Nod, Blink And Smile Like An Idiot

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How to show up, present and lead in video conferences

In the third instalment of our New Ways of Leading in a Changed World series, we talk to leadership mentor, coach, and keynote speaker, Dr Louise Mahler. 

Dr Mahler discusses the importance of body language and how we use our voice when we’re connecting via video. From the participant who lay down during video meetings because it wasn’t “authentic” to stay seated in front of the camera, to why you should keep blinking to avoid looking like a potential serial killer, Dr Mahler guides us through how to engaged on a video call.

With over a decade as a professional opera singer complimenting her PhD in Business, Dr Louise knows her stuff when it comes to how voice and body language and how they influence the way we lead and engage with others. 

She believes that in the video revolution of 2020, many people have forgotten about the importance of their voice when communicating — not only what they’re saying, but how they’re saying it. 

“The voice carries a huge percentage -- and body and voice are inextricably linked,” she says.

“Our body and voice, especially in emotional situations, carry almost all of the communication.”

Highlighting the differences between face-to-face communication and video conferencing, Dr Louise offers some advice on behaviours that can start to fray participants around the edges.

“I’m hearing it, from the lowest level to the highest level, that people are saying waffle is driving them nuts. People are coming on without an agenda and just waffling with no structure,” she says.

This wasted time adds to the anxiety of people threatened by the intimacy of the camera.

“I’m getting a lot of calls from people who are saying that they’re very nervous, and too stressed to actually engage in this environment. They’re freaking out with performance anxiety.”

Dr Mahler talks through different approaches to engaging on video — including how to avoid looking like a serial killer — and the key to polishing up your video conference skills.

“Practice. Practice, Practice…. I don’t encourage people to practice in the mirror or on camera, because watching yourself back, we tend to be too critical.”

Pexip-ADL-MELThis episode was filmed with interviewer Ben Campbell in Adelaide, and Dr Louise Mahler in (until recently) locked down Melbourne, Australia - using Pexip video to bring everyone together.

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