.

On the positive side, you can also use your facial expressions to send a message.  The look that this is enough, gets to the speaker quickly.  For looks like change the subject and move on, you don’t have to say it, your face can say it, and not everyone will catch it,  but the presenter should.

Are there many more things you need to do? Yes.  But this is only a short article.  If you need more help, stay tuned.  As a leader, you are always in the spotlight, so always be ready for that video call.

Video is a way of life.  Much success to you.

If your team is looking for help in becoming even better and stronger leaders, please check out Covert Leadership Training.  More tools to make you a winning leader.