Career Strategist for the Professional
and Jacquie Peros
In this new way of work, we have little choice but to be on video. Whether it is an interview, a client meeting, or a company meeting, we need to make sure we are projecting a professional image.
Now that we are used to working from home, we might find ourselves taking comfort to another whole level. However, you want to be sure that you are projecting a positive impression in everything that you do, particularly on video. Your brand is always on display
Your personal brand is your unique promise of value, and it is unique because it sets you apart from your peers. It is a promise because it is authentic to you and you are going to deliver that promise consistently in everything you do. Your brand must communicate the value you bring to your target audience and those people who need to know you. Studies show that it takes 7 seconds for someone to form an opinion of you. It is a very short period of time to convey the messages that you want to express. When you take in information about a person, you are assessing their physical properties, verbal and non-verbal behaviors, and their environment.
Make a favorable and memorable first impression
Image, professional etiquette, and professional presence are communication tools that, when used correctly, can tell your brand story in a way that is authentic to you and help project a favorable first impression.
Make sure you dress up for a video meeting to feel more confident and to show professionalism. Choose a color that symbolizes your message. Color evokes emotion, so choose it wisely.
Professional etiquette is all about exhibiting professionalism in our appearance, behavior, and communication. Even though we are on a video from the comfort of our own home, we do not want that to necessarily show through. Professional presence is all about your character and values. Are you projecting credibility to your target audience? Do you build visibility through your appearance and communication skills? This is how you demonstrate your personal brand in a way that is seen in a positive light.
Understand the company culture
We all know it is important to do our research when we are interviewing or we have a client meeting. Digging deep into a company’s website gives you a lot of insight into its culture. You can look at its mission statement, the pictures they share of employees, and read their operating principles. You can see whether or not they align with your personal brand, values, mission, and where you want to go in your career. You will also get clues for how you want to dress in your meeting with the company.
Always look good on cameraIt is helpful to plan on how you will set up your video presence. Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you look good on camera:
- Wear neutral colors, such as gray and blue, as they translate well on video. White shirts are too much of a glare for the person on the other end, while black ones are too harsh. - Make sure that there are things in the video frame that are interesting, that you think would support your brand, or tell a little bit about the story of you and your brand.
- Avoid showing your bed in the video frame. - A plain background is better than a virtual background.
- Make sure you have good lighting and your camera is on eye level.
- Be present during your video calls by anticipating and eliminating distractions (laptop or phone notifications, doorbell, or pets).
Practice with someone on a video call and get feedback so you know if your set up is working and if you look good and confident. You can also get support from a personal branding coach.
Understand the power of body languageActions speak louder than words. It is important that you are aware of your body language or non-verbal behavior, particularly your gestures and facial expressions. Keep eye contact by looking at the camera and not like you are looking on your phone or something else on your screen. Remember, you are on this call for a reason. You are connecting with that person for a reason.
These are the few things you can do and avoid during a video meeting:
Mind your pitch, pace, enunciation, and volumePay attention to how you communicate. Speak at a pace, a pitch, and a volume that helps people understand you.
Adjust your pitch if you are a high or a low pitch. Breaks are important. When you get comfortable with silence, you are less likely to use fillers (uh, um, so, like), as they make you sound less articulate. Some companies and organizations use tools to vet potential candidates based on quality of their voice, enunciation, and pitch, among others.
Check the volume of your speakers and make sure your microphone is picking up a good volume. If your speakers are low, you will probably be talking too loud thinking that you need to talk louder. Be mindful of your enunciation as well - concentrate on speaking more clearly. With a bit of planning and practice, you can take your video presence to a new level and exude your brand to communicate better with your target audience.
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