In the battle for waning attention spans, the smallest things can make the biggest differences. Nowhere is that more true than the critical yet often overlooked role body language plays in your video marketing strategy. This is especially true for what's often your team's most powerful weapon – confidence.
That's why I want to spend a few minutes discussing virtual body language and share some key best practices to come across more confident – and, therefore, more engaging – with your audience. As you'll see, it doesn't take a lot of heavy lifting or expertise to exude more confidence when you're on camera.
The Benefits of Body Language
Trust is one of the most potent assets your brand can possess. Even though it never shows up on a balance sheet, trust fosters recognition and loyalty from an audience that's more fickle and distracted than ever. Still, despite its importance, many organizations struggle to build and maintain that ever-important sense of trust with their customer bases.
Believe it or not, something as simple as body language in your messaging can be a game-changer for developing trust with your audience. To borrow a line from Dale Carnegie:
There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.
Notice anything in particular about the contacts he mentions? They all pertain to body language in some way, illustrating the difference between a slouching talking head and an engaging, confident brand ambassador.
Simply put, when our mouth says one thing but body language says another, such conflicting messages can quickly drive an audience straight to the competition, no matter the industry. Conversely, when we’re able to convey both quality and messaging in our video sales and marketing strategies, your audience, brand, and stakeholders all win. Naturally, that puts confidence – or lack thereof – under a bright spotlight.
On-Camera Body Language: Practice Makes Perfect
Obviously, what you do with your body while on camera directly affects how well your audience absorbs the information and takes your message to heart. And while on-camera confidence isn't a trait a lot of people – perhaps even most – are born with, it's easily improved with just three best practices.
1. Reduce Distractions
Have you ever had a conversation with someone that couldn't sit still? Probably countless times. Excessive hand movements, foot-tapping, swaying back and forth, and just general fidgeting – they're all distracting to the people you're trying to communicate with, hampering your ability to engage them.
When in front of the camera, always remember that – once again – attention spans grow shorter by the day. Therefore, any unneeded distractions can quickly torpedo your ability to communicate with your customers and compel them to take action.
Thankfully, simply being present in the moment and staying aware of yourself can work miracles in reducing distractions and, thus, help you appear more confident. As you speak, take stock of your body and your movement, being deliberate with what you convey through your body language.
If it helps, pretend your feet are anchored to the floor and arms attached to the side of your body. This way, you're eliminating the swaying and constant hand gestures that can quickly take your audience out of the moment.
2. Appear Confident
Appearing confident – easier said than done, right? Well, you'd be surprised how powerful the old fake it ‘til you make it adage can be for your on-camera delivery. Granted, there's absolutely nothing wrong with feeling nervous. In fact, it’s simply part of being human. But that doesn't mean viewers need to sense how nervous you are, because that works directly against the sense of trust I spoke of earlier.
To appear more confident, be sure to sit or stand up straight with your shoulders back and face looking directly at the camera. This will eliminate any slouching and the faintest hint of ambivalence or disengagement from your delivery, also helping you project your voice and, therefore, appear more confident.
As you go, remember to keep your arms open and to your sides, smiling naturally to convey a friendly tone. After all, according to recent research, happiness – as indicated by smiles – directly correlates with improved sales.
3. Build Connections
Up to this point, you've probably noticed how many times I've used particular words like convey, engage, and communicate. And that’s for good reason given how important each of those actions are in forming connections with your audience.
As you know, without those connections, it’s almost impossible to compel customers to take action, find out more, and choose your product or service. Obviously, such inaction doesn’t do much for your bottom line. Therefore, I have two simple tips to help you build and maintain connections with your audience.
Score Your Script
Have you ever seen an actor's script? They’re often annotated with little reminders, cues, and other thoughts that an actor wants to incorporate into their performance. You can use the same method to convey the emotion that's so essential for building connections with your customers.
That's not to say we always recommend writing out a proper script and planning every word you speak during a video. However, whether you write a full script, an outline, or simply chart out your words in your head, adding simple cues to particular areas will help you add emphasis where needed.
A dramatic pause, vocal inflections, certain action-based words – they all help you emote feelings and focus on what you want the audience to retain. If you write out an actual script or outline, simply using a bold, colored, or italicized font can help you remember those critical cues and incorporate them into your delivery.
Other Connection-Building Tips
I already discussed how gestures can distract an audience. However, subtle gestures – along with facial expressions – can also work in your favor. Collectively, they convey confidence and authenticity that's essential to building trust.
As a best practice, I recommend aligning the emotions you emit through expressions and gestures with what you’re trying to generate within the audience. For instance, if you’re announcing the opening of a new residential building, your expressions and gestures should build a sense of excitement and anticipation with the viewer – without going overboard, of course.
Likewise, your proximity to the camera should generally match how close you would be during an in-person conversation. To that point, the closer you are to the camera, the more intimate, personal, and heartfelt the message tends to feel. Alternatively, if you’re trying to be more lighthearted or excited, standing further from the camera is probably your best bet.
I understand that, while all of these insights and tips are pretty straightforward, they don’t necessarily come naturally to most people. Thus, as I set up top, these are all examples of practice making perfect. So open the OneDay app on your device and start practicing – I promise your engagement levels will thank you for it.