How to Let your Personality Shine on a Video call

Make sure in the age of social distancing you are putting your best face forward.

Letting Your Personality Come Through in a Video Conference

You cannot approach a video conference like a normal meeting. You aren’t face to face with those you are speaking to, so you don’t get the benefit of that personal intimacy that can help form a connection. Instead you should to think of a teleconference more like a performance. You’re in the spotlight and need to get your point across. 

Don’t Phone It In (Literally) 

If you are given the option to call in or video chat always take the video option. Yes, it means you will have to comb your hair. It also means that people will not forget that you are in the meeting. Your face gives you presence. Your voice coming (occasionally) from a black box in the middle of the table does not. 

Put Your Best Face Forward

You may be at home, you may not feel great, you may not have gotten out of your pajamas in ten days, but you are now in a professional environment and you need to look like it. Any part of you that will be on camera needs to look its best. Comb your hair, put on makeup if you wear it, check there is nothing in your teeth, and wear clothing meant to impress. You can be in boxers and bare feet off camera but make sure what they see is making a good impression. 

Minimize Distractions

You are the star of the call, not your background. Make sure you are joining the meeting from a place with few to no distractions. The best setting is a quiet room with a blank wall as a backdrop. You want people looking at and listening to you, not your surroundings. If you are in your office make sure your door is closed, and if you are at home make sure all kids and pets are in another location. 

Remember to mute your audio when you aren’t speaking. You don’t want ambient noise from your location doesn’t accidentally disrupt the meeting. 

Be Present

You may not want to, but you need to look directly into the camera. You want to show those in the meeting that you are paying attention. If you are looking away or down you will appear distracted or disinterested. Oh, and don’t even think about multitasking. Looking at your phone or at another screen will broadcast to their entire meeting that you don’t care. That will make it more likely they won’t care when you want to contribute. 

Watch Your Speech

Like in any performance volume, pace, and diction are important. You want everyone to be able to hear you and understand what you are saying. You don’t want to waste time having to repeat yourself. You also want put some personality into your voice and avoid speaking in a monotone. 

Be Direct

Because you are not all in the same room you won’t have a natural flow of conversation, but instead will be taking more formal turns to speak. When it is your turn to speak hit your most important points first when you have everyone’s attention. This is not the time to add extraneous details or a lengthy preamble. Say what you need to and then go back to muting your audio. 

Don’t Fidget

This may be the most important tip of all. In a teleconference your face will be on a screen that very likely will literally make you look larger than life. This means every movement you make will be loudly broadcast. Things that people in meetings normally wouldn’t notice, like scratching your nose or playing with your hair, will become major distractions. Sit still, stay in frame, and keep your hands down. Let your words be what they remember not your fidgeting.  

Video conferencing is becoming more common. By focusing on the video aspect of it and perfecting your performance you can make the most of them. And then you can go put back on your pajamas.