STOP The Distractions



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Gesture with Impact and Purpose NOT to Distract

Have you ever wondered what to do with these?  Suddenly we turn on our webcams and it no longer matters what distractions we make. It’s a question our clients frequently ask, “how do I gesture through a box?”

1st you need the right set-up. Position your camera or laptop so that your listeners can see more of you. The goal is to create a virtual experience that replicates an in-person experience.

If you were back in a board room with your listeners, you would never sit at the table at a level that only shows your shoulders and head. Why would you do it here?

The right set-up is possible with a few quick adjustments. Raise your laptop on top of books or if you have a stand-up desk you can adjust the height.

The farther you’re seated from your camera, the more your listeners will see of you as long as you still close enough to connect. If you’re working with your laptop camera rather than an external camera, adjust your laptop cover so that more of you is seen rather than your ceiling. You want limited space between the top of your head and your ceiling.

Once your set-up is perfect or as close as it can be, NOW you can gesture with purpose. This is more important than you may believe.

Purposeful gestures communicate credibility, interest and impact.  They increase the amount of information your listeners remember and how long they retain it. Let’s face it, influencing action doesn’t always happen after the first interaction.

Rather we build trusting relationships when we can show up consistently every time and when our listeners remember/understand our message.

Purposeful gestures get you there.


  1. Listen to what your parents may have told you growing up, sit up straight. Leaning on your desk or breakfast bar (depending on your workspace at home) makes it difficult to breathe from your diaphragm which allows you to inflect to create impact.


Leaning doesn’t allow you to gesture with purpose.  Rather we flip our hands which isn’t distracting at all. Or your listeners get a sneak peak of your fingertips when you gesture too low.

Give this a try – Sit up straight, open up your posture so that you can gesture from your sides and your listeners can see what you’re doing.  Be careful gesturing too close to your camera is awkward and you would never do that when you’re in-person.

You don’t want to constantly be moving because it will be hard to think on your feet and its distracting for your listeners. Instead have a beginning and end.

After making your point with a gesture – and your gestures need to match what you’re saying – come to home base which is your open posture. Your home base may be the top of your desk, arms on your chair or your lap.

Use a variety of gestures; larger, smaller, one hand or nothing at all. Variety is key to coming across natural and authentic.

Purposeful gestures create a visual around your words which increases learner retention; your credibility and impact.

How you behave in your virtual environment will transfer to how you gesture when you’re back at the office having in-person conversations.

Take advantage of the time you have NOW at home to practice building new habits that will get you in front of the competition when you’re back in-person.




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