(dpa) – When most of us give a presentation, lead a meeting or do a job interview these days, we do so in front of a screen. This means, during the pandemic, you can’t rely on your real-world soft skills any more.
There’s a lot of material online advising speakers on how they can come across as competent and professional – but what really gets through to the audience?
Basically, a lot of eye contact, sitting upright, facing the audience, are big factors in being perceived as more competent.
This is one of the results of a meta-analysis conducted by the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich on behalf of the Federal Association for Media Training in Germany. According to the analysis, this assumption was confirmed in 70 per cent of the studies analysed.
According to the Association, several other factors are also well documented in the various studies. For example, on-screen presenters radiate competence when they signal that they care – for example, by leaning forward or opening their palms. In addition, it’s helpful to sit upright – which helps you fill up the space of the room.
Last but not least, relaxing your lips and eyebrows, as well as smiling, contribute to perceived competence. Touching the nose and scratching oneself or other restless movements, on the other hand, are unflattering and should be avoided.
For the meta-analysis, 485 studies from a range of disciplines were reviewed in which the perception of competence and likeability of people in public appearances were examined. Of these, 87 studies were relevant, with recorded audio and/or video performances; about 200 subjects participated in each study.