How to Look Interested on a Zoom Call
4 body language tips to go from boredom to genuine fascination
The easiest way to look engaged is to actually be interested.
Sadly, millions of meetings happen every day which don’t interest us at all. John veers off the topic to bring up his pet project. Georgina tells her whole life story instead of giving us the quarterly figures.
That’s frustrating, and while you can and should try to re-focus a meeting whenever it happens, everyone must act in concert for the nature of meetings to change.
Until that happens, there are a few things you can do to look more engaged in meetings. Think of these as “fake it till you make it” ideas: They might feel like hacks now, but if you turn them into habits, eventually, you’ll build real interest in the people you work with.
Here’s how to look — and thus become — more engaged in meetings.
1. Lean forward
Leaning forward is the business equivalent of scooting towards the edge of your seat while watching a movie: It literally shows you’re “drawn in” to the situation.
Leaning forward is a fundamentally human expression, even if, today, it’s mostly metaphorical. Our ancestors had to move closer to objects to examine them: plants, objects, animals. It was an act of caution. The berry might be poisoned, the object might be dangerous, the animal might suddenly move.
Today, we still “move closer” to better understand things — even if those things are mostly abstract concepts. We’ll “lean in” to a conversation because it brings us closer to the person talking — and thus closer to their ideas.
Leaning forward instead of leaning away is a strong, positive body language signal. You show people validation and trust, which is crucial, especially at work.
While leaning forward is most obvious when you’re sitting across one another directly, I find it also works on Zoom calls. I often lean towards my screen and sometimes tilt it, which makes it look a bit as if I’m “looking from above.” It makes me feel as if I’ve got a better overview, and it’s definitely better than being a small, pixelated face in one corner of the screen.