As the economy begins to open-up, one thing we can bank on is that video conferencing is not going away. For many it has been a new experience and often we are unsure how to “be” in front of the screen.
The list of YouTube videos teaching us how to dress or handle our make-up is extensive. It can be overwhelming. This new experience requires us to change our habits and to adapt our perspective. Video conferencing has allowed us to connect but it is not the same as meeting face to face. Here are a few tips and tricks (above and beyond what you look like) to ensure a strong presence: LOOK AT THE CAMERA Direct eye contact reinforces our message. In a video conference this means looking at the camera, not the faces on the screen. It is not an easy habit to develop, to look at the camera for the full meeting, especially while others are talking. But the more you practice, even for brief moments, the more comfortable you will become. SPEAK FROM THE BELLY Use a slightly louder than usual voice, because, in addition to being more easily heard, strong voices convey authority, credibility, and confidence. There is no need to shout - instead project. To do this take some advice from Grandma, sit up straight with shoulders back, and breathe from the diaphragm. ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS Whether dealing with a messy background or focusing on other devices, your reputation can suffer if you look distracted. If your office or work-space is cluttered you could seem disorganized, so clear out a spot. Some video software allows you to automatically insert or change your background to reflect whatever look you want. Close your email, turn off notifications on your phone. The most important thing is “don’t forget that you are on camera”. Video conferencing is here to stay and we need to develop video etiquette as part of the new norm.