As you reorder your professional and personal lives from home, do you seem authentically relatable on the work front? A CBS News story reports that half of American workers have turned to working from home. And, apparently, it’s pretty stressful. In fact, 51% of workers surveyed by Monster.com say they are experiencing burnout while working from home. Not to stress you out any more than you might already be, but stress will translate through your video interactions. That said, there are ways to ensure that you seem authentically relatable and not stressed.
To Video or Not to Video – That is the Question
While it’s entirely likely that video meetings have become overwhelming, they are crucial for maintaining a strong bond between workers. An important consideration is ensuring not to overuse video meetings so that their importance does not become diluted. Use video meetings for higher level communication where seeing one another adds context, and creates more connection between meeting attendees. Then text message when the communication doesn’t require layers of context.
One radical and unintended outcome, especially for introverts, is that video meetings have made it impossible to hide any more. Now, whether it was your goal or not, you can be a video meeting star! This has forced camera-shy people to confront fears, but often without guidance or support. Help is available if you need it. And I’m not talking about using the right lighting source, framing the camera the right way, or other mechanical issues.
People who aren’t used to showing up on camera have special challenges, but also big new opportunities. Introverts aren’t supposed to turn into extroverts. Advice like that is horrible. People known as introverts must show up that way in video meetings, exactly as they do in face-to-face meetings. The key is the camera.
My pro tip to ensure that you seem authentically relatable is to switch the view so that you aren’t looking at yourself on screen. You’ll be far less self-conscious, at least no more than when you meet with others in person. The only time when you need to see yourself on camera is when you sit down to participate in a meeting and you want to check out your setup before joining in. You’ll appreciate having the extra time beforehand so you’re not self-conscious. That tip is equally as valuable for extroverts.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings – On Camera
Do you seem authentically relatable based on the environment you set up to conduct your video meetings? It’s important to adjust your environment that people see on video to create a level of intimacy. The focus should be centered on your presence so that you can continue to inspire others from a distance. This isn’t necessarily the moment to show off or one-up others. This is actually a time for humility, sensitivity, and empathy. People need focus and inspiration.
You’ve Got the Look – Or, Do You?
Along with losing the office environment, many people have also hung up their typical work clothes. A retreat away from literally looking like it’s business as usual is expected now. If you want a very good and funny read, check out this New York Times article about the Zoom wardrobe. What you wear now on video meetings is actually just as important as ever. Making connections in a virtual world is the “now norm.” So, what you wear can really impact how you connect, show empathy, and even deepen connections with others.
When it comes to what to wear, it’s important to consider whether you need to talk or listen. Or if you need to lead with confidence or inspire. Is it a time to be forceful or to relate in a more personal way? Thinking about the kind of communication you intend to have will help you make the right wardrobe choice. From the comfort of home, you can strike the right look and setting to make sure you seem authentically relatable.