Answers to Your Video Chat Questions

By Jamie McDaniel, Canadian Management Centre

Spend about 4 minutes with this explainer video from HBR and get some (very) specific tips to maximize your presence on other people’s computer screens. Here are our favourite Q&A takeaways:

Why should I care about my video conference body language? Because a strong, engaged presence can make your virtual togetherness feel real: it helps the other person forget about the distance between you and lets you both be present in the moment.  And, really, do you always feel truly present with those shadowy little blurs on the Brady Bunch Zoom wall? Maybe working on your virtual presentation is worth a try. 

How close should I be to the camera? 2.5-3 feet (.76-.9 meters). See? Quite specific! Another rule of thumb if you don’t have a tape measure handy: if you raise both arms in an expansive gesture (think “I don’t know!” or “voila!”), both hands should be visible onscreen. 

Should I turn off that self-camera window during my calls? Yes. Definitely. It’s a total magnet for your eyes and will suck up at least a solid portion of your attentional bandwidth. You can’t not look at yourself at least as much (if not more) than the other people present. You know this is true. Turn it off. There are other interesting tidbits to learn here—like an exercise that helps you “physically anchor” yourself so you can be “super-present” for your meetings. 

Main takeaway: connecting with others matters—a lot—during this pandemic and everything we can do to make that work better is worth a bit of our time and effort. 

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