Whether you’re looking to get a promotion or simply want to improve your presence in virtual meetings, it’s important that you focus on making an impact on the people around you because they may not know you very well, so being as visible as possible is vital.
Diedre McGinn, the founder of StepUpStepIn, an Executive and Style Coach, and specialist in Executive Presence and Personal Branding, takes us through her tips on how to elevate your presence in virtual meetings.
She draws from her work experience with global multinational technology companies like LinkedIn, IBM, and Oracle, and brings it to you in a few easy to digest tips that’ll help you be more visible.
I enjoyed working for big organisations and it became a big part of my identity, but about two years ago, it just felt very different, and I started to look at Embodied leadership and Embodiment as a whole.
Embodiment is about really getting into your body and tapping into the wisdom that is in our bodies, like our very own autobiography. Tapping into that made me realise that the things that I loved about my job were the people that I worked with and the people that I coached.
I would go into calibration meetings every 6 months with my peers, and we’d talk about how the individuals in the company were performing and also whether they were ready for promotion. Some of the time, I would hear “I don’t really know that person”, “I have no sense of who they are or what their impact is” or “I just don’t see them”.
This sparked a passion in me to create an environment where those individuals had the opportunity to understand not only the technical skills required, but also how to position yourself, and get a sense of how you’re seen and heard, and how your behaviour is perceived so that the people who make the decisions about your future really get a chance to see you and your value.
4 Things you can do to improve your executive virtual presence
1. Act – This is your gravitas, be conscious of how your behaviour is viewed, are you poised under pressure? Are you decisive and consistent? It’s important to exude confidence as this will give your team confidence that you’re in control and capable.
2. See – This is your eye contact and how you’re dressed. We make an impression on everyone we meet within just seconds of meeting them, and in virtual meetings – There’s a small window of time to impress, so it’s important to make an impact. You just have to make the time to put in that extra effort, and you really only have to make an effort from the waist up! Dress according to your audience so if the person you’re going to be on a call with is going to be dressed up, then dress up, wear a shirt if needed and look the part.
3. Hear – “Hear” is all about using your voice to get your message across, how you communicate, not necessarily about what you say. Remember to be more engaged than usual, be authentic and be yourself.
4. Feel – This is really the hard part in a virtual meeting. It’s all about empathy for others, our emotional intelligence as well as building trust and emotional connections. We can’t pick up on physical cues as easily online and that’s why, in this virtual environment, you really have to look for signals in the behaviour of others, pick up on subtle cues as to how they’re feeling and address any issues with care and react appropriately.
Dressing well and looking good is such an important factor in feeling good and exuding confidence, even if you’re talking into a webcam, it’s the little things that are going to make you stand out and improve your presence in virtual meetings. It doesn’t matter what environment you’re in, if you’re wearing clothes that make you feel good about yourself and help you to exude confidence then you are going to exude that confidence to others.
Colour is key!
Colour is really powerful. It has a huge impact on how people perceive you and also how you feel! When you wear certain colours, it affects you and it also affects your audience. Blue is the colour of communication so if you’re giving a webinar, blue is a great choice as it boosts serotonin, creating a calming effect in both you and your audience.
Red is on the opposite side of the spectrum so it creates passion and gets you going. Wear green if you want to negotiate, or wear yellow to inject more joy into your virtual meeting. Use colour effectively to enhance the feeling that you bring to your virtual meetings and engagements.
COVID 19 has left many of us wondering how we can improve our body language in virtual meetings. If you’ve ever watched the news, which you probably have, you’ll notice that news presenters always sit on the edge of their seats, their backs straightened and their shoulder relaxed, with a slight forward lean. In a virtual meeting, this can help you appear more poised, it also opens up your diaphragm, and allows better projection for your voice.
If sitting down leaves you feeling a bit ungrounded, you can boost your presence in virtual meetings by standing up, which will help to keep you centred and poised. Use some hand gestures but make sure you keep it controlled so you don’t distract your audience.
Bust out your yoga mat, connect with your breath, and tap into what’s really going on inside you. Introducing meditation and yoga into your daily routine could help you to get centred and grounded, ultimately allowing you to be your best, most poised self!