If you spend most of your day on video chats, you may be wondering how to boost your charisma on Zoom. E-charisma involves a different set of skills and social interaction than in the physical world.
Whether you are leading a meeting or participating, there are some tough lessons to be learned about commanding a video conference.
My daughter, a clinical psychologist, recently called me out for hogging the conversation during a family Zoom on Thanksgiving Day. As a family therapist and mental health professional, she navigates difficult conversations in her practice which is now completely virtual. Her astute comment made me think about people working from home who are naturally shy and unaccustomed to the nuances of standing out on video calls.
In face-to-face meetings, physical presence often goes a long way to helping individuals get noticed, possibly advancing their careers. In the virtual space, commanding a room is not the same and draws upon skills that may seem awkward at first.
- How do you get noticed when your co-workers are dominating the conversation?
- How do you interrupt to make a point?
- How do you convey physical presence from a “Brady Bunch” tile?
At a minimum, it starts with turning on your video and audio. As Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”
Here are some of the most effective techniques to boost your charisma on Zoom or the video platform of your choice.
1. Use all the built-in features of your video conference platform.
These include raised hand, applause, and emoticons. For example, Zoom’s non-verbal feedback features allow you to express opinions by clicking one of several icons on the participant panel. Get to know your platform’s options and go through your technical checklist to make sure your own participation is flawless.
2. Be twice as animated as you would be in person.
People are only seeing a small version of who you really are, so emote bigger and gesture more. Use your hands for emphasis making sure they are fully visible in the frame. Smile, nod and show that you respect everyone’s time and are paying attention.
3. Use vocal variety when you speak.
Vary your tempo and volume to display emotion. Insert five-second pauses to build drama and draw attention back to you.
4. Make your video set speak volumes.
Avoid virtual backgrounds if possible and populate your set with items that speak to who you are and what you stand for. Well composed, organized, well lighted videos attract attention. Make sure your sound is good, too.
5. Check your appearance.
Dressing for success on video is no different from the physical world. Show you care by showing up well-groomed and dressed in a flattering color that looks good on the screen.
6. Acknowledge people by name.
We all love to hear the sound of our names. Because video calls tend to be impersonal, a shout out to someone, even someone you do not know, can spark interest and engagement.
7. Ask questions.
I had a mentor who told me that asking questions is a way to flatter the speaker. When you ask a question—even if it means interrupting—it makes the other person feel important, and in turn, you demonstrate your own value and interest in the topic.
If there is a silver lining to living on Zoom, it is that every day we are finding new ways to make virtual more human. Charm and personality can be transmitted on a video call, but you must be willing to step out of the box and feel uncomfortable. You can start experimenting today to boost your charisma on Zoom. While the manual of best practices on video conferences is still being written, this is a time to explore and discover new ways to communicate effectively while we prepare for the next normal.