Have you recently been in a virtual meeting and found yourself going to speak and then talking over someone else, rather embarrassingly, or trying to fathom out who's turn it is next and then waiting so long you didn't get the time to get your point across? Or do you find virtual meetings just plain awkward because no-one seems to take control or lead it?
Then read on.
Establishing your presence in a meeting where you are all sat around a table or huddled around a meeting pod, can at times be difficult. That's face-to-face. There are times when these meetings can be frustrating, especially when you have something important to add and you don't feel you have got your point across.
In a good meeting the meeting organiser will recognise this and draw you into the conversation to ensure that all voices are heard. This creates a truly inclusive meeting. Perhaps this seems easier face-to-face but there is no reason why you cannot establish a presence in a virtual meeting.
With the rapid transition to virtually 100% on-line meetings over the past few weeks, due to Covid-19, you may have found it hard to adjust and ensure that you are still being heard? If so here are some tips from the wonderful Harvard Business Review on how to elevate your presence in a meeting.
You can use these tips for interviews as well. An interview is just another form of 'meeting'.
Focus on your camera, not your colleague
This takes a bit of practice. We know that looking at people directly improves the connection between you. Look at the camera not the screen for some of the meeting if you can't manage it for the whole meeting. Try it.
Maintain a strong voice
Possibly think about using a louder that normal voice - we know that strong voices can convey authority. At least think about it when you are on the call.
Frame yourself wisely
The further away you are from the screen or camera, or if you are obscured, the less engaging you will be. Be mindful of what's behind you when you are framed in the screen and make any adjustments prior to a call.
Be present and mindful
Even if you have taken your turn, or are on mute, don't forget you are still in the meeting and people can see you. Try not to be on your phone or reading email - you might get asked a question and so you still need to be engaged in the meeting.
Don't become your own distraction
Try and get into the habit of muting/un-muting yourself when in a virtual meeting. Working remotely means that your environment or what's behind you can become a distraction. Consider switching your video off if you are moving rooms and mute when you are not talking to block off background noises.
Use the chat window as your partner
An underestimated tool in the meeting? "The chat window is a unique opportunity in virtual meetings to elevate your presence, add dimensions to your ideas, and demonstrate that you’re fully present."
Have a go and let me know how it works for you and good luck!
"Elevating both your point and your presence in a Zoom, Skype, or similar virtual meeting ........ means disabusing yourself of potentially detrimental misconceptions about the medium."