video call

How to look good on a Video Call?

Do you know what the year 2020 will be remembered for the most?

The year 2020 will be remembered for most as the year the world went online.

Zoom the online video company saw a growth of 1900% in just over 2 months . The number of daily meeting participants increased from around 10 MM in Dec 2019 to 200 MM in March 2020.


This trend is here to stay. ~50% of employees have expressed their desire to continue to work from home post the lockdown restrictions and many of fortune 500 companies are forecasting their permanent work from home staff to go up as high as 25%.

Improving your video call presence is important to ensure you continue to get the same results. We are going to focus on three aspects of your video call:

  • Body Language
  • Vocal Tone
  • Word Power

1. How to have a good Body Language on a video call?

Body language has the biggest impact on how you are perceived. Even if you do not utter a single word, your presence on the video call talks. Some simple rules to ensure your Body Language comes across as strong, positive, confident, and empathetic.

Smile  – Have a smile on your face. It is magnetic. Remember video diminishes your body expressions by 1/3 rd. Hence online you need to smile a lot more that you would have done in person.

Smiling Faces
Smiling Faces
Not Smiling
Not Smiling

Eye Contact – look directly at the person you are talking to or listening to. Maintaining a good eye contact builds a strong connection. It makes you look trustworthy and dependable. On the video call you will need to look directly at the camera. When you do that it will appear to the other person that you are looking directly at him.

Looking Directly At The Camera
Looking Directly At The Camera
Looking Away From The Camera
Looking Away From The Camera

Head movement – head movement while talking is very engaging. When you move your head meaningfully on the video call it makes your audience feel you are listening. A nod of acknowledgment a shake of approval are powerful expressions.

Moving Your Head In An Engaging Manner1
Moving Your Head In An Engaging Manner1
Moving Your Head In An Engaging Manner
Moving Your Head In An Engaging Manner2

Micro-expressions are facial expressions which last split of a second but leave a lasting impression on your audience. The flicker of anger, fear or disgust if seen cannot be undone even with a thousand smiles. AI allows us to split your video to 1/30th frame on a one second timeline. Giving you an accurate cumulative percentage of your micro expressions. Be conscious of the facial emotions you display on the video call.

Looking Fearful
Looking Fearful
Looking Angry
Looking Angry

uSpeek a powerful AI based world’s 1st Video assessment app can analyze your mock video and give you scores on all the above and more.

Body Lang 700x569

2. How to have a good Vocal Tone on a video call?

  • Rate of Speech measured in words per minute is a metric to see whether you are speaking fast, slow or at the right pace. It is also important to vary your rate of speech on the video call when you talk to keep the listener engaged.
  • Modulation- this is a measure of how effectively you are modulating your voice. You do not want to speak in a single monotonous tone, that put your audience to sleep. Modulation adds expression and feeling to your voice and keeps your listeners interested on the video call.
  • Volume- speak too softly people will not hear you and will find you passive, speak too loudly and you are seen as aggressive and shouting on the video call. Keep the decibel levels exactly right.
  • Articulate your words well by opening your mouth widely when you speak. That will improve your diction.

USpeek gives a decibel graph of your volume, a pitch graph, your rate of speech as well your modulation graph. Use it to baseline where you stand on your vocal tone.

Vocal 700x569

3. How to have a good Word Power on a video call?

Last but not the least word power. Words can create magic if used right. What you do not want in your spoken words is too many pet & filler words, long rambling sentences, and negative emotion. What you do want is to use a good percentage of unique words, I statements’, positive emotion and use some data where applicable.

Unique words spoken on the video call demonstrate a good vocabulary and keep the listener interested. On the other hand, repeating the same words again and again bores the listener and he is likely to switch off. I statements make you sound assertive and confident. If you use too little, I statements it makes you come across as not so confident and unsure. Too many I statements will make you sound aggressive and narcissistic.

Using data when you express your point of view is very impactful. Data speaks more than a thousand words. Wherever applicable and possible do enunciate your point with relevant data points. It makes a significant impact in engaging your audience over a video call.

Want to get your words to sound right. The good news is that uSpeek measures all the above plus gives you a transcript of your spoken word. Record your speech. Get feedback. Use the transcript to improve your word power. Record again, get feedback and the script, improve it, and do that again till you get it perfect.


Log on to to access the Web Application and try it for free!

4. How to ensure you are well prepared to take a video call?

  • Make sure the area you are sitting in is well light on a video call. Most importantly you should have light fall on your face and body. If there is less light the participants on your call will not be able to see you well and your video will look dark and gloomy.
  • Always look straight into the camera and talk on a video call. Do not try look at the video of the participants on your screen and talk to their video picture. Instead focus on the camera spot and look directly into it.
  • Sit upright in your seat. Do not slouch back and slip into the chair. That will impact the energy in your voice and also only part of your face will appear on video and that looks very unprofessional and casual.
  • Have minimum one-and-a-half-foot gap between the camera and your face. Do not speak right into your camera. Otherwise, it will accentuate your face, and is distracting and unpleasing.
  • Make sure you are sitting in a quiet area. If you are expecting noise on the call let people know upfront.
  • While moving your hands on the call make sure they are not in front of your face. Keep your hands away from the camera on a video call.


Getting your body language, vocal tone and word power right is critical to look good on a video call. Even if you follow 50% of the tips above you will find a dramatic improvement in how you look in your video calls. What do you find the easiest to work on? Your body Language, vocal tone, or word power? Do share your experiences in the comment section below and all the best. We hope you look your best self in your next call.

You can find a detailed slide deck covering all the aspects of: How to look good on a video call? Here:


How to write and deliver an Elevator Speech?

1. What is Elevator Speech?

An elevator speech is a clear, brief message or introduction about you, an idea, the team, or a company. It communicates who you are, what you are looking for and how the other person can benefit.  Its typically 1-2 minutes. Is mainly one-way. The name comes from the notion that the speech comes in a short time just like an elevator ride.

Powerful ways to use your Elevator Speech:

Let us look at an interview where you are introducing yourself with an elevator speech.

  • Step 1: Greet and introduce your name.
  • Step 2: Have a good handshake and maintain a good eye contact while speaking.
  • Step 3: Share relevant experience/ achievement that the person would be interested.
  • Step 4: Have a newspaper headline: think about your most unique selling point to this person.

Here is an example of an Elevator Speech:

Elevator Speech

“Hi! I am Nishi Sarna. I am a Network Consultant for the last 3 years. Before that, I worked for three Reliance businesses in India for 5 years. I am known for delivering highly secure and reliable networks.”

2. How to structure an Elevator Speech?


You want to convince your boss for a new idea which can save your company $20,000 per annum. How do you structure it?

  • Step 1: What is it about?
  • Step 2: Why is it important? Be clear specific and use data. Think about how it will impact the business the team and the customer.
  • Step 3: Why should this person care? What is in it for them?
  • Step 4: What will success look like in the future when we have achieved what you are asking for? The future should be clear specific, and action based. It is not about describing benefits achieved in the future it is about visualizing the future. What will people be saying, doing, feeling in the future once you have reached the destination?
  • Step 5: What specifically do you want this person to do? For example, attend a call, approve a budget, give you 15 minutes to discuss it further, convince others, empower someone with authority etc.
  • Step 6: What can they count on from you?

Steps 1-4 can be in any order. You want to pick out the most exciting information to hook your listener. For example, that could be a fact of some large loss that you are facing or crisis or it could be a future that you envision which will inspire a call to action.

For instance:

  • I have an idea that could save $20,000. Do you have a minute I would like to talk to you?
  • Picture this, six months from now you will see…
  • I can help you save $100,000 per annum. Do you want to know how?
  • If we are not able to fix the process, we could lose $200,000 in revenue.

A sample Elevator Speech:

Every year, the Association of Talent Development (ATD) has an international convention with more than 8,000 participants from over 40 countries. This year it has become digital.

This conference has workshops on the latest learning and development techniques, includes legendary speakers like Marshall Goldsmith and Ken Blanchard. Plus, it is an opportunity to network and exchange best practices.

By attending, it will help us in three ways:

  • New content for internal soft skills courses
  • Benchmark our training and pick up best practices from other companies
  • Attend a relevant certification workshop

Within six months, our training programs will be more digital, impactful, have cutting edge content and our training team re-energized with smiles on their faces and people talking about how much training has improved.

I need an approval for one participant to attend the virtual convention and one online certification course. This would mean an expenditure of approximately $3500.

Based on performance, I will recommend one person in my team, who really deserves it. He/ She will come back and train everybody else.

How did it sound to you? If you were the business leader would you approve it? I would.

Importance of Headings & Data points in an Elevator Speech:


People are poor listeners. We listen with 25% efficiency. That is why when we first walk up-to someone she may be deep in thought and we want their complete attention. Therefore, it is good to you use, do you have a minute? or Is it a good time to talk, as an opening line.

In addition, you need to help your listener by giving good headings such as:

  • There are three reasons why. One…two…three…
  • Here is what it is about
  • What success will look like
  • What do I need from you
  • Here is what I can do

2-5 relevant data points added in between what it is about, why is it important, and what success would look like. Data is tangible and stays in the listeners mind. Leaders need numbers to make decisions. Mostly everything can be quantified it just takes homework.  However, a lot of people struggle to obtain data points for their elevator speech. Let us look at a scenario:

  • In a global company a business leader in India made a case with the country HR (Human Resource) to offer additional money to an employee for cancer treatment. The employee’s corporate health insurance had finished as she started her second treatment. The first time around the request was rejected, saying if we do it for one, we will have to do it for all. Realizing the importance of data, the manager contacted 15 HR colleagues in other company entities. The data was an eye opener. Over 5 years 5 employees had been given additional money beyond their health insurance. So, the hypothesis that giving to one will lead to giving to all was proven incorrect and was shared with the HR leader. This time around her request was approved.

‘Where there is a will there is a way’ – this is very apt for almost every situation where we feel we do not have data. Commit to it and you will find it.

3. How to deliver an Elevator Speech?

Once you know what you want to say you need to focus on how you will deliver your message. There are three communication styles:

Passive : when you appear less sure of yourself and underconfident.


Assertive: When you look confident and are respectful of others.


Aggressive: When you come across as rude, overbearing and dominating.


Elements of your body language and vocal tone can make you appear passive, assertive, or aggressive.

3.1 The 3 types of Body Language: Passive, Assertive & Aggressive

You want your body language to be assertive. Here is a chart showing passive, assertive and aggressive body language.

Eye contactLess direct. Looks up or away often when he/she speaks. Looks like he/she is searching for words.Direct and blinks once in a whileDirect and never blinks
HeadTilted downward or sidewaysStraight and not tiltedChin tilted upwards
HandsClosed, Shaking or Swinging hands. Behind back. Repetitive hand gestures.Uses hands to make a more meaningful communication.

Hand gestures are unique and not repetitive. Frequently uses open palms.

Locked hand/s around body or behind back.

Points one finger often and fast.

Little or no hand gestures.

Talk with hands using linear motions.

Sitting PostureLeans backwards or leans extremely far forward as if bowing.Sits upright and straight or leans slightly forward.Sits upright and straight but has less personal distance between self and camera/others.


HabitHand crossed on leg creates a barrier and looks less confident.Shaking of leg (shows restlessness or impatience).
Standing PostureHunches over. Stands with weight on one leg or the other. Shifts weight frequently between both legs.Stands upright with feet equally balanced.Stands upright and very straight as if towering over. Standing with your feet too far apart.
FaceRelaxed calm facial expressions. But, not animated and more serious with less smiling.Smiles frequently. Looks empathetic.  Has warm facial expressions.Looks profoundly serious. Rarely smiles and face looks flat.


3.2 The 3 types of Word Choice: Passive, Assertive & Aggressive

Sentences beginning with I statements


Less use of I statementsFrequent use of I statementsOveruse of “I” statements and “You” statements.
Repeated words and fillersMany repeated words and fillers (um, ah, you know, etc.)No fillers are used.Very crisp and to the point. No fillers are used.
Duration of talk.


LongAppropriate lengthNoticeably short length.
Data is used.


Less data used and sounds tentative with maybe, approximately, we will try, etc.Several important data points are used which add strength to message.Data points focused on bottom line.
Sentence length


Words often used


· Think about it

· Take your time. Think it over.

· Help you out; help me out

· Logical, step-by-step

· Trust me

· Guarantee

· Promise

· Here are the facts

· Proven

· The data shows

· No risk

· I need…

· Paraphrase

· Explores both needs

· Picture this.

· Asks questions to understand your need

· Win

· Results

· Lead the field

· Be the best

· Challenge

· Bottom line

· Benefits

· Fast, Now

· Immediate

· Today

· New & unique

3.3 The 3 types Vocal Tone: Passive, Assertive & Aggressive



PitchReally high pitchModerate pitchDeep/Low pitch


Rate of Speech


Very slow rate of speech


Moderate rate of speechExtremely fast rate of speech
Vocal Clarity

(manual or drop)


Less clarity. Words maybe mumbled and soft.


Easy to understand every word. Volume is the right level.Easy to understand every word but volume is louder.
ModulationVoice is flat in tone.


Voice has ups and downs and emphasizes on different words with good pauses.Voice has a commanding tone and is flat.


Summarizing, your elevator speech has 6 parts:

  • What is it about?
  • Why is it important?
  • Why should I care?
  • What would success look like?
  • What do you need from me?
  • What can I count on from you?

Remember it is not only what you say but it is also how you say it, that is critical.

Here are three closing tips for your elevator speech:

  • Use assertive language. State what you need from the other person. For example, I need 15 minutes of your time to discuss this further. Avoid rambling and asking for permission. You need to sound confident and that you believe you can do it.
  • Your last three or four sentences are paramount. Your listener will be greatly influenced by how you close.
  • Offer something on the table that you can do as part of your own commitment such as, finishing the deliverable by a certain date or committing a large percentage of your time etc.


Go to to get your elevator speech scored.