Most of us have spent more than two years using Zoom (or Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, etc.) as our primary medium for meetings, yet our skill at mastering digital meetings has not matured. If we’d been in weight training as often as we’ve been using Zoom, we’d all be looking like The Rock, Dwayne Johnson. But for whatever reason, we haven’t built that Zoom muscle … and it’s impacting personal brands.
Here’s why strengthening your capabilities with this medium is essential for your career success (and for the sanity of the other people in your meetings).
- Digital meetings are not going away. Although some people are returning to the office, it’s likely that some if not all meetings will be hybrid—meaning that virtual will always be a part of them.
- Meetings take up a huge part of your work time. Exceling at this means that for a good part of your day you’re delivering exceptional value and making giant deposits in your personal brand bank.
- Meetings provide the best opportunity to build your personal brand with the people you seek to impact and influence.
- Mastering these meetings means making your mark. The skills you’re learning and demonstrating in meetings are applicable to all forms of video, and that’s the type of communication that’s best when you can’t be there in person.
Despite the impact or virtual meetings, many professionals have not bothered to perfect their digital meeting skills, often because they think no one’s paying attention to those pixels. Nothing could be farther from the truth. After some informal research with dozens of my clients across multiple industries, I now present the most egregious mistakes (the consistency in the responses was impressive):
- Not having the camera on. This makes you invisible, and that’s not a good look if you seek to impact, influence and impress. Plus, people in the meeting think you’re hiding something—or worse, goofing off.
- Not being in the right place in your camera’s field of view. It was cute at the beginning of the pandemic, but now seeing just your forehead or seeing you on the left side of the screen says, “I really don’t care.” The antidote is to position yourself on the screen using the rule of thirds.
- Using a virtual background without using a green screen. It’s weird and distracting to see you morphing in and out of the background. Green screens have become very inexpensive, and there are many portable ones that won’t take up space in your home office. Invest in one. It’s an outlay that will polish your presence.
- Not knowing when the mic is on or off. “You’re on mute” might be the most commonly uttered phrase at work in 2020, but sadly we’re still saying it. If you can’t remember, put a post-it note on your screen when you’re in virtual meetings.
- Sharing a screen with content that is impossible to read. Don’t make your colleagues struggle. Don’t use the screen as your personal teleprompter. When creating materials for online meetings, use 32pt font or greater, and limit the number of words they see. If you want to use a script for your presentation, keep it on a tablet or hard copy on your desk. Use the on-screen presentation to engage your audience, like an advertiser creating catchy billboards. If you do have text-heavy materials to share, send them to participants in advance.
Even when the audience is a power broker—like your boss, the person who has a big impact on your job assignments, your bonus and your promotions—many professionals don’t invest in building their brand through online meetings.
Surprisingly, many people who are interviewing for a job are underestimating the importance of a positive on-screen presence, despite the fact that 33% of employers offer an exclusively virtual interview process, with an additional 21% holding in-person interviews only for final rounds.
TopResume revealed what employers say are the biggest mistakes job seekers make when interviewing virtually (unlike my quest, this study was scientific). These mistakes include:
- Avoiding eye contact or staring into space
- Sitting in a messy room
- Leaving inappropriate tabs or apps open when screen-sharing
- Using an unprofessional background
- Being interrupted by the candidate’s family members
You were wildly professional and impressive in the real world. It’s time to polish up your Zoom presence so you can shine online.
William Arruda is a keynote speaker, co-founder of CareerBlast.TV and co-creator of the Personal Brand Power Audit – a complimentary quiz that helps you measure the strength of personal brand.
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The post The Biggest Mistakes People Make In Virtual Meetings And How To Avoid Them appeared first on WorldNewsEra.