Depending on when your community, business, or country issued a stay-at-home policy, it could now be weeks or months since you started working from home.
Not surprisingly, the way you ‘appear’ to the world has also changed. As work from home began and communication shifted to virtual conversations, most people maintained a level of professionalism when showing up for calls online.
Fast forward a few weeks and corporate attire is now being replaced with t-shirts, no shirts, shorts, sweatpants, and even pajamas. I had a meeting where a client refused to turn on his camera for an 11am meeting because he hadn’t even bothered to get dressed for the day.
People clearly present themselves differently at business meetings. Women are forgoing makeup and men are sporting stubble.
Adapting a relaxed, less-groomed appearance may be acceptable when talking to co-workers, maybe even the boss, but it’s not ideal when talking to a client or prospect. Before you even turn on the camera, you should ask yourself, ‘what kind of impression am I making right now?
In today’s environment of fewer meetings; it is vital that you present your best self during a virtual meeting. If it’s important enough for you to have a meeting, it’s important enough for you to do it right.
To be on top of your game, gentlemen need more than a clean shaven face and ladies need more than a little lipstick to put on a great virtual performance.
Here are some ways to convey confidence and authority by making the most of teleconferencing technology, the right tools to deliver your presentation, and some key techniques to consider when you’re on camera.
Improving your technology
You have already heard from other experts about the use of the different conferencing platforms available and the technical aspects of those services. I, on the other hand, want to share ways to improve your message delivery with some basic tips you can apply right now that will improve your professionalism when presenting virtually.
Whether you’re giving a big presentation or having a one-on-one, it’s important that you get the sound right. Be aware of remote sounds, such as air conditioners, which can affect the quality of a presentation being recorded. Turn off all audible notifications on mobile phone.
Avoid the windows behind you. Close the curtains behind you to avoid backlighting. Take a desk lamp and place it in front of you so that it is well lit. Soft natural light is best. If possible, sit with a window next to you.
you on camera
The camera sees more than you know. If your visual settings in Zoom are set to a 16×9 aspect ratio, it shows a larger area around you, so avoid having a cluttered desktop.
Know what is in the background. Take a screenshot of yourself on the camera and then enlarge it. This will allow you to see what is behind you, to the sides and even above you. Your camera captures more than you think.
tools of the trade
If the location you’re presenting from doesn’t have natural light, consider investing in a clip-on light that fits on your laptop, iPad, or smartphone, such as a Chatlight or Selfie Ring Light.
Not all presentations are made through your laptop or iPad. You may be required to make a presentation via your smartphone. One of my coaching sessions takes place with a client in China via WeChat. Holding your phone for any length of time means a shaky hand and a distracting presentation. Instead, invest in a tripod that frees up your hands and allows you to gesture naturally.
Remote pushbuttons for laptop presentation
With the technology that allows us to deliver virtual presentations, there may be a time when you are on your feet while giving a presentation. You’ll want to avoid moving back and forth within the shot just to advance the slides. It’s worth buying your own PowerPoint remote.
Let’s be honest, our family and friends don’t care what we look like or how we appear on a personal video call. However, when it comes to business, we cannot be so arrogant.
Conference calls these days need to convey professionalism and you want to look your best. Doing some of these things incorrectly could potentially make or break a deal’s success.
Even today, there are many people who are using these teleconferencing platforms for the first time. Know how to share your screen and make sure people can hear you.
Practice the presentation. Just because you’re not sitting in the same room as the customer doesn’t mean you don’t have to put in the same effort. Having notes in front of you is not your ‘get out of jail free card’ that gives you a pass to practice your presentation.
Prop your computer up on some books or a box if your camera is on the bottom of the computer. No one wants to look down their nose or look at the sagging skin under their chin.
It is important that you speak directly into the camera and not look at the screen, especially if you see yourself in a small box at the bottom of the screen.
Body language and gestures
Sit straight. Put a pillow behind his back to support him and sit up straight. If you have a swivel chair, avoid the need to rock from left to right.
It’s natural for your hands to want to move as you speak, so it’s okay to be animated. A word of caution and that is to make hand gestures close to or parallel to your body. The camera magnifies the size of your hands, and it can feel weird to have your hands go in and out of the frame.
don’t eat in bed
Do your best to have a meal before your conference call. Nobody wants to see you eat, not to mention that people can’t understand you if you have food in your mouth.
Every submission counts and every submission has a lot at stake. Get the most out of your virtual presentation by showing your best self.