Whether you are filming casual videos for Instagram or are coming out with your own video course you have to make sure your nonverbal message is as strong as your verbal one.
When we sit down to script out videos or write out bullets, we rarely think about how to use our body language to highlight our words. I am here to give you some really quick and easy tips to radically improve your communication and get more views on your courses or videos.
Here are my steps to improving your body language cues:
1. Show Your Hands
In my Power of Body Language course, we talk about how our brains don’t trust people whose hands we can’t see. You can use your body language to build trust by speaking with your hands. You can do this by demo-ing concepts using your hands and having them visible. This not only looks natural (people speak with their hands in real life but often get too nervous to do so on video), but also will help your students trust what you are saying. Here is a screenshot of me using my hands from one of my videos:
- When I talk about growth, I almost always use my hands to show expanding growth.
- If I talk about steps, I break each step down with my hands. This is powerful for two reasons: First, it helps the brain remember the tip. This is because you are speaking and demoing at the same time. Second, it builds trust. Showing your hands shows honesty and authenticity and really helps students delve into your course material.
2. Include Your Torso
If possible, scoot your camera back to get more of your torso and your head in the shot. This helps people feel like they are sitting across the table from you and having a chat. It makes you more relatable and will help people feel connected to your material. Don’t forget to use a microphone with a long cord so your students can still hear you! On our video set we have a marker for our camera set to show my entire upper body:
3. Take Up Space
The more space you take up physically, the more confident you appear and the more confident you feel. See this post on the science of confidence to see why. Here’s how to have confident postures in a video:
- Roll your shoulders down and back so you have a broad posture
- Keep your chin and forehead aimed up to be as tall as possible
- Gesture with your hands and arms to take up space horizontally
- Use a chair with arm rests to rest your elbows on—this puts more space between your torso and your arms and helps keep your shoulders relaxed.
4. Use These Body Language Exclamation Points
There are a few other great body language tricks you can do to help your videos succeed. Here are my favorites:
- Nod Yes: When you want to show how strong you believe in something, you can nod your head yes along with your words. This is like a nonverbal exclamation point for saying something positive.
- Lean Forward: When you really want your students to remember something, lean slightly forward as you talk. This is a nonverbal cue for paying attention.
- Point with Your Palm: If you have something really powerful you want the student to remember, use your whole hand to point towards them (the camera). This will nonverbally tell them to remember what you are saying because you are delivering it directly to them.
5. Do You Use Mostly Slides?
What if you use mostly slides? Don’t worry, I also have slides in my courses and YouTube videos. Just make sure to add video of you with these body language tips where it counts most. Here is where body language optimized video gets the most bang for buck:
- Your Intro: Make sure to start the video on you and not a slide. This makes a great first impression and helps with viewer retention rates.
- Your Big Points: Consider switching to your full view when you want to recap or highlight a special point. This helps students pay attention and remember the most important material.
- Your Thank You or Outro: Make sure that you have a thank you or conclusion at the end of your video. If you want to get more likes, comments and subscribers, you want to end with a personal touch—and this means that they have to see you and not a slide!
6. Learn from the Best
We also took a look at the body language patterns that online gurus use in their videos. Check out the most popular nonverbal cues of experts:
Hopefully, these body language tips will also help you feel more confident in your videos. Teacher confidence transfers into student confidence in the best possible way. Please let me know if I can help you with your body language. The more students we can reach, the more impact we are having on the world around us!
About Vanessa Van Edwards
Lead Investigator, Science of People
I’ve always wanted to know how people work, and that’s what Science of People is about. What drives our behavior? Why do people act the way they do? And most importantly, can you predict and change behavior to be more successful? I think the answer is yes.