“Having danced with Boston Ballet for 10 years, I’ve always been fascinated with the power that we have as humans to communicate without the use of words,” Cossar told Fortune. “And when the pandemic happened and all of a sudden we moved from communicating in person to communicating over video, I was also fascinated with how body language would translate over this new channel.”Cossar cofounded Virtual Sapiens alongside chief technology officer Neal Kaiser in 2020 to help business professionals improve their body language on video calls. Billed as a “personal communication coach,” the AI monitors everything from hand gestures to speech speed in real time and offers specific feedback on how to appear more authoritative, engaged, or persuasive on-screen. Suggestions include, “Be mindful of your posture,” “Look into the lens when talking,” and “Try not to touch your face.”
Scientists agree nonverbal cues play a huge role in communication, and some say they can be than the actual words spoken. But making a connection on Zoom can be difficult, especially because some of the social cues that come naturally when communicating in person don’t translate so easily to video calls. To have the appearance of making eye contact on Zoom, for example, someone must look into the camera rather than at the other person’s face on the screen. By offering real-time suggestions, Virtual Sapiens gives users the choreography to make a lasting impression.“If you think of a client-facing professional, like a sales professional or a customer success professional, our technology helps them improve their awareness, their confidence, their comfort on video, so they can show up and have the impact that they’re looking to have,” said Cossar, who serves as the CEO of Virtual Sapiens. “A virtual presence that aligns with the message you’re trying to send is the difference between landing a sale or not,” she added. “If you’re leaving moments of connection on the table, you’re losing out on massive opportunities for success.” Learn more about Virtual Sapiens and meet a professional coach who is using the tool in the video above.