By Shea Ki
Suddenly you might be working from home. Even Jimmy Fallon is having to make some major adjustments to showing up online for work during this #globalpandemic:
Maybe you are experiencing one of these situations….
Do any of these scenarios above fit your current situation? If so, I hope these tips bring you more ease and confidence so you can continue to share your gifts in brilliant, online ways with the world of work.
1. Set your intention
Think about how you want your time in your online meeting to feel. Take three deep breaths. Remind yourself, “I bring value to share.”
This takes all of about one minute and often leads to a much better experience. In my work as an interview coach, I have noticed this is the most skipped step. Why? Because we often feel so pulled to being "productive" and "getting things done".
Taking a sacred pause to align with how you want to feel before you begin any action is a game changer. This is especially true when you are about to share your professional value, as it also serves as a stress reliever---and don’t we all need less stress and more well-being right now?
2. Align your device and your body language
For casual calls, holding your phone or Ipad is fine, but for professional or school meetings it is better to have the screen in a stable position, not in your hands. This helps you come across with less interference, shaking, and bad angles (camera lens going up your nose is not a good look for any of us).
Be sure to adjust the device at face level. Sometimes I use a pile of books, although using a simple gadget called "a goose neck device holder" my husband got my family is amazing for keeping your ipad, tablet, or phone stable. Instead of going out for music lessons or other tutoring that my kids need, this device is suddenly being used all around our house. You can adjust the device to be viewing at any angle so the teacher gets an excellent over-the-shoulder view, without it interfering with their instrument or other project they are working on.
I also swipe the "goose neck" from them sometimes for my work calls if I want to do a meeting online but not in my office. Since we aren't going out of the house except for essentials during the pandemic, I like that I can clip it to a table on our back deck area to have a different zone to work sometimes.
Before you get your tech more situated in the next step, take a few moments to boost your body language. The devices you use will support what you communicate, but your body language is still responsible for over 50% of HOW you communicate through the screen.
Before you sit to go online, allow yourself a minute or two to do a few yoga poses you enjoy or power stretches that help you extend your spine, shoulders, and neck.
3. Adjust your camera angle, background, lighting, and energy
I often spend time with talented professionals on this step. It is so important that I usually refer to it as your digital handshake.
To me, it's the difference in someone learning and practicing an in-person handshake (sadly, those obviously won't be happening for awhile thanks to coronavirus) versus someone whose handshake feels awkward and less confident. Even if your kids or pets come busting through the door by accident, demonstrating you have done what you can to show up as a professional online can go a long way.
Just in case you haven't been doing these adjustments or are not sure where to start:
The few minutes it takes to make these adjustments can quickly boost your virtual impression and online, professional credibility.
An Example Of A Less Professional Set-Up
This screen shot below is a not-so-good example of angle, background, and lighting for virtual meetings while working at home.
An Example Of A More Professional Set-Up
This screen below is a better example for how to show up to virtual meetings, especially if it is for professional reasons. All I did was choose a different spot in the room I was in. Then, I made few other quick, minor adjustments with the camera angle, background, and lighting that make a big impact.
It still isn't perfect. Let's also give ourselves a break more often.
We are all doing the best we can right now. #decidetobekind
Now that you upgraded your how you visually show up for the online meeting, don't forget to adjust your energy. Here are a few quick tips to convey an energy of warmth and competence through the screen:
I run into people every week who might not be aware of what a difference adjusting these four things will do for their virtual first or 100th impression.
Now that you know, please tell a friend whose future at work you care about. You will be helping them stand out in a positive way for those meetings, client calls, lessons, and other business many of us are adjusting to doing more online.
One More Note: It Its Okay To Simply SHOW UP
We don't need to show up online with all the bells and whistles in place. During this global pandemic, we just need to show up virtually and serve as best we can.
Many of us are lower on time, energy, and space in our house that is now serving as a work zone, kids' school, gym, lunch room, food storage unit, and our partner's office. #wewillgetthroughthis
Feel free anytime to skip the steps about getting your camera angle, background, and lighting in a better situation.
But please DON'T skip setting your intention and taking a few deep breaths before you show up professionally online.
Try doing that first step consistently and see how it improves the online experience you and others have while you work.
Your turn: Are you working online more? What tip do you have to that keeps your virtual presence authentic and professional, especially during this global crisis?
Most of all, believe in yourself.
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Shea Ki is creator of the Upgrade My Interview™ method. Her blend of practical tips and holistic activities helps women interview in a way that feels authentic and gets results.
You can follow her on Instagram for career inspiration, interview tips, and the occasional lip-syncing silliness. Learn more about her bio, background, and biz here.