More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic and many of us are still working from home. It looks like a way of working that is set to remain for the foreseeable future, if not forever, as more and more employers begin to recognize the benefits to both the business and the employee from working at home.
The problem for many people is that working from home involves taking part in video conference meeting - we have all experienced them: Zoom, Skype, Teams or whatever your employer chooses to use. These can be fine if you are a naturally gregarious and outgoing type of person, but if you are a bit of an introvert or shy, they can feel intimidating and overwhelming. While we can’t give you an alternative to taking part in a Zoom meeting, what we can do is arm you with the confidence to be involved and say what you need to say. Read on to find out how you can zoom through a Zoom meeting with confidence.
Think about your positionBy sitting in the correct position, you can give the impression to whoever you are speaking with that you exude confidence and self-assurance. Ensure that you are not sitting too far back from the camera as this can make you appear small and insignificant.
You also want to ensure that you can make eye contact with the person speaking, as difficult as that can be. In fact, it is one of the best ways of faking confidence, so even if you don’t feel it, you appear it. Either rest your laptop on a pile of books or buy a laptop stand to elevate it. This will also make it more ergonomic, reducing the strain on your neck, shoulders and back. A win all around!
Lighting is keyLighting is essential. The wrong light can cast you in shadows and be unflattering. The last thing anyone wants to be doing when they are face to face with someone on a video conferencing call is be thinking about whether their skin looks grey and sallow, whether the other person can see the lines on their face or whether their teeth could do with a set of porcelain veneers. When we do not feel comfortable, we often start questioning the way we look. A ring light can be particularly flattering; it is what YouTubers and Instagrammers use to give their faces a healthy glow when talking to a camera. If this is not an option, make sure there is plenty of natural light opposite you.
Get dressedOne of the benefits of working from home is that you can do it in your PJ’s if you want, but make sure you get dressed before appearing on a Zoom call, whether that is with your boss, colleague or client. Think about the 80’s power dressing - women would dress in a specific way to give them a feeling and appearance of power and confidence. While shoulder pads are no longer necessary (thankfully!), putting on workplace attire can make you feel more in control and therefore more confident.
We hope you enjoyed these tips. If you have some other pointers tell us in the comments!
M.E.L. is an attorney and small business entrepreneur whose mission is to help professionals conquer the workaday world with style and poise.
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