We’re all spending a lot of time on Zoom these days, leading to plenty of talk about Zoom fatigue. People tuning out. Turning their camera off. Dreading a calendar filled with Zoom links.
But what if Zoom could be your solution for standing out (in a good way) and expanding your personal brand? Zoom – and all its cousins like Google Meet, MS Teams, Cisco Webex, etc. – are here to stay. And video meetings present you with the opportunity to become more influential and impactful – to make your mark. Here’s how:
1. Double Down. Don’t avoid video meetings, choose them over phone calls and email. Sure, people moan when they know they have yet another Zoom meeting, but if you make your meetings fun and exciting, yours will be differentiated from the ones that make participants roll their eyes. Video allows you to deliver a complete communication – and that’s essential in the world of work, which has become all virtual all the time.
2. Brand Your Background. Make your background reflect your brand. It’s a not-so-subtle way for you to send a message about the unique traits you deliver. A colleague told me about her manager who was a finance director and an artist. She featured a different one of her paintings in each meeting she led or attended. It became a “thing.” Everyone would wonder about the next piece of artwork . . . and the meetings would always start with a discussion about the piece. That’s a way better way to begin a meeting than with a list of action items. And of course, avoid these Zoom backgrounds, which will be brand busters not builders.
3. Master the Medium. Despite the fact that we spent much of our waking day on Zoom, I’m surprised by how few people actually know how to use it. When you spend just a little bit of time getting to know the features, you can show that you’re a pro and not create any friction or awkward moments during the meeting. Spend just 30 minutes exploring all the features of your meeting platform so you can take advantage of its power.
4. Perfect Your Pose. The biggest mistake people continue to make is incorrectly positioning their laptop or phone. There’s really no excuse for having your camera looking up your nose or down on the top of your head. You’ve had an entire year to become video savvy. In the field of photography/videography there is a technique called the rule of thirds. To apply it to your Zoom meetings, imagine a tic tac toe board on your screen. Then position yourself so that you’re centered in between the two vertical lines and your eyes fall on the top horizontal line. And remember: in order to look directly into your colleagues’ eyes, don’t look at their images on the screen, gaze into the camera!
5. Express Gratitude. Virtual meetings dilute the humanity that you’d experience when you’re sitting among your colleagues in a conference room. So you need to be doubly human. A Work Human study found that 72% of employees believe that recognition promotes employee retention, and 53.9% claimed a simple “thank you” could ease the pressure to perform while working remotely. One way to deliver this is to amp up the acknowledgement. You can do it out loud and in the chat. We all need a little more reinforcement and acknowledgement these days, so don’t skimp on the virtual pats on the back. Become known as the person who demonstrates the power of appreciation.
6. Increase Interaction. When you learn how to use the advanced features of your meeting platform, you can make your meeting stand out and make it more effective too. Breakout rooms, polls and chat are great ways to keep your meeting participants engaged. This will keep your audience glued to the screen and resisting the temptation to multi-task.
7. Stand Out With Your Slides. If you’re sharing your screen to show slides, make sure they’re virtual ready. People are watching your presentation on a 13” screen or even on their mobile device. The standard presentation design rules don’t apply. Go with pictures and videos over words; and when you must use words, use a large font (36 pt. or greater) and limit the number of characters so that your message is legible to your participants.
With a little effort and discipline, you can become known as the one who makes virtual meetings valuable and fun. Zoom shouldn’t mean gloom; it’s your opportunity to stand out, expand your personal brand and impress your stakeholders.