How to impress your peers virtually

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Interacting in online spaces comes with its own codes of conduct

By Konkana Bakshi, Founder, Savoir Faire Academie and former Miss Elegance World

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Published: Thu 17 Sep 2020, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 17 Sep 2020, 9:16 PM

We are all trying to come to terms with the new normal and, while doing so, are also trying to adapt to the new professional world, and recognising the pros and cons of working from home. While working from home may sound like the more comfortable arrangement, the challenges pertain to keeping up with the professional image without compromising on credibility. Here are some pointers to getting it right.
1. Facing the camera: Most of us are new to this virtual world. And, of course, we are all trying our best to conduct ourselves in the most professional manner, so body language plays a very crucial role simply because your entire image is on the screen. Try to fix your camera slightly away from the face; the other person should have a face-to-chest vision, not your face facing the camera very close up. Also, be aware of your hands; keeping hands on the desk or fidgeting with your fingers or keeping hands around the camera is not a great idea. Hands should be off the table or placed neatly.
2. Voice modulation and communication: Dr Albert Mehrabian's three Vs of communication - verbal, vocal and visual - are still valid for face-to-face communication. However, since the world has evolved, we can always tweak it a bit. The need for crisp and eloquent communication has gained more importance in the new world.
3. Attire: By now, we've all probably heard the story of Will Reeve, a reporter for ABC, who was caught wearing business attire only from the waist up but was, in fact, seated without pants. Etiquette consultants all over the world were in sheer shock. But, of course, it was unintentional. While we may not go that far, we should, first and foremost, pay attention to the attire. Visual credibility has a direct impact on human psychology. While you may not need a three-piece suit for every virtual professional meeting, dressing lackadaisical is not an option for a credible image. Making an effort to look professional over Zoom and on day-to-day business virtual meetings will enhance your credibility.
4. Be aware of background disturbance: It's challenging when you are in an important meeting or a job interview over Zoom, and your child starts crying or the dog is barking. While we cannot always control sudden mishaps and the other person should be considerate about these situations, we should always prepare ourselves with utmost efficiency. Professional conduct is non-negotiable if you want to be an efficient business professional. Keep your background silent and be efficient. There is no excuse for inefficiency in the professional world if you want to climb the ladder of success.
Till we meet next, #beextraordinary.

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