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Will The Real You Please Stand Up

Will The Real You Please Stand Up
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Influencers are everywhere. They’re not just the writers, thinkers, and politicians of this world. Anyone who trains, teaches, negotiates, advises or sells is an influencer. In our business – as in our personal – lives our success is to some degree the product of our ability to influence others.

We’re already acutely aware of this, and for most of us, it represents a problem. It’s a problem because we see in ourselves personal weaknesses, and these we define as impediments to our success – things that stop us from achieving, things that hold us back.

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We all have something about ourselves that we would like to change. Personal insecurity or social anxiety makes it difficult for us to speak to strangers. Lack of education or experience makes us feel inferior and inadequate. Lack of self-assurance, whether on its own or resulting from the preceding, kills our confidence, and stands between us and the success we want.

This affects us in many ways. At work, socially, and in our personal lives. We don’t measure up to the competition – for this job, that opportunity, or the attractive girl in the corner.

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Those things about ourselves that we’d like to change, we internally characterize as “faults.” That’s why we’d like to change them. We see them like this by agreement with ourselves, that they are weaknesses which we cannot control and which diminish us as people.

Self-image is entirely subjective and uniquely critical.

We don’t realise how common this is. It’s a part of the human condition, it’s everywhere, but we tend to recognize it only in ourselves. We see successful people and our response is “I wish I could be like her,” or, “He’s got something I don’t have.” And so, when we set out to influence others – by selling to them, teaching them, negotiating with them – we are confronted, and hampered, by a sense of our weakness, and the belief that it makes us less effective. How do we react? By bluffing. We pretend to be someone and something that we don’t think we are because we’ve already agreed with ourselves that we’re not.

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For all this is a natural approach, it’s the wrong approach. It’s the wrong approach because it fails to understand the most fundamental component of influence-based success. Trust.

Question: What, more than anything, do we look for in those we allow to influence us? Answer: Authenticity. In the round. We relate to people we like, and that we see as genuine, even if flawed. We look at their story as a whole. We don’t choose our influencers for their unique brilliance. We choose them for their unique, individual, perspective.

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Everyone has one of those. Everyone’s story is unique. It’s the real you – the product of who we are as much as of where we’ve been and what we’ve done. And none of us is perfect. We’re all different, but where we’re the same is we’re all a combination of strengths and weaknesses. Our particular combination, married to our experiences, is what makes each of us unique. The reality is that your USP is the sum of your whole story, and those “weaknesses” are an essential component of the greatest asset you have.

How you are is who you are. If you’re not comfortable with the real you, then you’ve got a problem. Because when you try to present a different, modified persona you sacrifice your authenticity. That’s not hard to spot and, chances are, you don’t succeed.

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You can’t be likeable if you don’t like yourself.

Accept yourself as you are. It’s why the people who already like you, like you. Be entirely yourself and so will others. That matters because to trust you, people have to like you. You can’t be a likeable person unless you like yourself. And once you get comfortable with yourself and accept that this is what and who you are, the things you weren’t happy about will assume a whole new definition. Nobody does everything well; imperfection is not simply normal it’s universal and, viewed from that perspective, your subconscious stops telling you that you’re not capable. And once you’ve embraced the real you there’s no pressure to be something different.

Here’s an example: Novice salesmen tend to be less successful than their more experienced colleagues. This doesn’t just apply to salesmen of course, but salesmen are what I know. They attribute this lack of success to their lack not of experience, but technique. Almost every new salesman I ever trained believed that there is a secret, magic trick to selling and that learning it was the key to success- not knowing it was what was holding them back. In that category, I include my younger self, incidentally. That vital secret proved elusive and in the end, I did what I should have been doing all along. I told my customers: “I’m new to this, and I’m not an expert salesman. But I know the product. So I’ll explain it to you, I’ll answer any questions you may have, and I’ll give you a price.” A strange and wonderful thing happened. In being open, honest and transparent, I took all the pressure off myself. I had no need, or reason, to pretend I was someone different. And I took all the pressure off the customers who, as is the case, felt intimidated by slick salesmen. The more I did this, the more I sold. And the more experience I developed, the more I realized that there is, in fact, no magic secret. People are influenced by people – real people. And we already are, each of us, a real person.

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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