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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Communicate Online with Impressive Presence

I have been lucky throughout my career to have had wonderful mentors and would not be where I am today without their advice. They led me to believe to be successful in business or corporate life, you need to be effective at building relationships with your public both from a business and personal point of view – essentially personal public relations.

It is that philosophy that underpins what I do – helping others to shine – be their best – both personally and professionally.

I believe, in a competitive workplace environment, the need to create positive impressions with customers, clients and internal colleagues is essential. Right now, maintaining or building relationships is mostly happening remotely. And that “remoteness” does seem to be a barrier to really connecting, networking and building relationships. Have you noticed that?

Like you I’m meeting and communicating with others a lot more online at the moment and this week I joined two different Zoom presentations. Both presenters were prepared, professional and had presence.

The interesting thing though was that part of the audience attending were just not “present”. They were switched off either by video, not really listening (otherwise would have heard – please mute yourself!), turned up late or left early.

Yes, it can happen in a room where an event is happening also. I get it. We can be distracted very easily. However, if your livelihood depends on building relationships and communicating with others, or if perhaps you are being interviewed online for a job opportunity, then here are a few tips to help you communicate a confident executive presence.

Presenter. If you are the host or presenter, set some guidelines. Not all will follow but when you send your meeting invitation, along with the details of time and topic, suggest people turn on their camera and turn off mic and come prepared to participate if that is the case.

Preparation. Whether you are presenting or attending an on or offline meeting or event you would have your materials ready, conversation points, know and understand the technology being used. Know the difference between a meeting and webinar presentation. And turn up ready to start on time.

Practise. I think by now most people have gone past the camera up your nose or sitting in the dark and have at least mastered the basics of being seen and heard on Zoom or alternatives. If not, get virtual savvy now as it is not going away any time soon.

Presence. Has been described as displaying confidence, emotional intelligence (EQ) and authenticity. These traits don’t always come easily, however by working on your mindset, understanding body language, eye contact, good presentation and communication skills, you will display confidence and learn to let more of your natural style and personality come through.

Presentation. It should go without out saying but you should look the part. “Camera ready” is for everyone. Even if you are only dressing from the waist up, make an effort. Shirt, blouse, top, jumper or jacket – the choice is yours. 

Tips to look your best include wearing something that suits your personality, fits well, is in a flattering colour that doesn’t drain you or make you look old in the bright light, hair neat and tidy so it doesn’t detract and (for women) flattering make up. 

View my video on How to Be Camera Ready.

These attributes of building business relationships, effective communication and displaying a professional image are often seen as soft skills in relation to the more technical or practical skills required to do a job or run your business. 

However, displaying expertise in these behaviours will help you gain the polish that you, your customers and clients want and expect. You need to consider how others view you, both inside and outside of your company and what can be done to influence that view.

Having presence and making a positive online impression can be learnt. The upshot to you is your brand image will be seen in a more positive light and may help develop deeper connections.

Want to learn more about uncovering your personal brand? You can find out more by downloading my free video series, NOOK, LOOK, HOOK – 3 steps to build a stand out personal brand.

Sue Currie is a speaker and the author of IMPRESSario, Present and Promote the Star Within You. She is recognised as a leading authority on personal branding to boost image, profile, brand and business. Through her image management programs, workshops, consulting and keynote presentations, Sue helps businesses and entrepreneurs present an influential brand image.

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