Have you ever felt a little self-conscious during virtual meetings? Do you have trouble knowing how to act during online interviews? Have you always wanted to increase your appeal to the higher-ups, even in a video conference?
For many of us, the next month or so will be dominated by online meetings and video chats. I even have one client who just went through FOUR rounds of video interviews with a major tech company—and that was just the preliminary process!
So, if your presence during video interactions isn’t that strong, and you’re looking for a way to boost your on-screen confidence, then you’ve come to the right place!
This is actually a skill that can boost your confidence in several areas of your life. After all, in this day and age, we work online, we socialize online, and we even keep touch with long-distance friends and significant others online.
The quickest way to limit your connections and friendships in the modern era is to deny the relevance of virtual communication.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to increase your comfortability with online video chats, and that’s what I’m here to share with you today!
We are a species that has adapted to become VERY skilled at easily picking up on non-verbal cues. Hence, body language is perhaps even more important than verbal communication during a video interaction.
In person, there are several other clues we naturally pick up on to get a feel for a person (emotional energy, etc.), but online, what you see is what you get.
Everything that the person is seeing on the other end of that video is distilled down to the most basic elements possible—so, you have to know how to handle yourself.
That’s not as easy as it might sound, however. Since our actions and energy are filtered down on screen, we actually have to bring out our actions a little more clearly for them to be read by the person we’re communicating with.
Unfortunately, the tendency for those with social anxiety is to button up their emotions and physical behavior. They subdue themselves in order to keep from getting noticed, embarrassed, or made fun of.
So, how do we take all of that detrimental conditioning and turn it on its head?
The first thing that will help you to bring out more of your natural energy is to fix your posture.
Everyone always underestimates the power of holding yourself upright when it comes to boosting your confidence and letting others see you as an open, engaged taskmaster.
If you really want to instantly boost your on-screen presence, then simply stand up! In fact, this is how I record ALL of my online videos. If that isn’t practical, however—or if you’re going to be in a long meeting—then set up a stack of books to prop up your computer and sit up straight at the edge of your seat with your core engaged.
When trying to grab the positive attention of someone, you must be energized and engaged, and you should also be in a position where you’re comfortable moving your body and gesticulating freely.
Fact: research has found that expressive gesturing is linked to being perceived as confident, capable, intelligent, and influential.
So, don’t be afraid to increase your energy and let your physicality out of the cage. It is almost certainly the easiest and most immediate way to increase your virtual attractiveness.
Close Your Other Programs
This might seem like a no-brainer (it definitely did to me), but I was amazed to discover how few people were aware of how noticeably distracted they were during virtual meetings by open browsers and recreational apps.
“I can keep solitaire open—no one will ever know.”
Yes. They will. Close your other programs.
First of all, you may have noticed that the light on a person’s face changes during video chats as they change screens. Yeah, everyone else has noticed that too.
Secondly, everyone you’re talking to will be watching your eye movements (it’s a natural human habit), and they will know when you’re scanning something, as opposed to paying attention.
Finally, if you’re not convinced that people definitely know your focus is elsewhere or that they’re turned off by this behavior (they do, and they are), just remember this: it’s rude. You’ve been asked to this meeting (interview, chat, forum, etc.) and agreed to show up for a reason . . . so act like it.
In short, keeping other browsers or programs open when you’re supposed to be engaging in an important conversation is draining your mental energy, stealing your attentiveness, and making you look like you don’t care about the other attendee’s time. Take one hour out of your day (or less) and commit your focus to that virtual appointment. It will not kill you.
Speak Up More
This is actually an important tactic to remember in ALL meetings—not just online video chats. In fact, it’s something I include in several of my courses, including the Career Acceleration section of Confidence University.
Unfortunately, for many of the people engaging with this channel, that’s not such an easy behavior to jump into. Luckily, there is a great trick to help you through your reluctance: ask a question.
Asking a question is the number one way to add words to your “speak up more” score, draw positive attention to yourself, and help to break up the monotony of one person monologuing for the entire video chat.
But what if there are no relevant questions to ask and I don’t want to waste anyone’s time?
Asking questions isn’t the only, easy way to increase your “speak up more” score—you can also just make small contributions to your word tally with every response you give. For example, when someone asks you a question, instead of simply responding, “Yes,” you can try, “Yes, that sounds great.”
Voila! You’ve already spoken up more, and it took precisely zero effort. In fact, you can even make a game out of it. You can challenge yourself to reaching a certain number of sentences, or just make a commitment to never giving only one-word responses.
Make this a goal in your virtual meeting routine (and all of your meetings in the future), and it will dramatically change the way people perceive you.
This doesn’t mean you constantly have to be interrupting other attendees to agree with them. Of course, verbal affirmations are great once in a while . . . but you can also nod, give a “thumbs-up,” or show your support and attentiveness through some other gesture.
When people are talking into a video, they’re not receiving communication signals as strongly as they usually would—this can be challenging.
By making other people in your chat feel comfortable and making it easier for them to communicate effectively, you are standing out as someone who other people want to work with.
In a way, this goes hand-in-hand with increasing your physical energy: the more you give the other person in the virtual meeting, the more they’re going to appreciate and remember your presence.
To summarize, give more attention to your body language, shut down unnecessary programs that are stealing your attention, speak up more often, and provide your fellow video chatters with positive affirmations.
These powerful tools are exceptionally valuable, not just in virtual meetings, but anytime you want to engage your peers, make a stronger impact, and stand out as a leader.
So, try them in your next video forum—you may be pleasantly surprised at how much more confident you feel personally and look to those conversing with you.
Thank you for joining me today! As always, I invite you to subscribe using the links below and leave your thoughts and questions in the comments. What sort of online meetings have you been engaging in recently? How have these tactics helped? What sort of other challenges are you facing?
Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.