Your virtual presence is important

Conference call virtual presence

How often do you turn your camera on when you join a video conferencing call? Do you find yourself dreading a video meeting? Or has clicking “start video” become second nature to the way you work now?

If you answered yes to either, keep reading.

The way we work changed in 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic forced many companies to close their office doors and send employees to work from home. For companies who didn’t already have video conferencing software, this technology transitioned from a want-to-have to a need-to-have in a matter of days.

As some workers have started going back into office buildings, businesses continue to plan for what work will look like going forward. Right now, many signs point to a more hybrid working model. Offices will still exist, but more teams will have remote workers, and/or remote work options.

This means video conferencing meetings aren’t going away. Accordingly, it’s important to develop and nurture your virtual presence.

Here are seven tips to elevate the way you show up on virtual meetings:

1. Dress the part

Have you heard the phrase “dress for success” or “dress the part?” Well, that’s because the clothes you wear can actually have an impact on your confidence, as well as other people’s perception of you.

Roughly 90% of communication is non-verbal. So, be mindful of how you want to show up.

2. Framing is more important than you might think

In countless calls, people cut off the top of their head, or position themselves too close or too far away from the camera. Sometimes the camera is too low, so people look hunched over, or like they’re not paying attention. It’s just not visually appealing for anyone on the call.

Test your camera beforehand to make sure you’re framed correctly. If your computer is too low, one simple hack is to use books or a box to elevate your computer to a level where your eye meets the camera.

3. Choose your background wisely

Just like your clothing, your background can show a lot about you. Not everybody has the luxury of a home office. Some people’s remote working area may be in their kitchen or their bedroom.

Wherever you are, make sure your light source is in front of you, not behind. This will light up your face so people can see you. In addition, de-clutter the space around you. A clean background will allow others to focus on you, not your surroundings.

4. Know when to mute

Being aware of your mute button is important. You don’t want to be caught talking on mute (I’m sure you’ve seen this many times). But you also don’t want to be the person that creates distraction for someone else when they are talking or presenting.

For example, maybe your dog starts barking in the background, or your kid starts crying. Some of these instances are unavoidable, but when you can, mute yourself when you aren’t speaking.

5. Make eye contact

You might think you are making eye contact when you are looking at the other meeting participants faces, but you actually are not. In order to give the illusion you’re making eye contact, you must look directly into the camera. Otherwise, it will appear like you’re looking down, or away from them.

It will likely feel a little weird at first, but with practice, you’ll get used to it in no time. Reading from a teleprompter positioned next to the camera can help with this.

6. Put some thought in, and don’t multitask

Think about each meeting and how you want to show up, virtually.

The way you join a call with a customer may look different than a brainstorming session with a peer. Similarly, your virtual presence may look different if you are giving a presentation versus watching a presentation.

But no matter what the meeting is, or who is in it, don’t multitask. When you show up fully and pay attention, other people on the call will notice. You’ll likely get even more out of your meetings too.

Remote work is becoming a new normal, and if it isn’t already, video conferencing will soon become ingrained into your workday. These tips will help you feel more aware and confident in virtual calls.

Challenge yourself to improve your virtual presence, even if just a little every time.