In this digital age, we spend so much time communicating through Zoom, emails, or chat. And chances are we've experienced, one way or another, all those awkward moments while talking through a computer screen–the cut-off faces, the too-close-to-the-camera, blurry background, etc.
But did you know these subtle little things can build or break how people perceive you?
Meet today's guest, Ty Hoesgen. Ty is a top communication coach, #1 best-selling author, and the Founder of Advanced Growth Institute. He helps professionals from around the world communicate with confidence, charisma, and clarity — so they can get more respect, become stronger leaders, and advance their careers.
Ty and I talked about how all of these little subconscious body languages can significantly impact how your team views you and how you can improve them so you can become an excellent digital communicator and a trustworthy manager.
The Dos and Don'ts in Zoom Meetings
Whether you're hopping on a quick Zoom call or doing your monthly team meeting, it's easy to get lost in its mundanity.
It can feel like we spend 90% of our workday in Zoom rooms (or any digital communication platform), yet we spend very little time learning how to do it better.
And for managers, one easy way to boost your morale is to get better at Zoom so you and your team can have engaging and efficient virtual meetings.
So here are the five Zoom tips and tricks that Ty shared on the podcast.
They say eyes are the gateway to the soul. And in virtual meetings, we try to replicate an in-person interaction as much as possible and stimulate that human connection that we'd typically get face-to-face.
One way to achieve that goal is by simply looking straight at the camera.
Ty shares how he minimizes the window–to make a smaller little box– and drags it up to the top of the middle screen, just right beneath the camera.
In this way, it looks like you're making eye contact with the other person on the computer (and not awkwardly looking at your little video box).
You've also probably noticed how some people are unaware of how they look on the screen, like how the bottom half of their face is cut off.
If you sit too far from your screen, it's very hard to see your facial expression–and that's not good either if you want to communicate effectively with your team.
So Ty shares this "sweet spot" to appear more trustworthy and engaged on Zoom. He says to get your eyeballs up to the camera to look in and sit far away enough that you can see your whole upper torso.
The Wave and Smile
There's a reason why we're more inclined to look forward to seeing someone again when they smile and wave hello.
This instinct goes way back to prehistoric times when our forefathers won't trust anybody who'd approached them with hands hidden behind their backs. It usually sends them a warning message that that person might be hiding a weapon.
Ty advises to show a hand right away at the beginning of your Zoom call. A simple wave and smile is all it takes. This kind of subtle gesture is proven and tested to let you gain people's trust.
In fact, he shares how one of his clients, who's a manager, found this method effective. His client had never looked at the camera before because she would always look at the people.
But when she started implementing his Zoom call tips, she noticed how her team became more engaged and invested during their Zoom calls. They began to have more genuine conversations.
Proper lighting during a Zoom call must be considered, as it directly influences participants' overall impression of you.
As a manager, you want your visual presence conveys professionalism, confidence, and credibility to your team.
Whether you're leading an important presentation, discussing vital strategies, or simply checking in with employees, Ty suggests facing the window–with the natural light shining directly on you–to get the best possible lighting source.
But if you don't have access to natural light in your workspace, a good ring light would be a suitable alternative.
Natural vs. Virtual Backgrounds
Natural or virtual backgrounds? This topic is often debated amongst remote workers. But as a manager, your Zoom background serves as an extension of your leadership style and organizational culture.
A carefully chosen Zoom background can reinforce your professionalism, attention to detail, and commitment to creating a productive and cohesive virtual environment. Beyond aesthetics, an appropriate Zoom background also contributes to effective communication.
According to what Ty has gathered from his research, although there's no "Best Video Call Background", having plants in the background is the most beneficial in terms of how you want others to perceive you (intelligence, ability, etc.)
As for virtual backgrounds, there are certain times when it's appropriate to use them, like when your background is out of your control (say when you're traveling, in a hotel, or at a cafe). Regardless of whatever it might be, use a natural background whenever possible.
These little changes to how you communicate online make a big difference. These will change how people perceive and respond to you as a manager. So if you're a manager who wants to be seen as positive, trustworthy, engaged, respected, and the like, these tiny tweaks to your online communication can go way far more than you can imagine.
If you want more of this, listen to my entire conversation with Ty Hoesgen HERE and learn how you can be an excellent digital communicator.
Keep up with Ty
- Follow Ty on Instagram here
- Check Ty out on TikTok here
- Check out his latest updates on LinkedIn here
- Access Ty’s FREE course: 5 Science-Backed Video Call Secrets Every Professional Needs to Know.
* Members of the Modern Manager community get a FREE digital copy of Ty’s Elite Communication Skills: How to Get More Respect, Make Your Work Life Easier, and Rapidly Advance Your Career.
*PLUS 20% off coaching with Ty if you want to speak with confidence and clarity - and finally, stop being overlooked and undervalued.
Get all of these when you join The Modern Manager Community.