Distance Means So Little When Working Means So Much

Hi FWF’s! This week, I want to talk about virtual working environments. 2020 has been a very strange year, especially in the working environment. With the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of professionals have been laid off, furloughed, or have been working from home. I myself, started a new job in the beginning of March, and only had 2 ½ days in the office and have been remote ever since. It was definitely a unique experience, meeting people over video, and onboarding from home. But, what I can say-is it was possible, and I feel completely at home and comfortable in my new role. This was done by having consistent communication and showing up every day.

With not knowing when things are going back to normal, I wanted to talk about helpful tips I recently learned when it comes to communicating virtually through video chat. Whether this is for a work meeting, an interview, or networking session-the below tips ar extremely helpful and can help make an impact professionally virtually.

Virtual Best Practices:

· Start on time.

ESPECIALLY virtually-there really is no excuse in being late. We all encounter those weird times when we lose internet, but when preparing for an important virtual meeting-it is important to prepare in avoiding those things.

· Agenda Awareness

Try not to sidebar the conversation on topics that were not on the meeting agenda. If you only have an allotted amount of time but have questions or concerns to be raised-write down your questions or thoughts in a word doc to e-mail afterward, or set up more time on someone’s calendar to continue the conversation.

Virtual Appearance:

· Eye Contact

Eye contact is important in any professional work setting whether it be a meeting or an interview-but it gets tricky when speaking over video virtually as you are talking to a computer. To make eye contact over video, look directly into the camera.

· Engagement

Speaking of eye contact, it is easy to get distracted when speaking in a video chat when we can see ourselves in the corner. To be more engaged, look into your video chat application’s settings, and see if there is a “hide self view” option. This way, you are totally focused on the participants in the meeting and not yourself.

· Expressions

The use of gestures makes a huge difference when speaking. Try to practice using expressions when speaking over video like hand gestures, facial expressions, and nodding in agreement. This helps the meeting be more personal.

Other Helpful Virtual Meeting Tips:

· Utilize the chat function!

If there are a lot of people in the meeting, utilize the chat function to ask a question or raise a point.

· Be present.

Don’t hide yourself on video. You want to show your professionalism. It is easy to hide yourself when feeling lazy, but if you are present-you will help yourself to get into a more normal routine. When you show up and show your face, this allows others to remember you and your impact during a time we are not seeing others in person.

That’s all for now, FWF’s. I hope this was helpful, and motivates you to change up your virtual presence in some positive way. We will all get through this, and life will go back to normal. Although times are tough, we will all come out stronger from our virtual at home working/learning experiences in the end. And remember…