Since several months now we engaging in a new routine: in front of our computers, we are looking at the webcam and talking to our peers or to a wider audience. When we are lucky, we receive some audio or even video back. Though, overall it is very difficult to gauge our peers and employees' engagement. What do they think? How do they feel?
We can all agree that face-to-face interactions are much richer and create a better conversation. At the same time, virtual conversations will stay and we have a great opportunity now to become better at it. Creating a wider selection of environments that allow excellence at work. And for this, we collected a few tips to become a better virtual leader.
Eye Contact - The awkward thing in video calls is that when we look at the other person's eye, they see us looking at another direction. In order that our counterparts perceive that we are looking at their eyes, we need to look directly at the camera. Something I realised that takes practice and the best way is to switch focus between video screen and camera.
Appreciate Pause - Sometimes technical things go wrong - and that is fine. We don't need to fill in every second with audio and activity. A short pause - and a longer silence break - is appreciated and gives room to think. So, next time your presentation doesn't load, give a short announcement and pause the commentary.
Gesture Engagement - We are more than our face. And often in video calls, the camera is focussing only on our face. This means, our presence is less lively and the participants will not experience our gestures. So, step back and show some of your torso and your arms.
Small Talk - The current situation and the awkwardness of talking to a computer can make us tense. Start your session with some chit chat. This will loosen up yourself and makes the entire conversation more relaxed. Let's smile and laugh more.
Less Topics - In my experience, to cover one topic we need at least 30 minutes discussion. I have seen too many virtual meetings that are trying to cover too many things. Focus on the topics that require a healthy discussions and minimise the number of different topics. Oh, and virtual sessions that last longer than 90 minutes are significantly less effectective.
What did you learn to become a better leader in the virtual environment?
Source: Your webcam is killing your leadership presence. Save it in 3 steps
Tim is a change practitioner in the area of innovation and excellence. He is working with teams to accelerate innovation, collaboration and agility.