It’s all very well developing your presence and impact for occasions when you engage with people face to face. After all, it’s so much easier to make a memorable statement when you can shake a hand, maintain eye-contact and give off the right body language to subtly convey or reinforce messages.
But when the option to be ‘in-person’ is taken away from you, as with the current Covid-19 restrictions, how do you manage to convey a sense of professional influence and gravitas via video – whether you’re working collaboratively in your existing role, or interviewing for a new one? Here are some tips that you may find useful.
1. Be prepared
There’s nothing worse than being late and flustered on a video call, so make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to prepare. Get your papers ready, read through your notes, get a hot drink, tidy up and generally make sure you are sitting down with a good ten minutes to spare before your call. This gives you time to compose yourself.
2. Take care of the details
Is your Zoom name professional? Is your camera lens clean? Are you sitting in a good light? Check the details first so that you won’t be concentrating on a greasy spot or awkward lighting once the call begins. Remember to turn the sound off other devices so that you won’t be distracted.
3. Remember who you are
It’s easy to forget the power of our CVs and experiences when we are working from home and eyeing the dirty dishes whilst on a video call! Remind yourself of your intrinsic power, worth and uniqueness. Your authenticity is a huge draw, and your experience and skills are of interest and relevance to the people you are engaging with online. Always remember to treat yourself with the same kindness, interest and respect that you would another trusted colleague.
4. Listen to yourself
It can be hard to develop a calm, well-modulated voice when we are first speaking via video link-up. So take a deep breath and record your voice. Can you understand what you say? Do you need to slow down? It usually pays to slow your delivery a little, lower your voice and to focus on your enunciation, especially without the in-person cues that you can rely on when sitting face to face with someone. Slow down and breathe. There’s no rush.
5. Do a practice run
Why not video call with a friend or trusted colleague to do a dry run before an important client call. That will help you to capture some valuable feedback about how you came across. Did you convey gravitas and professionalism? Did you have impact? Look for useful learning points.
6. Look in the mirror
Wear professional, smart clothing that makes you feel confident – and sit up straight. Get your appearance right so that you feel as confident and put-together as you would in the office or a face-to-face interview situation. Remember the art of mirroring too when speaking online – gently mimic your conversational partner to build rapport and a sense of ‘she is just like us’ familiarity.
7. Look behind you!
If your working backdrop isn’t smart and attractive then add a virtual backdrop so that the interviewer or colleague isn’t distracted by the sight of marauding children, dogs, laundry or general mess. Yes, we all know that homeworking during national restrictions results in an ‘interesting’ interior much of the time, but your professional image is so much better reinforced by hiding it!
8. Follow up
Remember to follow up in the usual way after your video appointment. Send a friendly email or a polite note to reinforce the excellent impression that you gave on your call.
Looking for help in building your online presence? Contact me today for a no-obligation discussion about your goals and to find out more about my professional coaching services.