Nonverbal cues are essential to effective communication. When interacting with a colleague or client in person, it’s easy to tell when the other person has something to say by picking up on nonverbal cues like body movements, facial expressions, eye contact and hand gestures. When meeting with a group of people, there are more moving parts, but the conversation usually carries on successfully because you’re all in the same room and actively participating in interpersonal, nonverbal communication.

With video conferencing, it’s not always that simple. While you can generally maintain awareness of facial expressions and body language when meeting face to face with one person or a small team, it becomes more challenging as the attendee list increases in size. If you’re the speaker, you are likely focused on delivering your message or presentation to the people in the room more so than the participants on screen. If you’re a participant, a subtle cue that you have a question or comment can easily go unnoticed when you don’t have the attention of the speaker or, in larger meetings, aren’t pictured on the screen at all.

With that in mind, we’ve added a new Raise Hands feature to our Lifesize desktop, web and mobile apps as well as to our guest experience for Apple Safari®, Google Chrome® and Microsoft® Edge browsers.

Raise Hands allows participants to communicate with the meeting organizer or moderator without commandeering the proceedings. With the simple tap of a button, your virtual hand is raised, and a notification appears to indicate you have a question or comment to be addressed. The speaker can then respond at their discretion — perhaps in real time but most likely at a more opportune moment that’s not in the middle of making an important point. After all, isn’t that when the disruptions always tend to occur?

In addition to enabling participants to speak up without speaking out, Raise Hands provides moderators with the tools to manage meetings better. Participants with raised hands can be easily identified by the hand icons next to their names in the participants list or filtered out from all participants with a single click. Moderators can also lower hands individually or lower all hands simultaneously if questions have been addressed or are no longer being accepted.

Speaking of moderators, with another recent update, any admin or superuser for your Lifesize account can now moderate any meeting they join. With this increased control, assigning moderator privileges to your most trusted personnel is no longer required on a meeting-by-meeting basis.

Look for more updates in the weeks and months ahead as we continue to improve our Lifesize video conference call services and customer experiences!