Let your Hands Do the Talking on your Next Zoom
If you like using your hands when you talk, communicating on Zoom and other video conferencing platforms is the perfect place to apply your style. In fact, this digital ecosystem is an ideal space to apply your non-verbal communications techniques.
I’ve talked before about the importance of using non-verbal face cues during Zoom meetings to generate maximum engagement, but your hands can also play a powerful role in effective Zoom communications.
Unleash the Power of your Hands
Any number of gestures that might feel forced or unnatural during an in-person meeting can work really nicely in the Zoom universe.
- Giving a thumbs up
- Raising your index finger to make a point
- Using one hand to represent an idea or thing
- Holding up both hands to punctuate an “either/or” explanation
- Moving a stretched hand diagonally upward to demonstrate success
- Waving goodbye to make a solid Zoom exit instead of just disappearing
Welcome to the Stage
Your hand gestures can either stand alone or join your spoken words to provide emphasis. You’re essentially following the same rule book as when presenting on a stage.
You may not feel like you’re walking on stage every time you join a Zoom, and many people don’t. But you shouldn’t make the same mistake.
If all the world’s a stage, then so is every Zoom.
And Zoom can be such a hands-friendly place because the medium effectively makes you a presenter every time you talk.
We are Children of TV News
This may seem counterintuitive. You’re probably more focused on Zoom draining your mojo, because you’re feeling unnaturally cramped into a tiny on-screen box.
But that box is a not-so-distant cousin to the all-mighty television screen. And for decades, we’ve been conditioned to apply significance to a singular face that’s talking at you based on the norms of TV news.
Sure, today the market is clearly oversaturated with countless YouTubers in little boxes. And your own circle of contacts might curate an additional few dozen mini faces to regularly stare at.
Open Hailing Frequencies
You may end up feeling like an anonymous face projecting yourself to an often faceless audience. How much of an impact can you really have on a pandemic-numbed and Zoom-fatigued population?
It may be difficult to believe, but for every second that you’re visible on a Zoom, you have the power to move the needle.
Using your hands properly will make you even more effective.
Amplify your Moment
To take advantage of this opportunity, you don’t need to be the official ‘presenter’ who owns the digital floor for an extended period. If you say just one sentence, your viewers will see you as the presenter in that particular moment.
The floor is yours. Use it!
And it doesn’t matter if you’re a little thumbnail image in Gallery View. Then, the movement of your hands can carry even more weight. That’s because your small image makes you more difficult to read. Your non-verbal face cues might be invisible. But a solid hand gesture is hard to miss.
Get your Hands in the Shot
I’m sure you know the importance of setting up your webcam shot to properly display your face. Now you’ve got to make sure there’s room in your Zoom box for your hands to show up.
The trick here is to reduce all of the extra headroom space you probably have in your shot. (That’s the extra area between the top of your head and the top of your shot.) Instead, you want your webcam to show off more of your midsection. That’s the area where your hands live as they rest on your desk.
This technical adjustment is usually easy to make by simply tilting your webcam. That redirects your shot down to just above your desk. Just be sure your shot is wide enough. You don’t want your webcam to cut off your head!
Practice Assertive Communications
After spending so much time on Zoom meetings, everyone should feel like they’re able to successfully contribute to the conversation. And as in any environment, you’ve got to effectively assert yourself.
Yes, that can be especially difficult to do when restricted to a Zoom box. So it’s important to use every technique at your disposal.
Sometimes the answer is to just let your hands do the talking!