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Online Meeting Tips to Foster Meaningful Virtual Connections

Smiling man sitting in front of the computer having a video conference

To foster meaningful virtual connections with coworkers, clients or audiences, you always should:

Connecting  with your audience is key to having successful conversations. Yet, video conferencing makes this challenging. 

Video conferencing improves communication and your relationship with your staff or colleagues. In fact, 35% of employees say they feel more included when they take part in a video call in the workplace. They also feel more valued within the company and its culture. 

Still, many (26%) say that connecting virtual is too difficult and not something they can easily overcome. These employees state that they feel they are not heard. Just as many say that video calls make conveying nonverbal communication challenging.  

So, what is the solution for people who struggle with making a human connection on a video conference call? These tips will help you, whether your audience is large or small.

4 Tips to Foster Meaningful Virtual Connections

Making a connection to people is a core human need. It's how they feel a sense of oneness with friends, family, and co-workers. People can share their experiences, communicate similar ideas, and convey related feelings. 

In the last two years, the increase in remote workers is the reason companies have been conducting more video conference calls. Almost half - (46%) of successful managers-  know that frequent and consistent check-ins with their staff are necessary and video conferencing simplifies that task. 

Not only are these managers helping their employees set up their home offices for greater productivity, but they are also setting them up for success in their careers by remaining in-touch virtually. They understand how vital it is to have a virtual connection with their staff.

So, what are some ways you can establish this connection with your co-workers, staff, and others working at the office? Here are four tips people who participate in video conferences can use to make a better connection:

1. Make Eye Contact

Eye contact plays a significant role in communication with others. According to an article published by Michigan State University News, the importance of eye contact can be stated in a few key points:

  • Eye contact opens communication (it can even close it as well)
  • Humans associate credibility with increased eye contact
  • People interpret a lack of eye contact as a sign of disinterest
  • Lack of eye contact (or even staring) communicates hostility

Since eye contact is so vital, make sure to have your screens organized correctly so that viewers can see that you are making eye contact. Mount your webcam where you’ll be looking at the camera. Do not place it to the left or the right of your monitor.

2. Make it Personal

Being human and open with the people on the other side of the video conference is vital in making personal connections. Talk about a lighthearted topic like the weather, a fun fact about you, or something enjoyable you did over the weekend. Ask the same from others to build rapport and continue to connect.

There are some significant advantages of making a more personal human connection. These include:

  • You get an opportunity to help others (or receive help if needed)
  • It bridges the gap between you, your team, colleagues, and other staffers
  • Everyone can exchange insights candidly and comfortably
  • You can share industry expertise more openly
  • Open communications lead to opportunities

When you make a personal connection with your colleagues, you get an opportunity to check in with your co-workers in a way that feels more genuine. It's a truly priceless benefit, especially when video conference calls are one of the few ways you get to communicate with one another.

3. Make Room for Body Movements

You'll want to move around during the video call. Not to say you'll want to get up from your chair or make exaggerated (and distracting) motions. It is not natural to sit completely still and make no movement whatsoever.

Sitting unnaturally stiff during video calls makes people uncomfortable and can make you feel uncomfortable too. Having space in the camera lens for hand gestures or simple body movements makes it more natural.

It also makes it seem like you are in the room with your audience. That way, you can make a more personal connection with those participating in the video conference call with you.

4. Make Sure to Reflect and Acknowledge Each Participant

People want to feel validated. They want to know that you are listening when they are talking. At times, reflect on points others have made to acknowledge you have heard them and received the information. That also gives you the opportunity to discuss action steps that need to be made moving forward. 

For example, you can say things like, "Previously, John mentioned…” or “I really like what Melissa said.” When you reflect and acknowledge what others said during the video conference, you improve lines of communication, which enhances the human connection. It also improves focus.

Connecting with Your Audience is Essential in Video Conference Calls
When you can make a human connection during a video conference call (or at any time) it helps you stay focused and engaged with your colleagues. It's also very motivating.

Other advantages of connecting with your colleagues on a human level during a video call include:

  • Everyone gets an opportunity to check-in
  • Improved collaboration and communications (especially nonverbal communications)
  • Simplifies management of a remote and hybrid workforce
  • Enhances productivity and reduces redundancy
  • Increases reliability (of the workforce and processes)
  • Enriches the company culture

Using these simple tips to connect with your audience will help them see you as fully human and not just a disembodied face on their screen. And if you can only do one of them, the most important is eye contact with your audience!

Connecting with your audience virtually is easier when you have the right gear.