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The Importance of Body Language in a Hybrid World

As some of you know, I have been busy writing, recording and building content for my new venture, Sound Voices, which I am working on with my incredibly talented Co-Founder Nina Ferro. Our goal is to support you to learn to be intriguing, to communicate what you care about so other people care about it too, to engage your audience, and to truly connect.


The impact of 2020 has meant that most of us have had to shift from a regular predictable routine to learning to work remotely, engaging with work colleagues, friends and family via video whilst piecing together a new hybrid life in order to stay connected. In fact, for most of last year I had to perform my job as Director of Partnerships for Antler Australia, a leading global early stage VC firm, completely remotely, talking to the team and clients via videoconference. The impact and quality of those meetings was a mixed bag because most people don’t know how to create a positive impact on camera.


Hybrid meetings and events are now the new normal


Despite the dream that overnight, on the first of January 2021, our lives would once again be filled with hope, travel and in person contact, virtual is now a permanent part of the new normal (for now at least). It is important to be aware of the fact that our energy is re-charged by in-person interactions, that we empower and strengthen our energy through face-to-face interactions. In-person meetings bring a level of connection and trust that is simply not possible from virtual meetings.


Hybrid life is here to stay - where events will now be a mix of virtual and live, and even connecting with family and friends will also be a combination of virtual and live (in fact it's my Birthday next week and I'm have a small backyard in-person celebration here in Auckland, as well as a zoom party for all my friends not in New Zealand).


Did you know that in a face-to-face situations it takes someone only 7 seconds to make a judgment about your attitude, level of confidence, professional status, and personal warmth? To ensure you make a good impression you have a number of opportunities. You can enter the room with a conscious positive energy, remember to smile, make eye contact and remember to talk with a warm, interested tone and modulated pitch of your voice.



What I only recently learned is that unconscious judgements are made even faster through digital interactions via your computer screen. You only project a visual image from the waist up (usually) that is being seen and interpreted by your audience. A recent study at the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging discovered it takes the brain just 200 milliseconds to gather most of the information it needs from a facial expression to determine a person's emotional state. So ensuring you have a professional virtual office set-up AND that you have prepared your energy state to express the emotions you want to project prior to opening your virtual meeting is vital.


It takes our brain just 200 milliseconds to determine a person's emotional state


This led me to create my first 2 videos for Sound Voices on the importance of body language, and my 6 recommendations for creating a positive impact, Part 1 and Part2. Click on the link to access our YouTube channel to watch these videos.


Did you know that prior to my corporate career I was a professional performer? I had the privilege of working around the world as a singer/songwriter, dancer, choreographer, pianist, and I also ran a successful performing arts studio in Sydney (with my Mum who was in the Australian Ballet) until my late 20s. So I know a bit about presenting, camera skills and performance best practice.