Turn Your Camera On!


Are you sick and tired of zoom meetings? Me, too! It feels like twice as much energy is needed to be in a virtual space; I totally get it. On the other hand, this is the reality many of us are navigating. At least for the near term, we are going to be largely beholden to many more virtual meetings than pre-Covid so let’s figure out how to be as effective as possible. Here’s a suggestion: Turn your camera on. 

If you are in virtual sessions and want to make sure that your ideas, your authentic voice, your unique skills and perspectives are present, you must be fully present. Others in the space need full access to you. Think about it: So much of human communication is nonverbal. There’s power in eye contact, gestures, smiles. It’s also much easier to signal a desire to verbally contribute to an active discussion if others can see you, can see you about to speak or see you pondering a question that may cause them to invite you to share your thinking. 

I am keenly aware of the limitations of virtual meetings. We have to look camera ready. We need to be in a conducive environment that is quiet, well put together, organized. We can powerfully convey our personal brand when we intentionally approach the “look and feel” of our virtual presence.

A couple of tips for taking control of the look and feel of your personal brand in virtual meetings:

  1. Log in on time or a couple minutes early. If you have some meetings in Zoom and others in Teams, for example, give yourself a few extra minutes to make sure that your technology is configured. 
  2. Come prepared to the meeting. Know what the agenda is and how you anticipate contributing. 
  3. Find a background and position yourself, in one place, for the entire meeting. Participating in a virtual meeting while driving a car is not a good look. It is unsafe and distracting for the other parties. Also, everyone knows that you have limited ability to fully contribute. 
  4. Have headphones. You may not need headphones all the time, but have them handy and make sure they work, just in case. 
  5. Figure out what you’re going to do with your hair, then leave it alone. Don’t fidget with your hair (including beards) in a virtual meeting. 
  6. Expect to make your presence known. Don’t just “be” in a virtual meeting, camera off listening but not unmuting. Instead, show that you are fully tuned in, not multitasking and intentionally adding value to the conversation. 

I’m sure we’ll have plenty of in-person meetings in our future but am also convinced that virtual meetings are here to stay. Don’t let virtual meetings get in the way of bringing your full mojo forward--let’s show ‘em what we got. 

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