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Skype, Zoom, WebEx, Google+ Hangouts, Jabbster, GoToMeeting, Face Time, just to name some online tools that have changed the way we get to meet people from all over the world. An ease of use, together with an increasing importance of being aware of our ecological footprint, have led to the fact that in corporate environments as well, online (video)calls are more and more used, national and international. We see them in contexts of recruitment and selection, corporate alignment, business meetings, etc. Where videoconference was once limited to some exclusive boardrooms, nowadays we all have global access to online meeting spaces from our smartphone or desk.
But then! In many cases, all these resources really pass the goal. Online calls or web based meetings with close to no impact. No focus. No result. How come? And how to change that? It might be much easier than you think. Or not? Here are 3 too silly but true tips to get the most out of your online call.
1. Put on your video
Lazy as we are! At first I could not believe how many organizations have a culture of video calling without enabling the video. Because of what? Home office (as in working from home in your pajamas)? No make up on yet? Doing your nails? Or your mails? Or just because it is “easier”? Whereas I first thought it was only a matter of everyone putting the video on, I’ve come to understand it is difficult to change this unfortunate habit bottom up. Address this at the highest possible level. There is an impact gain of almost 100% when you add visual. With or without makeup.
2. Schedule one meeting at the time (and make sure the one you’re talking to does the same)
This one sounds even crazier than the first one, doesn’t it? Yet I know for a certain fact that there are people attending up to 4 online meetings at the same time. Easy when video is out by the way. Just focus on muting and unmuting at the right time. I used to have a coaching client where I, when working online even with video on, always had to ask upfront if I was the only one talking to him right then and there. We used to make a little joke out of that. I knew his ways ;-). Lacking impact? No idea why …
3. Dress up, down to your shoes
It is tempting I know. Especially in a home office surrounding. Just put on your business jacket and you look professional. In the beginning I myself used to work barefoot when working online. Now I know that, when I need to make an impact, I do need my shoes on. Might be related to my female high heel addiction but it makes me a stronger negotiator, a better influencer and overall a more powerful business woman. It is not what other people see. It is how you feel. And I can assure you, influencing at a high level in your pajamas might be a challenge. Unless it is your husband of course.
Enough joking now. Sounds silly, but the above is real. Agreeing to an online meeting? Request to have the cams on. Make sure you get full attention. No simultaneous meetings. No emails. No phones on the side. And dress up. It doesn’t get much simpler than this.
What is your experience? I am curious to know your thoughts!
*All additional tips are welcome*
Being a certified executive and personal coach, Sofie Varrewaere is associated to the Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching team and owner of the global executive coaching practice BigFish4.me. As a behavioral expert she has many years of experience in working with the top layer of several multinational organizations. Today she does what she does best, challenging others (and herself) to perform at their best.