Are You Camera-Shy In Virtual Meetings? 5 Tips To Connect Better With Your Team

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Are You Camera-Shy In Virtual Meetings? 5 Tips To Connect Better With Your Team
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Remote work may be here to stay. In fact, it is on the rise.

But making the adjustment to remote work and staying connected with work teams can be difficult for some people, says Jonathan D. Reynolds, author of Right Seats, Right People: A Leader’s Guide to Hiring and Developing Top Performers.

“Even with the best of intentions there can be a degree of isolation,” says Reynolds, CEO of Titus Talent Strategies, a nationwide recruiting agency. “Video calls are still relatively new. It’s not a natural way to communicate.

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There is an art form to maintain a strong connection in a remote world, requiring several steps to become consistently comfortable, communicative and productive.”

Tips For Virtual Meetings

Reynolds offers these tips to smooth the remote connection individuals have with their teams when video conferencing:

  • Set yourself up for an “illuminated” conversation.

Reynolds says good lighting and positioning are keys to effective virtual communication. “Centralizing yourself on the screen, being well-lit and allowing people to see you has a profound effect on the subconscious aspects of the connection,” he says.

  • Maintain eye contact.

Being present and focused are essential to connecting with people in a virtual meeting environment, and Reynolds says multitasking during a meeting while on camera is a no-no.

“If you do need to check something, then jump off camera,” he says. “Maintaining eye contact is important, so remember, when you are speaking, take your eyes off of yourself and look at your camera.”

  • Prepare for the conversations and presentations.

Many people fear public speaking, and video conferencing can add another layer to that anxiety, Reynolds says. “That’s why preparation is important,” he says. “If you’re conducting or participating in a meeting, it can be helpful to prepare a loose script, especially when you need to have a critical conversation.”

Reynolds says if you plan to just wing a critical conversation, chances are you won’t be very successful. “Even if it’s only five to 10 minutes, set aside time to gather your thoughts and make note of the key things you want to address,” he says.

“In addition to preparing your talking points, you also want to prepare yourself mentally. Get into a place where you’re open and expecting to receive constructive feedback, too.”

  • Know how to use the mute button.

Sometimes people on a video conference get overly concerned with background noise and eliminate emotion. “Let people hear you laugh,” Reynolds says. “If you’re in a small group meeting of five people or less and you have minimal background noise, then leave the mute button alone.

Jump in with a comment, and keep the interactions lively. It helps keep things as real and connected as they can possibly be.” On the other hand, in a larger group setting where it’s not practical to come off mute, Reynolds says to make use of the chat box, including the use of appropriate emojis and memes that communicate what you are feeling.

  • Have an authentic or attractive background.

“Some people love a good background and use it as a branding tool,” Reynolds says. “They share a dream location or provide a snapshot into their world – guitars on the wall, a chic coffee shop, sitting outside in beautiful scenery.

Location through what’s seen in the background can invite conversation and allow for a strong connection.”

Conclusion

“In the changing working world, a video conference is an entirely new interactive experience for most people,” Reynolds says. “It requires adapting your habits, perspective and tactics in order to make it work effectively for you.”


About Jonathan D. Reynolds

Jonathan Reynolds is CEO of Titus Talent Strategies, a nationwide recruiting agency, and author of Right Seats, Right People: A Leader’s Guide to Hiring and Developing Top Performers.

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