Nonverbal Communications

By Heather Baldwin

The next time you’re in a meeting, take a close look at the nonverbal feedback that meeting participants are giving the speaker. Chances are you’ll see some raised eyebrows, nodding heads, glazed eyes, shrugging shoulders, looks of comprehension or confusion. It’s often that feedback, even more than the verbal responses, that determine the pace and direction of a meeting. Based on those nonverbal cues a speaker may realize he or she needs to stop and re-explain a concept or he or she might discover there is already consensus on an issue and that a lengthy explanation isn’t necessary. When you take away those nonverbal cues you lose a critical element of your meeting.

That’s what happens when you take a meeting online. For all its strengths and cost savings, most Web meetings can’t deliver the nonverbal elements of a face-to-face meeting. That is why First Virtual Communications (FVC) launched Click-to-Meet Express, a Web conferencing service that incorporates video of the people in the meetings. “With our version of Web conferencing you see the people at the same time you talk with them,” says Frank Kaplan, FVC’s vice president of sales. “It’s all about more productive meetings. It’s amazing what the visual cues tell you. I would say I probably get 30% to 40% more accomplished in about 75% of the time because I can see everyone. I know if I’ve got everyone’s attention, and I can tell whether they’re getting it or not. There are so many visual things that go on that you don’t think about.”

If it’s 11:00 p.m. and you’re in your pajamas meeting with a rep in Tokyo, don’t worry – you have the option to turn off the camera. Or if you need to sneak a quick bite of lunch during a midday meeting you can freeze your picture, chew your sandwich and then reactivate it.

Click2Meet excels in environments with distributed work groups of two to six users who meet several times a week. It’s not optimized for larger conferences, such as one person presenting to 100 audience members. For more information, visit