Bolder behind a screen?
BroadMinded Director Jenny on how to be your best in an online meeting
At first, the transition to Zoom pitches, Google Hangout meetings and Teams interviews seemed daunting. Mehrabian’s pyramid of communication says that we communicate via words (5%), tone (38%) and body language (55%). How do we cram that 55% of body language into the neck up? Does our face on the screen take on the role of our whole body in an in person meeting? How exhausting. This is going to call for a lot of facials.
But I believe we should be looking at this new challenge as an opportunity. This new virtual world allows us to build our online meeting personas from scratch. With less going on than we might be faced with in a meeting room, we can focus on the things we can control. Set your intentions and think about the role you want to play in a meeting. Viv Groskop, author of ‘How to Own the Room’, echoed this in a recent FT interview: ‘It matters less how well you come across on screen than what you hope to achieve by being there.’
The duo from Pitch Process, Laura and Peta, recently did a session for our members on how to pack a punch in online meetings. Preparation, first up, is key – the nature of the preparation is different but this is essential whether in the same room as someone or on-screen. The great thing about online meetings is we have more flexibility in terms of the notes we use and the format of those notes – we can even use a script. Do whatever makes you feel most confident. Not being able to see people also allows you to fully focus on delivery rather than eye contact and reading the room.
Another essential consideration is vocal clarity and tone – speaking to Mehbrabian’s 38%.
To pack the biggest punch focus on:
Warming up - the may sound OTT but you don’t want your voice cracking and making you sound nervous just as you start the pitch. Before the call begins do some light vocal warm up.
Vary your pace and pitch, and pause - essentially, avoid monotone at all costs!
New thought, new energy - when you begin a new idea in your explanation change the energy in your delivery to hook people in.
The final piece of advice is not unique to our online mode – practice makes perfect. But the beauty with zoom is the ability to practice, record and watch yourself back. I am not going to lie – it is painful. You won’t like it. But what a difference it could make to your delivery. It’s a brave new virtual world out there – but filled with opportunity - good luck!
2nd September 2020
'It matters less how well you come across on screen than what you hope to achieve by being there.’