I recently joined a call of virtual attendees and as the host began speaking, I quickly became distracted.
His blurred background illuminated strange colors making me suspicious of where he was sitting and what he was trying to hide.
The lighting caused his body to look like a digital cut out from a bad science-fiction movie.
His camera was sitting too low, sharing an unpleasant look from an unflattering angle.
The whole time he spoke, I was distracted observing the terrible technical settings he thought helped him look more professional.
Clearly, they didn’t work.
Despite how many professionals work remotely, too many continue to show up online without a clue as to how they are perceived. In fact, before attending our training, less than half of participants felt confident influencing others across multiple mediums. After our training, that number doubled after being shown our tools and techniques.
If you, or your team, work virtually, these three practical and immediate steps will ensure you consistently have influence.
First, eliminate distractions. Working from home should mimic your professional office environment. Unless you work at a veterinarian’s office, meandering cats and barking dogs don’t belong in the workplace.
Second, stop hiding by blurring your background. The only thing this does is cause your listener to wonder what it is you don’t want them to see. Find a spot that is clear of clutter and positively impacts your personal brand.
Lastly, practice before delivering. I get it, new software and technology becomes available daily, but using it before learning it will cause you embarrassment and cost you your influence. If you want to keep the attention on you and not technology, spare your live audience from your learning curve.
Virtual work environments have enough challenges to overcome. Let your listener see and hear you, not your technical gadgets.
Podcast: The Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast
Host: Andy Stanley
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