You do business with people you know, like and trust. Right? And no doubt you understand that in a competitive business environment, the need to create positive impressions with customers and clients is essential. Right now, in this new reality, 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. It is how a lot of work and business is done and it is not going away any time soon. Fortunately, the days of – please mute yourself! – have mostly disappeared. So how do you manage your online presence and image in this new reality?
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, 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, then here are a few tips to help you communicate a confident professional, online 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, unless you are wanting comments from them and come prepared to participate in breakout rooms 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 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 saying that 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 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.
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 business 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 will help you build relationships and develop deeper connections.
Learn more about your personal brand and presence in my free video series Your 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 passionate about helping business executives and entrepreneurial professionals elevate their personal brand, image and professional presence. Sue’s suite of services delivered through workshops, consulting, coaching and keynote presentations provides a multi-faceted approach to gain high transformation for her clients.