Updated: Apr 17, 2020
I have been working internationally for the last ten years. My busy travel schedule has meant that I have for a long time had to find ways to communicate with an international team at a distance. Despite this, I had my questions about remote working on a larger scale.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have been incredibly impressed with the way that our team have adapted to working from home. Fortunately, we were running test of Microsoft Teams in the build-up to the crisis, which has turned out to be a very reliable platform. Still, I must also credit the teams own drive and determination to be productive, despite everything that is happening.
On top of this, we have also been doing all of our socialising over digital platforms. One thing I have realised over the last couple of weeks is that we have been looking at ourselves on screen more than ever.
When you are talking to friends or colleagues that you usually sit with every day, it does not feel like a big deal. But when you are in the same situations that you would typically find stressful, like an important client meeting or a pitch, for instance, seeing yourself on video playback can add to the pressure.
In either of these situations, if you feel good about the way you present yourself, you are likely to enjoy the conversation more and be more productive. As a rule, I would say try to think of discussions on a digital platform in the same way that you do face to face.
Here are some ways in which you can enhance your on-screen confidence:
Structure conversations - Plan and prepare for a digital conversation in the same way that you would for a face to face meeting
Listen carefully - Focus on other people. As in a traditional conversation, when you are genuinely engaged, you are less likely to be distracted by focused criticising yourself
Practice posture - In humans, one of the means of communication is the posture of the body. While slouching makes you look unprofessional and disinterested, sitting up straight projects, confidence, authority, and poise.
Be still - Especially when you are not talking. Fidgeting is a major betrayer of low confidence, and most of us fidget without even realising it. Instead, try to sit still and only move when it's in an appropriate, deliberate way.
Dress up - Not only is it mentally and emotionally beneficial for you to feel good about yourself, but it can make you more successful. Multiple studies have shown that dressing well increases your performance and heightens others' impressions of you.
Maintain grooming - a well-groomed individual makes a better first impression than someone who is not. This comes down to the fact that it helps to portray an image of self-respect that leads to respect from others in return.