|Author Name:||Joel Garfinkle|
|Date:||Nov 01 2020|
About a third of U.S. employees have now transitioned to working remotely, says Smithsonian Magazine. That includes a large proportion of people in office jobs, who are now learning how to navigate the video conferencing landscape—with mixed results.
As a leader, you may be wondering how you can exude executive presence on video conference calls. Just when you thought you’d started radiating confidence in real life, the fast-paced changes that society has been going through have thrown you through a loop. Now, you find yourself struggling to understand how you can come across as poised, persuasive, and charismatic on a screen.
Executive presence is vitally important, whether you are meeting in-person or having a video conference call. I’ve been conducting executive coaching and virtual webinars on the subject of executive presence. Here are the key tips I give these leaders about how to radiate executive presence on video calls.
Brevity is even more important on camera than in person, because people’s attention will waver more quickly. Practice how you’ll say what you want to say in advance, so you’re never fumbling for words on camera.
Rather than letting your eyes wander to your own image, make sure to look at the camera the majority of the time, particularly as you’re speaking and silently giving others acknowledgement. It will probably feel awkward at first, but it will show that you’re listening intently or speaking with confidence.
Since nonverbal expressions don’t translate well on video platforms, it’s critical to express yourself in ways that actually work. Varying your tone according to the issue at hand, sharing decisive statements about how you feel, and using animated facial expressions to show your enthusiasm or displeasure with an idea will all convey your emotions more clearly.
Think of a great story that could introduce the concept you’re about to present on. Go the extra mile to grab your audience’s attention. Captivating stories or anecdotes will keep others engaged instead of zoning out.
Even if the camera makes you feel distant, work to connect with others in meetings. You’ll build your charisma as you show an interest in how they’re doing and what they’ve been working on. Start the meeting off by asking people to take turns sharing what they’ve been doing over the past week, and say something affirming to each one.
If you talk with your hands, realize that it doesn’t usually translate well onto camera. On a video conference, moving hands constantly come in and out of the picture, which distracts from rather than reinforcing your message. Nervous gestures like tapping your fingers are also distracting.
Using good posture will show you’re confident and in command—plus, it’s good for you. Place the camera so it’s level with your eyes when you’re sitting up straight with shoulders back.
This will vastly improve the quality of your delivery. The microphone in a computer can sometimes make the speaker’s voice sound tinny and distant, undermining your efforts to radiate gravitas, while a good mic can make it sound more like you’re in the room.
Make sure that no one else is moving around or working behind you, and choose a place that’s not too visually “busy.” If you use a wallpaper offered by your videoconferencing platform, make sure it’s a tranquil background rather than a loud color or pattern.
Make sure you’re lit from the front with soft lighting for the best effect. Choose a spot with soft natural lighting that you can dim if needed, and if need be, invest in a small lighting option as well. When your image “pops” on camera rather than falling into the shadows, you’ll come across as more charismatic and confident.
Demonstrating executive presence on your video conference calls means showing you care about what each person thinks. It can be tough to read the room on a video call to know when it’s a good time to speak up. If some group members aren’t making their voices heard, make more space for them. Ask, “Does anyone we haven’t heard from yet want to share their thoughts on this issue?”
Mastering the art of videoconferencing does take effort, but as you use these tactics, you’ll come across as the leader your people need in this moment. You’ll also lead more effective calls that keep everyone’s attention focused, build comradery, and ensure everything moves along smoothly.
As the world goes remote, it’s vital that you assert your executive presence on video conference calls.
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