You don’t have to be Brad or Angelina

The Corona crisis, which took the whole world by surprise, has changed quite a few things in our lives.

We hug less frequently but we walk the dog more often. We scrub our hands tirelessly; we learn how to identify a smile by looking at the eyes while the mouth is covered by a mask.

We don’t fly abroad, we don’t go out to restaurants and pubs, we don’t meet our friends, but we are getting better acquainted with something we might have neglected a little – our homes and our families. And Netflix…

But if there is something that symbolizes this time the most – it’s the Zoom app, which has become, in the age of Corona, the main channel through which we communicate with our families, friends, teachers or students. And, the main tool through which we do business.

Do you remember the days you were stuck in traffic, at the mercy of the navigation app, hoping to make it on time to a meeting scheduled two weeks ago? Or running out to the store to urgently buy some milk and cookies because someone important was on their way to your office?

This weird, somewhat absurd, situation we experience these days forces many of us to do something we (almost) have never done before, something which does not come naturally to most of us and which might even feel scary and intimidating to some of us – to sit in front of a camera and speak .

Most of us are not De Niro, or Pacino and we don’t always know how to behave in front of a camera. True, we are not talking about a huge studio camera, lighting and a film crew, but rather about a tiny LED above the computer screen – yet, a meeting, as we perceive it, is an interaction between people who share the same space and communicate through words, body language and even touch (God forbid!) and not through computer screens.

So especially for you – those of you who are a little embarrassed, hesitant or are not that familiar with this media – let me give you a few tips:

How do I look?

You do not have to look like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie to look presentable. You are who you are. But the fact that you sit in your room at home and not in a fancy office building, does not mean you should compromise. Pyjama or training suit? No way. Flip-flops? It’s a gray area. Only if they are out of frame. Personally, I would recommend wearing shoes to get you in the mood.

Get dressed as if you had a meeting. Comb you hair. Women – wear make-up and jewels, Men – shave. And most importantly, even if you don’t feel comfortable, and don’t like the situation – keep a smile on your face.

One, two, testing

Before the meeting starts, check the microphone and the video carefully. Please avoid asking “Can you hear me?” again and again. If they don’t hear you, they’ll let you know. Before turning the camera on, make sure that the light makes you look good and that the source of light is not behind you, otherwise your image would appear dark.

Keep it quiet!

Those of you who recently chatted with me on Zoom, heard horrible screams in the background. In my case, nothing much can be done about it – I live in a village and the peacocks that settled in my backyard refuse to keep their voice down when I chat although I asked them nicely. Whether or not you are in a similar situation (fortunately or unfortunately – depends how you look at it…) do try to silence background noises which may interrupt the conversation. The dog can be kept in temporary quarantine, just like you are, and SpongeBob can be put on mute. And turn the microphone off when you are not speaking.

Focus – is the name of the game

Now it’s your turn to speak – turn on your microphone and camera.

Concentrate, maintain eye contact with the camera, sit up straight, look straight at the camera and smile.

In a virtual meeting it’s highly important to maintain continuous eye contact with the camera. You can still blink from time to time…

Stay focused and do not do anything else, even if you really feel like it. True, sometimes it seems as if the computer screen is the only thing in front of you rather than a real person, so you can look sideways, read your notes, play with your phone, read the latest news or check what your child is doing on the windowsill… But actually, you can’t! You are in a meeting, and you wouldn’t have done those things in a physical meeting.

Follow the Agenda!

Every meeting has, or at least is supposed to have, a fixed agenda, even if it’s a virtual meeting. You should have a clear timetable and you should follow it throughout the meeting.

If there is a scheduled agenda, pay attention to it. Try to adhere to the time allocated as much as possible and not deviate from it. Now it’s only you and all eyes are on you, even if it doesn’t feel that way when you sit in front of your computer screen.

When someone else speaks, listen patiently and wait till they finish. True, some people are impatient and just love to interrupt one another, but in a virtual meeting it will mess everything up, so don’t even try. Patience is the name of the game. Get ahold of yourselves.

I’d like to thank two dear friends of mine who helped me write this post, Colin Horner, The Digital Doodler, BNI member in South Africa, who specializes in supporting and summarizing lectures and contents in doodles – visual images. And @Leah Litani member of BNI Israel, Image Consultant & style 4 success.

פוסט זה זמין גם ב: Hebrew

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