4 Steps To Get Noticed During A Virtual Meeting & Make A Good Impression

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woman with French bulldog sitting at desk

Due to the current pandemic, almost everyone has participated in at least one virtual meeting for work.

In my recent interview with image and presence consultant Marcella Scherer, she shared how to create the whole 360-effect when on a zoom call, YouTube video, virtual conference, or any other online event.

RELATED: 6 Virtual Meeting Etiquette Tips For Successful Zoom Calls

If you want to make a good impression, it’s a lot more complex than just clothes and a background.

The four essential components — Scherer called the "ABCD" of having presence — gives you an edge, because you never who you'll meet and the senior management and CEO are more likely to be watching during online meetings.

She goes on to say that you only have seven seconds to make 11 first impressions. 

Scherer explains these are "nano-judgments," such as your gender, socio-economic status, intelligence, trustworthiness, and likability being amongst them — and having the edge on appearance is key.

"Once you push past that first judgment, then you can use your other tools, such as your voice, knowledge, and experience to impress."

So, if you want to get noticed during a virtual meeting, here are 4 key steps you need to take.

1. Pay attention to your appearance.

For those skeptics who prefer to resist dressing up for the boss, Marcella re-frames it as considering it to be just another tool in your toolkit and to use it to your advantage.

To help you stand out, here are some suggestions:

  • Wear a solid color that makes your eyes twinkle. White is too reflective and black drowns you out.
  • Fix your hair. It doesn’t have to be a professional hairstyle, but look like you’ve made an effort, rather than just gathering your hair in a scrunchie. Use hair oil to eliminate the frizz that's more likely to show up onscreen. Make sure your face shows.
  • Apply some makeup, perhaps a little more than you would in person, including bronzer and lipstick.
  • Accessorize tastefully. Try not to distract too much by wearing large, bulky accessories, but still look like you made an effort.

2. Watch your behavior.

"The way you do one thing is the way you do everything," Scherer says.

That's what people will remember.

If you show up late, they may think that you're not timely on projects. If you show up messy, they may think you don’t care enough about the work, either.

To come across well in those first seven seconds, try the following suggestions:

  • Turn up on time or be early.
  • Sit upright looking into the camera, paying attention, and leaning forwards.
  • Remove distractions, such as your phone — or don’t let anyone see you check it.
  • Be in a quiet room where other people's conversations can’t be heard.
  • Let others know you are in a meeting, so they don’t accidentally appear onscreen with you.
  • Turn your camera off if you're going to eat.
  • Mute yourself if you have to leave to go to the bathroom!

RELATED: How The Pandemic Has Forced Us To Be More Authentic At Work

3. Learn how to communicate properly.

Scherer explains that communication is 75 percent verbal and 55 percent non-verbal. "How we hold our bodies says so much to people," she says.

Look directly into the pinhole of the camera when speaking. We get so distracted looking at ourselves that this can be hard.

Stick a post-it note over your reflection so you can focus directly — this gives the impression you're looking directly at the person speaking and not distracted.

In turn, this opens up trust from the speaker when they think you're listening to them attentively.

Avoid distracting hand-gestures. Try to sit upright, leaning in, at eye level, with your hands in your lap or making notes.

Keep your body still. Rocking side to side, back and forth, fidgeting constantly is distracting and gives the impression you are not paying attention. Turn your camera off if you have to reposition yourself.

Think before you speak or comment, and beware of interrupting people. Make use of the chat facility to ask questions if you can’t make yourself heard or have house-keeping comments to make.

Remember that there's usually a delay online. Raise your hand if needs be — digitally or in-person. Use a microphone that helps eliminate background noise and reduce the echo.

4. Be aware of your digital presence.

"When you show up fully competent and present, people notice and are drawn to you!" Scherer says.

"Women, in particular, can seem to have it all going for them, looking great, but still not getting the attention onscreen, which becomes even more of a challenge digitally."

This is where the energy work and working on yourself from within need to do to be truly effective.

Here are some pre-meeting suggestions:

  • Set intentions before going online.
  • Consider creating a ritual that suits you, such a centering exercise beforehand, which might be a few minutes of guided meditation or breathing.
  • Raise your energy and vibration by dancing to your favorite song, or some other physical activity, like pumping your arms up and down while affirming your intentions.
  • Be mindful.

Scherer went on to explain that in order to have a truly powerful image and presence that allows you to be noticed, it has to come from the inner work that will radiate through.

This includes identifying your fashion values, goals, and be completely clear about what you want.

She does a fun exercise with her clients called the Million-dollar Style and Vision Board Exercise, which not only identifies what and how to style yourself with the best hair, makeup, and most flattering clothes, but also exactly how you want to be feeling and the effect you wish to have on others.

"As a leader or high-level executive, we have to have these soft skills to accompany our leadership and presence," she summarized.

"It is a really important piece, that in fact is not fluffy, nor superficial. The little details can say so much about a person."

Scherer's own story is one steeped in experience in the fashion industry and being open and prepared to take risks. She was a ballet dancer, surrounded by the world of fashion and body image, which impacted her calling.

Without a doubt, helping people the way she does shines through her so passionately. If anyone has a digital presence, it's certainly her.

RELATED: Working From Home? 3 Reasons Why You Should Still Be Dressing Up For Work

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Dr. Rana Al-Falaki helps women re-ignite and exude passion to turn wanting into having by being more and doing less. She believes adamantly in the three words of her podcast and video series — be free, be fun, be fearless. You can connect with her via her website.

This article was originally published at Light Changes Coaching. Reprinted with permission from the author.