Are you Dreading your next Zoom meeting?
You may say, “Hey, Google”. Command Alexa. Speak a desired destination to waze. But, how’s your virtual professionalism and presence?
The executives and thought leaders who will get through this pandemic and come through successfully on the other side will evolve their communication and presence. The most important skill you will ever possess is that of interpersonal skills and knowing how to communicate in a way that invites, inspires, and compels.
Is this you or your company?
- Have you been ghosting?
- Resorted to emails and texts that can be misunderstood?
- Showing up poorly over video?
- Turned to aggressive, outdated ways of speaking and leading?
- Are mistakes being made and sales down due to miscommunication?
In a world that seems to have gone mad in some ways, and presents incredible opportunity in other ways, your voice is speaking volumes (pun intended). Here’s one of the first questions you want to ask yourself ~ is my voice being heard? Your voice must sound rich and credible through your camera and microphone. Your voice is your branding and it speaks your message with either clarity or murkiness. Without a clear and confident delivery, your message will be lost. There are voices that compel us to listen. A voice that compels us to listen would be at the correct pitch, would have equal parts tone and air, and would sound rich, confident and authentic.
The days of being a one-man band or one-woman band are over. You are the conductor of the orchestra and you read music, but you don’t play all of the instruments. Instead of placing yourself at the top of your company, see yourself as the center holder, or the wayshower (a visionary leader showing us the way). Instead of a flowchart of top down hierarchy, make it look more like a master plan, or circles of focus. As the CEO, it is both your responsibility and your joy to take charge of your communication skills.
Many of my clients tell me that they are accidental executives, meaning they got where they are as a result of where they went to school, their first job, or through a professional connection. What they don’t need at this point in their career is more technical knowledge or more rational left brain thinking. What they need now is solid training in their communication development skill gaps.
The leaders that will come through this pandemic and continue to grow their business will be practicing mindfulness. They will be expressing in an insightful, evolved, inclusive manner. In fact, our ability to grow and become a better boss will never, ever change.
Here are 10 tips to ensure successful Executive Communication (especially over video) moving forward ~
- You get to design your virtual stage. Set up your professional video environment with an appropriate virtual background, high quality audio, a good camera, good lighting, and the correct camera angle from the viewer’s perspective.
- Begin to think of your voice as having dimension. Your voice has air, sound, height, depth, width, energy, intention, emotion and a destination point. Your voice must have carrying power to be effective over video.
- To calm your nervous system and move away from a fight or flight response before a Zoom meeting, try this. Count backwards out loud very slowly from 10 to 1 taking a breath through your nose between each number you say. Repeat until you feel calm.
- Block time in your schedule to prepare and practice any speech, pitch or presentation you are delivering. Give yourself time to succeed. People who are chosen to do Ted Talks prepare for 6 months to 1 year before ever filming their talk. And, there is a reason why actors rehearse for weeks and weeks before opening night at the theatre.
- Before going into any meeting spend 15 minutes of quiet, alone time getting clear on your intention for the meeting. Review your agenda and make notes in the present moment, as things constantly change. Well planned and well run meetings accomplish twice as much in a shorter period of time. Because of the increased energy and attention required over Zoom, I recommend a meeting not be over 90 minutes.
- When in doubt on how to address someone, simply use their name or ask them, “Do you prefer to be called Dr. Bill or Professor Bill or Bill?
- Make it a habit to replace outdated, male-centric words like “hey, guys” with inclusive, welcoming words such as ‘folks’, ‘everybody’, ‘everyone’, ‘welcome team fantastic’, ‘hello all’, ‘welcome to our conference’, ‘welcome to our quarterly board meeting’.
- Your teams and clients and customers need to hear from you now. When everything is moving along smoothly, it is so much easier. But great leaders are usually discovered when things are unraveling. Many people are in fear right now and what they really need is to have stability and a leader that continues to show up. They need to be supported, because their plates are absolutely piled high. Show them you are still in charge and tell them you are still in charge even if you can’t see actually where the ship needs to sail next.
- Think of making Kaizen a daily practice. Kaizen is a Japanese word that means continuous improvement, typically small steps that add up. Ask the people in your company who manage business activities on a daily basis to submit a 2 – 5 minute voice recording of their suggested improvement to you. Yes, you are giving them a voice in your company.
- Know that great companies have always been built in crisis and this is no exception. Stay in your lane and continue to keep your communication channels free from interference.
In the ever changing business landscape, the way you communicate and your presence are positively crucial to the success of your company - Do You Have a Plan?