Working from home has become the new norm for many office workers. At this stage in the game, most people have adjusted to the daily grind of getting up and walking down the hall to what’s become their makeshift or temporary home office/workspace. Now that the province of Ontario is gearing up to slowly re-open non-essential small businesses, however, many remote workers are wondering what the future of their jobs will look like. Will they be allowed to continue exclusively working from home or will there be a hybrid office solution in effect? Over a year later, working from home is still rife with unique challenges—namely, exuding a confident demeanour while participating in virtual Zoom meetings.
Recent studies have shown that even after all this time, most people still feel self-conscious when they see themselves on camera or hear their voices during virtual work meetings. Despite these challenges, however, virtual office services in Ottawa have been a saving grace for many companies impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since there’s no telling exactly when offices will be allowed to re-open, here are eight tips to help you appear more confident in your Zoom calls.
Position Yourself Properly
Lights, camera, action! Get yourself camera-ready before every Zoom meeting. How you position yourself in front of your webcam makes a big difference in terms of how you appear on camera. Adjust your posture so that you’re sitting upright and position the camera or computer screen at an upward angle. This will make you look more domineering, yet approachable, while also hiding any perceived imperfections that may appear more pronounced on screen. Sitting up straight also helps you breathe more easily, which leads to the next point.
Remember to Breathe
Take a deep breath or as many as you need to in order to maintain a calm, cool, and collected demeanour. If you’re tasked with doing a virtual presentation, make sure to have your handwritten or digital notes ready so that you can easily refer to them without making it obvious and stay on topic.
Do some relaxation and breathing exercises prior to each session to help calm your nerves. Common relaxation breathing exercises include:
- Box breathing
- Belly breathing
- 4-7-8 breathing
Try these out the next time you get a bout of stage fright before a virtual meeting.
Do Vocal Exercises
If you’re worried about getting tongue-tied while speaking during a virtual meeting, try doing some vocal exercises beforehand. Tongue-twisters are a great way to loosen up your vocal cords and prevent you from stumbling over your words. Plus, they can be a fun distraction that can help loosen you up so that you don’t feel so stiff and nervous during your meeting.
Smile at the Camera, Not Your Colleagues
Don’t be afraid to show off those pearly whites during a virtual meeting but be sure to smile directly into the camera and not at your colleagues on the screen. Remember that the camera is positioned directly above your screen display, so when you smile directly at the screen, it looks like you’re looking downward instead of directly at your colleagues. If possible, brush your teeth before each virtual meeting so that you can present a bright and clean smile. Fresh breath will make you feel more confident and ready to tackle any virtual work-related task!
Maintain Eye Contact at All Times
Don’t be afraid to look people directly in the eye when they’re speaking or when you’re speaking to them. Whether you’re holding a virtual or in-person meeting, looking people in the eye subconsciously communicates to them that you’re in complete control of the situation and you know what you’re doing. Even if you don’t feel particularly confident in that moment, you can make people think that you are by simply asserting yourself in a productive, calm, and respectful manner.
Onscreen body language is just as important as in-person body language, and it can speak volumes about your capabilities. Eye contact makes people feel like they can trust and respect you, which helps you assert a more authoritative presence without necessarily stepping on anyone’s toes.
Refrain from Using Virtual Backgrounds
Zoom has a plethora of fun, cheeky, and silly backgrounds that can add a jovial feel to any virtual call. But, they’re not necessarily appropriate for professional work meetings with clients and employees. Unless you and your coworkers have a very tight-knit group and are just getting together for a casual virtual catch-up session, leave the virtual backgrounds out of it.
If you want to give off a more professional appearance on camera, then choose a quiet and non-descript part of your home to set up your computer or laptop for virtual meetings. A plain white wall or bookshelf will work just fine.
Invest in an Elevated Computer Stand
Elevated computer stands have multiple practical and aesthetic advantages that can help you look and feel more confident during your Zoom meetings. First, they force you to sit up straighter so that you can look directly into the camera and the screen, which helps your posture. Second, they prevent you from having to look down as you type or perform other tasks during the meeting so that you can avoid the dreaded double chin syndrome.
Even if you don’t have a double chin naturally, looking down at your computer can make it look like you do and after a while pointing your neck downward can cause physical strain, which amplifies your stress levels. Sitting upright makes it easier for you to engage in the conversation with your colleagues and reduces neck strain and stiffness.
Dress Professionally (At Least on Top)
You’ve heard the saying, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” If you wanted to be treated like a professional, then you need to dress the part, even on Zoom calls—at least, on top. Wear a nice blazer with a simple clean top underneath and do your hair and makeup like you would at the office. Since no one is going to see you from the waist down, you can still rock those pajama or sweatpants to your heart’s content. Just be sure to stay seated for the entire duration of the meeting and no one will be the wiser.
Looking for more tips on how to convey a professional and confident aura during your Zoom meetings? Rent a virtual office space in Ottawa or Mississauga from Innovative Professional Offices. Our team of business specialists can provide you with the support you need to command your Zoom meetings and earn the respect of your employees, colleagues, and clients alike. Contact us to learn more about our virtual office services in Ottawa and Mississauga.
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