By Dannie-Lu Carr, for Magenta Associates
We have all had to adapt at the speed of lightening amid the current global crisis we now find ourselves in.
Suddenly, for many of us, we are having to work via video call when it comes to meetings, training sessions and conferences. In fact, we are probably more glued to our screens than ever before and yet not everyone is comfortable being the presenter in front of a live audience, never mind one we can’t even see.
In light of that, I’ve put together my top 8 tips of how to become more effective when you have to be the best version of you on these calls.
- Keep your attention on your topic – don’t let your mind wander to your inner critic (i.e. “how am I doing?” “is this any good?” “do they agree with what I am saying?”). Equally, don’t allow your attention to distract to emails and other documents when you are on a video call – it’s easy for that to happen but people can see that you aren’t engaged and it doesn’t support whoever is talking at that moment, which brings me to point 2…
- Turn up your active listening behaviour – remember that we lose around half of our communication tools when on a video call (we can’t see people’s torso, hand gesture, posture, etc, and they can’t see yours) so we are relying on facial expressions, head nods, and so on. Remember to show you are engaged. People cannot read what we are thinking so…
- Speak up! You don’t even have to say much if it isn’t your time for the spotlight (and in fact I would recommend that you don’t) but you definitely need to say ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘absolutely’ or other short vocal indications of where you are at in relation to the topic in the virtual room.
- Keep things engaging. Ask questions. Especially when the spotlight is on you and it is your turn to contribute. Encourage people to get involved. Give them time to respond. Use some of the features on the software you are using – the comments/chat boxes, the hands up features, the Q&As, the polls, the breakout rooms… there are lots of ways to keep video calls dynamic if there are more than 3 of you involved.
- Keep things relevant and on topic. Have a mind map and notes to hand if you need them. Have something to write on, too – it may be that a point comes up that you’d like to go back to but don’t want to interrupt someone else’s flow. If you are the sole deliverer, then use pauses, images and reference points to break things up a bit.
- Be sure to be specific and use names when talking to a group. Action plans and agendas can be very useful to keep things moving and ensure clarity. Do a check in at the end with allocated tasks to ensure that there have been no misunderstandings in terms of you is responsible for what. Also, give deadlines and details to ensure people know what they are working towards. Arrange follow ups too if people would like that.
- Acknowledge the situation and people’s individual challenges. Be flexible. Have empathy. Everyone is working with different challenges and demands and everything is happening in the same building for people right now. Recognise that. Let people feel seen and understood and work with them to be supportive. Use your voice and use it well.
- Keep your sense of humour. None of us are perfect and things will go wobbly at times. Ask for help and support if you need it with things like tech and delivery.
If you’d like more tips and tricks around this subject then let us know.
To find out more, register for Magenta’s free webinar on Thursday 16th April at 3pm – I’ll be going over these tips and asking you to submit your questions as we go along.