Remember those carefree days of Zooming the freeways with a smile on your face, top-down, wind in your hair, and off on some grand adventure?

Nowadays, the word Zoom elicits more of a tired sigh than a sense of adventure.

We’re all in the same boat—virtual meetings have become a necessary but often draining part of your work life.

Given the significant role these meetings now play in your professional career, it’s clear-cut that improving your virtual presence is essential for career success.

How would you rate yourself on the following four virtual meeting practices?

Turn On For Success: Current studies show that virtual meetings consume a significant portion of your workday, with a third of Americans attending them four to 12 hours a week. And it’s a mixed bag with 46 percent of all meetings being hybrid… with some employees in the same room and others dialing in remotely.[1]

Vyopta’s research found that 93% of executives say employees who turn their cameras off are generally less engaged. When bosses see your static picture on the screen, they also suspect you’re browsing the internet, posting on social media, texting, or watching Instagram or YouTube videos.[2]

Savvy executives know this and turn their screens on!

Clean Up For Success:  Pay attention to your posture, lighting, and chair positioning during virtual meetings.

Think not? One in ten bosses admit that a messy desk is reason enough not to promote an employee,[3] as they perceive the individual’s disorganization signals that they’re overwhelmed with their current position.

Remember, what appears behind you on-screen is not just a backdrop. It’s your virtual office, an extension of your professional image and performance. Like your physical workspace, a clean and organized virtual environment can significantly influence how others perceive you.

You might not believe this will impact others’ perception of you—think again.

During a meeting, I noticed disarray behind a client and suggested tidying up. Vivian had been unaware of the impression she was making and took the advice to heart. The next day, a prominent client in a virtual meeting immediately noticed, “You’ve made some changes. It’s impressive.”

Pause for a moment to reflect on your environment’s potential impact. Then, shape how you want leaders and clients to assess you.

Seated For Success: Pay attention to your posture, lighting, and chair positioning during virtual meetings.

While attending a virtual meeting, I observed a stark contrast in virtual presence. Two top-ranking executives, with their well-lit faces and bodies squared to the camera. Two others were poorly lit and slumped in the bottom portion of the screen. It was easy to identify leadership presence—even without titles!

If others’ view of you is in the lower third of the screen, set your chair for two heights: one that supports your computer, writing, and reading work responsibilities and the other intended to support your executive presence for virtual meetings.

Are you not able to adjust your chair? Invest in one that supports a commanding presence for on-camera interactions.

Dress For Success: Don’t underestimate the power of dressing for success, even in a virtual setting. Your company’s cultural office dress expectations should still be upheld, even when you’re working from home. 

Remember, your appearance in virtual meetings can directly influence how others perceive you and potentially impact your career advancement.

Dress slightly better than your counterparts when attending a virtual meeting. Appearance matters, especially when you’re on-camera.

This advice is particularly relevant given company leader’s detrimental view of remote workers. You want to stand out as excellent.

Citrix reports that Half of all business leaders believe that when employees are working “out of sight,” they don’t work as hard.[4] The research reveals remote workers were 24% less likely to receive promotions compared to their in-office colleagues.[5]

This underscores the importance of maintaining a professional appearance in virtual meetings, as it can significantly influence your career trajectory.

These four virtual meeting practices may seem trivial, but they’re an opportunity to not only showcase your professionalism and commitment to your current and future role but also to accelerate your career growth. Seemingly small details like your appearance and surroundings can meaningfully impact how clients, peers, and leaders perceive you, potentially opening doors to new prospects and advancements.

Are you ready to “Maximize Your Virtual Meeting Impact” for your long-term success? It’s time to elevate your executive presence in the digital realm.


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