Why Virtual Presence Matters Early On In The Sales Process

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By

Rachel Cossar

Submitter:

Jan 23, 2023

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In 2020, the pandemic triggered one of the biggest disruptions our workforce has ever experienced. Video became the only way to communicate face to face. 


Fast forward to today, and 83% of companies with 250+ employees invest in video conferencing solutions (Live Webinar), interviews are conducted on video 86% of the time (Gartner) and B2B buyers prefer virtual meetings as the top ranked method of interaction with sellers at 86% (Outreach).

Video is here to stay. 

In today’s highly competitive world, video becomes a massive opportunity for sellers to make a positive, lasting impression, to build trust, and to create rapport quickly. 

This is especially important for early moments in building a relationship virtually, like in the case of interviews and early customer discovery calls. 

Here are some key virtual presence elements to leverage to your advantage the next time you click ‘join meeting.’ 

What Your Zoom Setup Might Be Saying About You

In person, we pay special attention to how we dress, what we carry with us when entering a meeting, and how we shake someone’s hand in greeting. 

Virtually, these early considerations should be focused on your setup — things like your background, your framing, your lighting, and how you appear on camera. 

A recent study showed that people prefer real backgrounds over virtual backgrounds 92.5% of the time (HBR). If you are able, be intentional about what shows up in your background and find a clean, uncluttered space that reflects who you are as a professional. There is an opportunity to add in personal notes that can help build rapport and show your audience a bit about who you are as a human. 

This can be a great equalizer in situations where you may be fighting for someone’s attention. Showing them you have interests of your own is a powerful way to connect and distinguish yourself from whoever they may have just spoken to, or are speaking with next.

The other great equalizer on video is your framing. Height plays a big role in in-person scenarios; on video, height is irrelevant. But your relationship to the lens is not. 

Be sure to show up with your lens at eye height, indicating both an awareness of your surroundings and a respect of your audience. With your lens too high, you look up into the lens, making yourself look more childish and reducing your authority. With your lens too low, you are the one looking down on your audience. 

Finally, ensure you are not too close to the lens. Being too close increases the intensity for your audience and can even cause zoom fatigue. You want to maintain about two feet of distance between yourself and the lens. 

All of these things establish an impression of you in as little as a tenth of a second from the moment you join the virtual meeting (in almost all cases, before you have even said ‘hello’).

How to Leverage Body Language to Have an Engaging Virtual Presence

When you’ve set yourself up for success with your framing, lighting and background, you will find that you have a lot more space to leverage effective body language. 

At Virtual Sapiens, we like to refer to your virtual stage as your ‘playground.’ When your lens height and distance are correct, you have a lot of room to play and express. 

For example, you can effectively use your eyes to connect with your audience in a very direct and confident way. As a reminder, on video, this means anchoring your gaze into the lens when you are speaking. 

You can also use your hand gestures freely, without having to place your hands way above your head as you would if your framing was off. 

Our hand gestures are a big part of what help us demonstrate openness, trustworthiness, and energy. As some studies have shown, effective use of hand gestures also helps your audience retain more of what you’re saying. 

Finally, our facial expressions are highlighted on video. While we tend to reduce our facial expression variation on video because we can often feel unseen or like it doesn’t translate, in fact the opposite is true. 

With our faces being a core feature of video meetings, we can use it to our advantage by being clear about what we want to communicate to our audience. Specifically, we can show our audiences when we are really excited about something, or when we are displaying empathy or even frustration. If we are not expressing with our faces, our audience can often come away not feeling confident about where we stand, and therefore, how they can really relate to us. 

Conclusion

These are just a few examples of how we can leverage our surroundings and our bodies to effectively communicate on video. 

Today, important moments on video are often the first — and perhaps only — time we will see someone face to face. This increases the importance of developing skills that are appropriate for this virtual setting. 

Whether you are interviewing for a new role, or somewhere in the selling journey, mastering your presence on video is a critical piece of our professional toolkit. If you would like personalized feedback on your virtual presence, we invite you to get started on your virtual presence journey with a free assessment at Virtual Sapiens.  

Written by:

Rachel Cossar

Rachel Cossar

CEO/Co-Founder at Virtual Sapiens

I am a former professional ballet dancer turned body language expert. My company, Virtual Sapiens, leverages AI to help sales professionals unlock a new layer of communication effectiveness in video interactions so they can effectively develop trust and present with confidence in our new world of work. As a new startup Founder/CEO, I am drinking from the firehose on the daily:) BUT it is incredibly engaging and challenging (mostly) in positive ways. I love food and wine, travel (currently a digital nomad) and trapeze.

Unlock this content by joining the PreSales Collective with global community with 20,000+ professionals
Read this content here ↗

In 2020, the pandemic triggered one of the biggest disruptions our workforce has ever experienced. Video became the only way to communicate face to face. 


Fast forward to today, and 83% of companies with 250+ employees invest in video conferencing solutions (Live Webinar), interviews are conducted on video 86% of the time (Gartner) and B2B buyers prefer virtual meetings as the top ranked method of interaction with sellers at 86% (Outreach).

Video is here to stay. 

In today’s highly competitive world, video becomes a massive opportunity for sellers to make a positive, lasting impression, to build trust, and to create rapport quickly. 

This is especially important for early moments in building a relationship virtually, like in the case of interviews and early customer discovery calls. 

Here are some key virtual presence elements to leverage to your advantage the next time you click ‘join meeting.’ 

What Your Zoom Setup Might Be Saying About You

In person, we pay special attention to how we dress, what we carry with us when entering a meeting, and how we shake someone’s hand in greeting. 

Virtually, these early considerations should be focused on your setup — things like your background, your framing, your lighting, and how you appear on camera. 

A recent study showed that people prefer real backgrounds over virtual backgrounds 92.5% of the time (HBR). If you are able, be intentional about what shows up in your background and find a clean, uncluttered space that reflects who you are as a professional. There is an opportunity to add in personal notes that can help build rapport and show your audience a bit about who you are as a human. 

This can be a great equalizer in situations where you may be fighting for someone’s attention. Showing them you have interests of your own is a powerful way to connect and distinguish yourself from whoever they may have just spoken to, or are speaking with next.

The other great equalizer on video is your framing. Height plays a big role in in-person scenarios; on video, height is irrelevant. But your relationship to the lens is not. 

Be sure to show up with your lens at eye height, indicating both an awareness of your surroundings and a respect of your audience. With your lens too high, you look up into the lens, making yourself look more childish and reducing your authority. With your lens too low, you are the one looking down on your audience. 

Finally, ensure you are not too close to the lens. Being too close increases the intensity for your audience and can even cause zoom fatigue. You want to maintain about two feet of distance between yourself and the lens. 

All of these things establish an impression of you in as little as a tenth of a second from the moment you join the virtual meeting (in almost all cases, before you have even said ‘hello’).

How to Leverage Body Language to Have an Engaging Virtual Presence

When you’ve set yourself up for success with your framing, lighting and background, you will find that you have a lot more space to leverage effective body language. 

At Virtual Sapiens, we like to refer to your virtual stage as your ‘playground.’ When your lens height and distance are correct, you have a lot of room to play and express. 

For example, you can effectively use your eyes to connect with your audience in a very direct and confident way. As a reminder, on video, this means anchoring your gaze into the lens when you are speaking. 

You can also use your hand gestures freely, without having to place your hands way above your head as you would if your framing was off. 

Our hand gestures are a big part of what help us demonstrate openness, trustworthiness, and energy. As some studies have shown, effective use of hand gestures also helps your audience retain more of what you’re saying. 

Finally, our facial expressions are highlighted on video. While we tend to reduce our facial expression variation on video because we can often feel unseen or like it doesn’t translate, in fact the opposite is true. 

With our faces being a core feature of video meetings, we can use it to our advantage by being clear about what we want to communicate to our audience. Specifically, we can show our audiences when we are really excited about something, or when we are displaying empathy or even frustration. If we are not expressing with our faces, our audience can often come away not feeling confident about where we stand, and therefore, how they can really relate to us. 

Conclusion

These are just a few examples of how we can leverage our surroundings and our bodies to effectively communicate on video. 

Today, important moments on video are often the first — and perhaps only — time we will see someone face to face. This increases the importance of developing skills that are appropriate for this virtual setting. 

Whether you are interviewing for a new role, or somewhere in the selling journey, mastering your presence on video is a critical piece of our professional toolkit. If you would like personalized feedback on your virtual presence, we invite you to get started on your virtual presence journey with a free assessment at Virtual Sapiens.  

Written by:

Rachel Cossar

Rachel Cossar

CEO/Co-Founder at Virtual Sapiens

I am a former professional ballet dancer turned body language expert. My company, Virtual Sapiens, leverages AI to help sales professionals unlock a new layer of communication effectiveness in video interactions so they can effectively develop trust and present with confidence in our new world of work. As a new startup Founder/CEO, I am drinking from the firehose on the daily:) BUT it is incredibly engaging and challenging (mostly) in positive ways. I love food and wine, travel (currently a digital nomad) and trapeze.

Unlock this content by joining the PreSales Leadership Collective! An exclusive community dedicated to PreSales leaders.
Read this content here ↗

In 2020, the pandemic triggered one of the biggest disruptions our workforce has ever experienced. Video became the only way to communicate face to face. 


Fast forward to today, and 83% of companies with 250+ employees invest in video conferencing solutions (Live Webinar), interviews are conducted on video 86% of the time (Gartner) and B2B buyers prefer virtual meetings as the top ranked method of interaction with sellers at 86% (Outreach).

Video is here to stay. 

In today’s highly competitive world, video becomes a massive opportunity for sellers to make a positive, lasting impression, to build trust, and to create rapport quickly. 

This is especially important for early moments in building a relationship virtually, like in the case of interviews and early customer discovery calls. 

Here are some key virtual presence elements to leverage to your advantage the next time you click ‘join meeting.’ 

What Your Zoom Setup Might Be Saying About You

In person, we pay special attention to how we dress, what we carry with us when entering a meeting, and how we shake someone’s hand in greeting. 

Virtually, these early considerations should be focused on your setup — things like your background, your framing, your lighting, and how you appear on camera. 

A recent study showed that people prefer real backgrounds over virtual backgrounds 92.5% of the time (HBR). If you are able, be intentional about what shows up in your background and find a clean, uncluttered space that reflects who you are as a professional. There is an opportunity to add in personal notes that can help build rapport and show your audience a bit about who you are as a human. 

This can be a great equalizer in situations where you may be fighting for someone’s attention. Showing them you have interests of your own is a powerful way to connect and distinguish yourself from whoever they may have just spoken to, or are speaking with next.

The other great equalizer on video is your framing. Height plays a big role in in-person scenarios; on video, height is irrelevant. But your relationship to the lens is not. 

Be sure to show up with your lens at eye height, indicating both an awareness of your surroundings and a respect of your audience. With your lens too high, you look up into the lens, making yourself look more childish and reducing your authority. With your lens too low, you are the one looking down on your audience. 

Finally, ensure you are not too close to the lens. Being too close increases the intensity for your audience and can even cause zoom fatigue. You want to maintain about two feet of distance between yourself and the lens. 

All of these things establish an impression of you in as little as a tenth of a second from the moment you join the virtual meeting (in almost all cases, before you have even said ‘hello’).

How to Leverage Body Language to Have an Engaging Virtual Presence

When you’ve set yourself up for success with your framing, lighting and background, you will find that you have a lot more space to leverage effective body language. 

At Virtual Sapiens, we like to refer to your virtual stage as your ‘playground.’ When your lens height and distance are correct, you have a lot of room to play and express. 

For example, you can effectively use your eyes to connect with your audience in a very direct and confident way. As a reminder, on video, this means anchoring your gaze into the lens when you are speaking. 

You can also use your hand gestures freely, without having to place your hands way above your head as you would if your framing was off. 

Our hand gestures are a big part of what help us demonstrate openness, trustworthiness, and energy. As some studies have shown, effective use of hand gestures also helps your audience retain more of what you’re saying. 

Finally, our facial expressions are highlighted on video. While we tend to reduce our facial expression variation on video because we can often feel unseen or like it doesn’t translate, in fact the opposite is true. 

With our faces being a core feature of video meetings, we can use it to our advantage by being clear about what we want to communicate to our audience. Specifically, we can show our audiences when we are really excited about something, or when we are displaying empathy or even frustration. If we are not expressing with our faces, our audience can often come away not feeling confident about where we stand, and therefore, how they can really relate to us. 

Conclusion

These are just a few examples of how we can leverage our surroundings and our bodies to effectively communicate on video. 

Today, important moments on video are often the first — and perhaps only — time we will see someone face to face. This increases the importance of developing skills that are appropriate for this virtual setting. 

Whether you are interviewing for a new role, or somewhere in the selling journey, mastering your presence on video is a critical piece of our professional toolkit. If you would like personalized feedback on your virtual presence, we invite you to get started on your virtual presence journey with a free assessment at Virtual Sapiens.  

Written by:

Rachel Cossar

Rachel Cossar

CEO/Co-Founder at Virtual Sapiens

I am a former professional ballet dancer turned body language expert. My company, Virtual Sapiens, leverages AI to help sales professionals unlock a new layer of communication effectiveness in video interactions so they can effectively develop trust and present with confidence in our new world of work. As a new startup Founder/CEO, I am drinking from the firehose on the daily:) BUT it is incredibly engaging and challenging (mostly) in positive ways. I love food and wine, travel (currently a digital nomad) and trapeze.

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