4 Must-Do Virtual Communication Actions to Present Your Best Professional Self as Told by Kerri Garbis, CEO of Ovation

Well, my friends, we’re going to be here a while longer. Yes, is there good news coming from the pharmaceutical companies in terms of a vaccine, but we will need to rock out our “business on the top, pajamas on the bottom” thing a little bit longer. If you’re not already embracing these top virtual communication action items, please start today! Your colleagues, bosses, clients, and prospects will thank you!

Do a Background Check

Look behind you and ask yourself, “if we weren’t experiencing a global pandemic, would I have a business conversation here?”. If the answer is “no,” the time is now to create a background that enhances your brand and doesn’t distract from you and your credibility.

Anything bedroom or bathroom related is a rigid “no.” A virtual audience typically welcomes real-life bookshelves, musical instruments, plants, or anything representative of the professional you. Humans are still longing to see other real-life humans, so the more real you can appear, the better. 

Make Eye-contact With Your Camera

Have you had a conversation with the side of someone’s face? Or, had a much clearer few of their nostrils then you ever wanted to? I’ve had plenty. You can avoid the same fate by ensuring the camera you’re using is at eye level or slightly above and practice talking to the camera.

It isn’t easy. We want to connect with the people we’re speaking to, but weirdly looking at them actually can disconnect you from them. Making eye contact with the camera will make your audience feel seen. We’re so used to getting visual confirmation from the people we’re talking to that speaking almost exclusively to the camera will take practice. Make sure their picture is as close to your camera as possible so you can make a few glances at them throughout the conversation.

Turn Off Your Self-view

In real life, we don’t often stare at ourselves in the mirror while having a conversation with other people, but for some reason, we do this a lot in the virtual environment. Save yourself and your brain. Staring at yourself and constantly analyzing how you look is using up a ton of brainpower.

Once you’re all set-up on your call, and you know you can be seen clearly, select shut off self-view, freeing you to make crystal clear eye-contact with the camera and be much more present in general.

Wear Headphones

Sound distortion can be frustrating and makes your audience have to work harder. Headphones will help focus your sound and weed out a lot of the extra noise in the room. It also allows you not to get so distracted by other noise in your home/office/car. There is less chance of that tinny tone that can happen on a virtual call and often eliminates the dreaded echo.  

Both wired and Bluetooth headphones do the trick. Wired is a little more reliable because you don’t have to concern yourself with battery life. If you want the freedom to move around a lot, go Bluetooth.

More Good News

People are more understanding now than ever. Kid noise, cat appearances, pajama fashion shows are a little more accepted nowadays. As business professionals, we still need to be present, respectful, and put on a good show. Embracing the above four action items will help!

For more information visit www.GetOvation.com   

About the Kerri Garbis

Kerri Garbis, President and founder of Ovation, has trained hundreds of business professionals internationally. Her enthusiasm, humor, and energy inspires multiple repeat client engagements. 

Kerri is a Professional Speech Writer certified by the Professional Speechwriters Association, a Business Etiquette Expert, certified by The Emily Post Institute, and an Emotional Intelligence Expert, certified by The Hay Group. She ensures that every Ovation consultant delivers the highest level of client-focused professional training. 

In collaboration with the design team, Kerri creates customized and dynamic curriculum, tailor-made for every client. Company-wide dedication to this standard sets Ovation apart from the competition. 

A professional actress since childhood, Kerri began her studies in voice and theatre at The Baltimore School for the Arts before earning her BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University. She was in the Broadway-bound musical, Angels, off-Broadway in That Time of The Year, and sang or screeched on a stage in every state (except Hawaii) in the National Tours of Evita (as Evita) and Singin’ In The Rain (as Lina Lamont). Favorite credits include Spelling Bee in Boston, Ruthless! In Philadelphia, and I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti (a one-woman play) at various theatres that allowed her to cook on stage! 

You may also have seen her catching a pass from a New England Patriot, singing a Christmas carol, or complaining of bloating in a television commercial. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association. 

Kerri’s first book, Presentation Skills for Managers, is available now from McGraw-Hill.

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