How to communicate during video call
As increasing numbers of new V-tail merchants join zoen.shop the art of selling via video evolves. New merchants often ask for guidance on best practices. We listen and seek feedback from merchants who have created their own “secret sauce”. There are quite a few aspects that we have found to work well and conversely various aspects to avoid. Clearly, in each business case, there will be variations and unique nuances that are part of the identity of the merchant, products and the people who deliver the video experience. Taking all of these considerations into account, let’s explore non-verbal communications.
Our eyes are an incredibly important factor in video communications. One of the great truths of trust is the look in our eyes. As humans, we can see if a smile is genuine and authentic. A fake fixed smile is untrustworthy and instinctively we pick up on a warm honest look in the eye. Take politicians, with a glad hand and a well-practised smile, votes can be won. Let’s consider two globally recognised political figures, former President of the United States Bill Clinton. President Clinton will not please all the people all of the time, but he can convey a cheeky connection with millions of people by using his eyes. The President certainly had charisma and it was effective through the camera lens. Putting aside spoken words and private matters, this was a man that was able to win the hearts and minds of millions of people who never met him. The message is to have an authentic eye-to-eye feeling that captures the warmth and trust during the video interaction.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a slick lawyer turned politician with an outstanding ability to say the right thing and seem like he actually believed it had a near-permanent smile or grin. As time passed and the camera career developed, something was missing, “the smile in the eyes”. It might seem unimportant, but over the time that Prime Minister Blair lived at 10 Downing Street in London, although this skilled media performer always seemed to have a crisp message and sharp wit and words, the smile and the eyes did not match. At times, eye contact seemed less sincere, less genuine. Non-verbal communication becomes significant as video channels establish connections with consumers. Authentic eyes are vital in engaging and securing trust. If you close your eyes and try to picture these former political leaders, eye value becomes a very clear factor. Think before you blink.
Watching TV interviews is a useful learning curve. Professional training for presenters teaches those on the screen to use the movement of hands strategically. Unlike a face-to-face presentation, the hands are set in a smaller frame of view. If you were giving a live presentation to an audience the movement of hands can be quite elaborate and expressive. However, on-screen such as in a video sales environment, hands can be distracting, the gestures impacting and at times distracting. The key is to use hand movements around a product but not away from the focus point. Practice is the key, video communications via platforms such as Zoom allow a recording of a video, we suggest practising and recording yourself and playing back the sales or presentation pitch.
Clothes, tattoos and other visually expressive items can overpower the image and at times distract the viewers. Just as the hands in a live face-to-face setting become amplified on the small screen, so too can excessively loud or elaborate clothing. To prevent image overkill and losing focus on the message we advise the presenter to dress correctly for the product and the audience’s expectations. It sounds simple enough, but in a time where work might be from home and T-Shirts or sports clothes offer comfort, they might not set the right impression on viewers. Consider a news presenter, almost always they will have a formal professional outfit, at least above desk level. Copy the professionals and think about what and who you are selling to and you will be better calibrated for them.
Room, Set and Settings
A significant factor beyond the spoken word is how the space you present communicates to the consumers you engage with. Think about any TV show you might watch, what the background and articles in view emit are important messages. You might be watching a newscast. We know that mainstream media is highly manipulated by presenters who are nothing more than talking heads. Critically, the studio setting is key to conveying trust and authority even if the message might be highly edited propaganda. The aim is to radiate trust and authority.
Often, we are being “soft sold”, we are unwittingly being brought into the buy zone gently. Think of podcasts, YouTube videos etc. An interview takes place with an author who is having a conversation on a topic they have authority on. They might have a background where many books or perhaps pictures are in view, this video landscape could be entirely intentional. Many books, meaning well-read, the right pictures might suggest well-travelled, and the right group pictures might indicate well connected. Therefore, we can see that beyond simple product placement in the background, the room, is a set, and the articles and items in the space lend extra impact and influence. The goal? To shape potential buyers’ decisions and actions.
The smoothness of voice tonality is very important. Try to make your words impactful without your voice pitch ranging too high. Speak with authority and at the right speed of pace. A very important aspect to avoid is nervous laughter. Because it can accidentally convey nervousness or overpower key points, it’s important to control this and the use of calm breathing helps to balance the tonality of the voice and bring confidence in the delivery of the message. Once again practice is important. Once you have done 500 pitches on a video call you will undoubtedly be better than the first 5 pitches or video calls. With good preparation and practice, you can make the first calls more like well-practised pitches. Therefore, we advocate practice as it makes perfect.
Colours and Sounds
When you close your eyes, you can hear specific brands. It can be the same with times and places in our memories, it might be the jingle of a train station, or unique location factors like in a metro system. For example, “mind the gap” is synonymous with the London Underground. Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung, MacDonald’s and countless other brands have an audio identity. This is something anyone can look to develop, even a podcast intro defines the content from others. We suggest this is worthy of exploration and that it’s considered in the context of a V-tail channel and brand.
Did you know that there is a very powerful company that influences the use of colours globally? Have you heard of Very Peri? Pantone is the company that regulates the colour palettes to an industry standard, each colour has a “print” number so that it can be consistently used. For 2022 colour of the year is Very Peri. What can colours say about your products or brand? It’s a much bigger factor in the non-verbal world of communication than some people imagine. Take a look at the Pantone link for a greater understanding of the power of colour.
Additional Tips & Advice
Although this blog focuses on non-verbal communications, we think it important to emphasize some critical points. There is an important reason for this given that getting everything else right in the non-verbal communications could be undone if the verbal aspects are not calibrated and polished.
Clarity of speech is critical, and pronunciation and punctuation count. Looking at news-readers, they are just that, they often know nothing about the subject or news item. They are in effect talking heads, but you can be sure that they will speak clearly, accurately, and with solid pronunciation and punctuation.
Asking questions is really about listening. That means the tone of the answer as well as the words. The tonality and inflection of the voice give the true value and intent of the words. It’s also important to ask questions in ways that don’t feel like an interrogation or a bad date. A good way to do this is to use a testing statement. For example, most people prefer this colour product, what do you think?
The power of the pause is almost magical. Try not to fill quiet voids with word pollution, pauses are powerful as either side can fill them and this is where key points can come from the customer, as such buying questions. Sometimes, the less said the better, and let the customer fill the void so you can close sales based on closing from questions that actually bring the answer to the prospective sale.
Finally, it sounds simple enough but, don’t speak too fast or too slowly. We tend to talk fast and breath shallowly and quickly if we are a little nervous or tense. Remember, slow down the breathing and relax so the speed is just right, not too fast or slow. Practice is the key. And whatever you do, avoid saying “hmm”, “obviously” and other unnecessary verbal communication clangers that can sound annoying.
Let’s get you up and running for video call shopping, zoen.shop, ready to meet you face-to-face, because video channels bring us together.