“Virtual Meetings Advice How To Connect Better Using Body Language” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“In virtual meetings, it is easier to read someone’s body language, if you know what to observe.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert  (Click to Tweet)

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“Virtual Meetings Advice

How To Connect Better Using Body Language”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

Some people fret about not being able to gain insight into someone’s body language in virtual meetings. In reality, you can better understand the meanings of someone’s gestures in those environments because virtual meetings offer tighter settings. Thus, by not having a larger area from which to assess someone’s intent, the more focused their actions, the greater the offer of definition. The following is what you should observe to gain greater insight from someone’s body language in virtual meetings.

Gathering Information In Virtual Meetings

Depending on the number of participants in virtual meetings, you can gain more information about those you target to observe. So, what you look at matters.

In particular, note the head, eye, and lip movements. Registering when someone alters their appearance will give you insight into how enamored they are with the topic of discussion and the speaker.

Whenever you engage in reading body language, you must have a  comparison. By noting how someone responds through body language when that person is not speaking, you can use those insights to gauge how they act and react later.

Yes. You will have less of someone’s physical body to observe during virtual meetings. The tighter space will assure that, versus face-to-face meetings. But your attentiveness to the following factors will lend insight into the motivation behind someone’s actions and the thoughts that promoted them. And that will allow you to connect better during your virtual meetings.

Head Movement

Head Tilting

This gesture is usually displayed when someone becomes inquisitive or shifts into thought mode. If the person is speaking when they show this gesture, they may indicate they are not 100 percent sure about their statements.

If you observe someone making this gesture in virtual meetings while someone else is speaking, they may not be 100 percent on board with what the speaker is saying.

Suffice it to say, when someone delivers a head-tilt gesture, their mind is in contemplation mode. By observing how someone reacts after that, you can gain more insight into that person’s thoughts and where their thoughts may lead.

Leaning In/Away

Act as though you have just been captivated by something you heard or saw. What body language gesture did you emit? Depending on your degree of interest, you most likely leaned closer to the source. That action denotes someone’s interest in a discussion during virtual meetings. Leaning away can indicate their lack of interest.

The point is, by noting when people exhibit this action, you get a glimpse into their degree of engagement. And if you are the person speaking and you see several people leaning away, it may be time to consider how to reengage them.

Eye Movement

You may be familiar with the phrase, rolling your eyes – the gesture that occurs when you or someone turns their eyes upward. That nonverbal signal can be an expression of disbelief, annoyance, exasperation, or confusion.

If someone displays confusion, their eyes will stay focused upward for a more extended period than the other expressions. And when assessing if you are detecting confusion, look for a slight head tilt to one side. That added gesture will serve as confirmation about what someone is experiencing. A prolonged period of upward-looking may also indicate someone is in thought mode or reflecting upon what they heard.  

Nevertheless, by observing the body language of eye movement in virtual meetings, even when you are unsure of its initial meaning, you can draw closer to its source of motivation by noting when your target displays it.

Lip Movement

In virtual meetings, multiple people may begin to speak simultaneously. Then, while one person voices their perspective, you can note the silent lip movement of others. Their silent gesture could indicate that they would like the opportunity to talk, even if it is to themselves.  

Observing someone’s lip movements when they are not speaking in virtual meetings can allow you to gain much insight into that person. So, how might you use that awareness? If you know that person is an ally, you might give them the proverbial floor.

If, on the other hand, the person is a foe, you might consider finishing your thought and freezing the person out if time is a constraint. Please note lip movement, silent or not, in your next virtual meeting and observe the advantages you acquire.


Body language gestures are very telling of someone’s thoughts; that’s especially true in virtual meetings when the view of someone’s movements is limited.

Thus, you can gain a considerable advantage in virtual meetings by noting the expressions displayed by those you would like to understand better. Doing so will allow you to align your thoughts with that person when such suits you and bring them back to your point of view when necessary. That will enable you to connect better with those you engage with and gain a significant advantage during your interactions. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating! 

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