Written by: Sarah Jones, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
How to pack a punch and influence when working remotely!
Due to the restrictions of lockdown, the professional landscape has shifted radically towards remote working. Unfortunately, the tactics and strategies of face-to-face interaction in the workplace don’t necessarily translate to virtual meetings. We can no longer depend on the hearty handshake, direct eye contact, and the nuances of body language.
The rules might have changed, but there are still powerful ways to convey confidence, charisma, and gravitas over video conferences, interviews, and online networking.
Preparation is Key
There’s nothing less dignified than being stressed and frazzled before an online meeting. It helps to dedicate 10 minutes to review notes, tidy your working space, prepare a hot drink and compose yourself before joining a conference call or interview.
The Importance of Presentability
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should join that video conference in your pyjamas. A tidy and put-together look is vital for a sense of executive dignity. Dress is smart, professional clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident, keep your hair neat, and don’t neglect grooming.
A clean, minimal background does wonders—and, of course, a clean working space. Make sure your camera lens is spotless and find a space with good light. To maintain an aura of professionalism, use a simple zoom name and avoid virtual backgrounds.
Video conferences come with a handful of technical difficulties. Connections drop, the sound gets distorted and audio distractions abound. To combat this, it’s best to speak slowly and calmly, enunciating with a strong, clear voice. This will distinguish you amongst the rabble and keep you from mumbling. Stay muted when not speaking to avoid distracting sounds from your end, and mute all desktop notifications before a call.
There are actually technical advantages to online conferences. The chatroom is a powerful tool you can utilize in many ways. You can send links to agendas, respond to speakers, and ask and answer questions to maintain your presence on video calls.
Body Language in the Virtual Space
Our screens may separate us, but that doesn’t mean body language isn’t as vital on video conferences as it is in face-to-face meetings. At home, we can easily forget not to hunch, swing around on our chair or fidget. Not to mention, the issue of eye contact has suddenly become more complicated.
The way to maintain confident eye-contact on video conferences is actually to keep your focus on the camera, not on your colleagues. It may feel strange, but this will look professional to your colleagues and keep them engaged.
Try to maintain poise and posture for the duration of a video call. It helps to avoid multitasking, as we can sometimes forget we’re on camera. And remember, the art of mirroring is just as relevant online as it is in real life. Subtly mirror whoever you’re speaking to, as this builds a sense of trust and camaraderie, even online.
Composition can make all the difference to how others perceive you on a video call. Take the time to position the camera at eye level and frame yourself properly. Your head and shoulders should take up most of the screen. Avoid too much distance, but be careful not to get too close, either! This will keep colleagues engaged and present while you’re speaking.
Mindset, mindset, mindset
It’s easy to lose sight of your worth when working from home, surrounded by family and clutter. The truth is, your value doesn’t change depending on the environment. You take it with you, always. Remember who you are and how much you’ve accomplished. This is the source of your confidence and gravitas. When you believe it, you allow others to perceive it.
Sarah Jones, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Sarah Jones - Published author, speaker, accredited personal & executive coach helps motivated, ambitious professionals & executives improve their career, find a new career, and help teams accelerate success & performance.
Due to significant early challenges in her own life, Sarah has always been tenacious, entrepreneurial & unafraid to speak her mind.
At times being the only woman in the boardroom amongst international corporations in her early 30s, she is a beacon of strength for leaders and individuals.
In Sarah’s former career, she was a leader in corporate affairs but founded Sarah-J Coaching to help individuals & leaders become their personal best in life and their careers.
She is dubbed the phrase 'regroup, reboot, and reinvent' - a three-step change process - having helped to pull out individuals from the trenches & into their own spotlight through her transformative and action-based coaching approach.
Her book ‘From Vulnerable to Invincible’ helps readers identify how to step into their challenges, reframe & learn, to launch themselves to success.
She also regularly contributes to the media such as BBC, The Guardian & Sky. She regularly speaks and has delivered empowering talks for Pearson Business School and Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).