You are not the first person to think virtual meetings are daunting. From possible technical errors to awkward pauses, we face so many challenges when we are communicating during a video call. These challenges often stop us from exuding the confidence we would otherwise have during in-person interactions. However, what if we told you that you already have all of the necessary tools to unleash your virtual meeting confidence?
In the past year, research has proven that today’s professionals often struggle with virtual meeting anxiety, and find it difficult to perform confidently in front of a webcam. In this article, we will tap into your inner resources to help you establish on-camera confidence during virtual meetings and beyond.
Upgrade Your Mindset
As soon as a camera is brought into the equation, people often feel like they’re performing. However, the best video communicators know this is not the case. When speaking through a webcam, you are actually just having a conversation with someone a few feet away. It should feel like you are talking to someone across the dinner table rather than standing behind a podium up on stage.
Allow yourself to lean into conversation-mode and simply use the camera as a conduit to your conversation partner. Focus your energy through the lens and treat it as if It represents a person… which in essence it does.
Avoid Negative Communication Habits
How often do you unconsciously apologize? You might often find yourself using a lot of filler words like “umm,” “you know,” or “actually” in your speech. Do you tend to rush yourself when you feel nervous? Or, do you go back to correct yourself when you think you’ve made an error?
Avoiding these negative communication habits can significantly improve your on-camera performance. Remember to speak decisively, directly, and diplomatically. You’ll be surprised at how much more confident you feel simply by slightly adjusting your communication style.
Practice Makes Perfect
As cliché as it may sound, practice does make you more confident during video presentations. A few ways to practice include:
- Going over your slide deck as well as any materials you’ll use in the presentation.
- Recording yourself doing a dry-run of your presentation on your video conference platform. Play it back to assess your performance.
- Experimenting with your webcam set up. Ensure you have good lighting, appropriate framing from about mid-chest up, audio that is crisp and clear and a strong internet connection.
Knowing you will be showing up, looking and sounding your best, will help to ease some of your anxiety and allow you to focus on delivering a message with impact.
Dressing the Part
Dressing the part is an essential step in finding your virtual meeting confidence. Sure, we may joke about wearing half pajamas and half business-casual. But in reality, that is not a best practice .
Like what we always say, we want to “dress for the job.” To improve your virtual meeting confidence, you should always follow the general dress-code for your industry and match audience expectations. Remember, you may be in a more relaxed environment in your home office but that does not give you license to relax your level of professionalism.
Build a Positive Environment
With many of us working from home, where we conduct our virtual meetings can be challenging. Maybe your space is a catch all for clutter or perhaps you are setup in your basement which keeps the noise to a minimum but lacks natural light? If possible, try to have a dedicated area for virtual meetings that doesn’t require much setup. This allows you to get into the right headspace and feel more at ease.
If you have many distractions in your space that can’t easily be moved out of frame, you may want to opt for a virtual background. However, be sure to use only still shots. Moving images, like the ubiquitous beach scene, are distracting and will likely not give off the professional vibe that you desire.
You’re Better than you Realize
We often hear the phrase ‘fake it till you make it.’ But in reality, you already have everything you need to make it — you just need to know how to tap into that hidden confidence in front of a webcam. The key to finding your virtual meeting confidence is unleashing your authenticity. The less you think about the camera and the more you focus on delivering your message in your own unique way, the better you will come across. Communicate through the camera, not TO the camera.
If you want to learn more about how you can reach the next level of on-camera performance when speaking via webcam, check out my latest book Suddenly Virtual: Making Remote Meetings Work. It is designed to prepare you for the new normal of virtual meetings.
links to the best practice blog