6 things you are doing on video calls that are killing your leadership presence

For the past few months thousands of leaders across the globe have been trying to manage their teams remotely and video conferences have become our everyday life. Yet, many still don’t know how to (properly) use the technology. To quote a recent Forbes article, “If you want people to see you as a leader, you have to look like a leader.

One of the most popular tools used for video conferences is Zoom. Inspired by an article recently published in Forbes, we have prepared a list of the most common mistakes when it comes to conferences held at home. Important: it applies not only to Zoom, but also other programs of this kind, e.g. Skype or Google Meet.
1. You are experiencing technical problems.

A quote from the article: “Technical difficulties frustrate people. And regardless of whether they are your fault or not, it can be difficult for people to disassociate you from the difficulties.”

Our comment: let’s repeat that fragment “it can be difficult for people to disassociate you from the difficulties”. The solution: “learn the computer”. We’ve put together a technical checklist, explaining some nuances – you can watch the video here from minute 24:22 to 38:47.

2. You are talking over people.

A quote from the article: “It is annoying when you hear people talking over one another, even if it is not their fault. Don’t be afraid to pause. Silence never hurt anyone.

Our comment: if it’s a technical issue that influences a delay, apply the method, Have you tried turning it on and off again”.

3. You have not muted your microphone.

A quote from the article: “Leaders should not be the ones doing all the talking. […] If you are not talking, mute your microphone. […] Noises are distracting and can detract from your presence.

Our comment: this is one of the most important “best practices” to follow. When joining a group call / webinar – one can tell right away who’s been well trained (or is aware) and who doesn’t get it (yet).

And now the points that we would like to add:

4. You have not considered your physical background.

“If you want people to see you as a leader, you have to look like a leader.” – what influences that on Zoom? The drying laundry in the background. The dirty dishes in the kitchen. The light – our favorite: sitting in front of a window which means that your audience sees a dark shadow.

And don’t get us wrong: it’s not about you sitting in a kitchen or having your kid / animal run into the call (that actually shows an aspect of your humanity), but how “loud” (= negatively distracting) the background & lighting is.

5. You have forgotten about your own presence.

Some examples: being over-dressed or under-dressed. Skipping personal grooming. Or, feeling so relaxed – at the end of the day, you are in the comfort of your own home – that you forget your posture: visible knee up on the chair, fidgeting on the rotating chair or almost lying in front of the computer.

6. Not adapting your communication to the channel.

Communicating via Zoom takes different – better and more sophisticated – communication competencies than being in a room or on stage. It’s much more difficult to read the room. It’s much more difficult to manage the participants. And on top of that, every tool (Skype, Zoom, MS Teams, Google Meet etc.) has additional features like break-out rooms or chats that have the potential to enhance the participant’s experience, but if not used correctly, they can add onto the frustration.

If you have the feeling that you, your team or your managers & leaders would benefit from a tailored training in the above mentioned areas, get in touch with Career Angels! We’d love to support you! Send an email to Bichl.Sandra (at) CareerAngels.eu.