the ABC’s of Higher Impact on ZOOM
COVID 19 and Community Quarantine across the world has had a major impact on how we run meetings. Up until seven weeks less than 10% of us worked from home. Last week MIT ran a survey on 25,000 executives and found that nearly 35% of them have hopped on the virtual workspace and are working from home.
After these tough times are over and I do believe that this too shall pass but working virtually and business meeting on Zoom and other platforms will become the new normal. Most all the skills and competencies that we’d learned in the past for connecting, engaging and influencing small and large audiences will have to be flipped around to fit onto laptop screen or a handheld phone.
Here are a few ABC’s of higher impact and influence on Zoom which you may find handy in these fast-changing times.
First, the A about you appearance:
- Dress and groom yourself appropriately for the kind of meeting you are going to participate in. Had the real-life, physical meeting called for business formal then, from home, wear at least business casual clothing. My preferred colors are plain with no prints and usually on the dark side.
- Make sure that your workspace and background looks presentable and is not too distracting. On Zoom there are features which will allow you to create virtual backgrounds like on a green screen but this sometimes chips away at the outlines of your face. So be careful and test it first.
- When you face the camera, make an effort to sit upright and look straight into the tiny camera most off the time. Make it also a point to fill up at least 50% of the screen real estate. Do also make sure to sit facing the light rather than having a light drop in from behind, above or below you.
Second, the B, about behavior:
- Do remember that you are on camera and the camera watches you 100% of the time mercilessly and without blinking. There’s also a good chance that the host of the meeting, if not you, maybe recording the meeting.
- Thus, stay focused, fresh and attentive. That means manage your movements and keep your gestures close enough to stay in the frame. Refrain from twitching, scratching, grimacing, making a face, raising your eyebrows etc. Do remember that action speaks louder than words. In this case of virtual meeting even your micro-gestures will get magnified and caught on tape and remembered forever.
- If it helps keep a notepad by your side to help you with your talking points and point to remember from the meeting. This will help you stay focused, structured and will subdue unnecessary non-verbal communication.
Third, the C, for communications:
- Our words create our worlds. Words once uttered out cannot be withdrawn, erased or deleted. My father, a tailor by profession, used to always say “measure twice, cut once.” Same is true for speaking out. Before speaking out listen thrice as much, think twice and then speak once.
- When you speak a few decibels louder than your usual and speak a wee bit slower than you normally do. Pause often and take longer pauses after expressing a thought or an idea.
- In the physical world good pausing adds drama and increases impact. In the virtual world it does all that plus it allows you to check the smiles, the nods and the responses of scores of faces on your laptop screen.
Lastly, the most important ABC’s of higher impact and influence in virtual meeting is that for heaven’s sake sit down or stand upright calmly during a virtual meeting. One time, I was in this online meeting of speakers and trainers from across the world when one of the ladies was jogging on the streets of her hometown while talking to all of us. Though I was properly seated at home all that bouncing and jiggling of one of the little images on my screen was giving me motion sickness. It was terrible.
Anyway, I hope these ABC’s of higher impact and influence in virtual meeting help you. I also hope that we, all the people of this beautiful earth come out on top of this current crisis quickly and safely. I am sure it will be a brand new and a better world that we will be living in from here on.
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