Being likable shapes how you’re treated by your co-workers and employers – and it just might be your ticket to a new title with more pay. To be likeable is more than top-notch interpersonal skills such as active listening, problem solving, and conflict resolution. It’s about rolling up your sleeves and getting dirty.
COVID-19 forced many businesses into virtual settings, making it much more difficult to gain likeability points unjamming the copier or bringing morning coffee for your teammates. Statistics from 2020 show that 58% of businesses use video conferencing in their everyday operations. But it’s much more challenging to make a good impression on camera. So, how do you get noticed at work when going to work means talking into a video camera?
Here are 5 surefire ways of how to get noticed at work in a virtual world:
- Relax. It’s easy to get stage fright when we’re starring at ourselves on video. Don’t be nervous. Chances are you know most of the people in the room already. Video conferencing lets you wear your PJs. Comfortable clothing can help combat agitation and stress. Wear fabrics that feel good against your skin and avoid clothing that is restrictive. Choose outfits that make you feel confident. This will help reduce your anxiety about being on camera. In the post-COVID world, PJs might just be the new power suit – at least from the waist down!
- Make eye contact. Position your computer so that you can look directly into its camera. If you’re using a big monitor, move the window of your video chat just below the webcam. This makes it easy to watch people speaking while still making eye contact. When you speak, speak directly into the camera. This is a major difference from in-person meetings. When your eyes shift from person to person in video, it actually appears as though you’re not looking at anyone. If you need to address someone specifically, use their name rather than look at their image on screen.
- Smile. According to Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy, 80% of the judgments we make about others come down to warmth and competence. We’re more like to associate with a loveable fool over a competent jerk. Smiling shows warmth towards your co-workers on the camera and off. When working remotely, don’t forget to smile when you’re talking on the phone, or sending a text or email. Smiling boosts neuropeptides that send messages to your body that you’re happy. This changes your tone of voice, acting as a natural anti-depressant. People on the receiving end can hear and read the difference.
- Vary your tone. Fluctuate your tone and add variety to your pitch. You want to come across authentic rather than sound like you’re reading from your monitor. Think of video conferencing as having a conversation at the water cooler. Varying your tone will help show enthusiasm and create a sense of connectedness between you and those on the other end of the video conference.
- Actively listen. Yep, listening makes the list! Working from home can be distracting. Let’s face it, the fridge is always calling, the dog wants another walk, and wouldn’t it be nice to rearrange the living room? Actively listen whether you’re speaking or listening to someone else. Show curiosity for what’s being said or the reaction you’re receiving from what you’re saying. Being interested in others goes a long way towards likeability.
Video conferencing and working from home was on the rise before COVID-19. Since initial lockdown, Zoom reported a 78% year-over-year increase in total revenue. Experts estimate that 25-30% of the workforce will continue working from home several days a week by the end of 2021. You will need to find new ways to get noticed at work.
Remember, the same tried and true methods for getting noticed still apply in a virtual world. Take initiative, build rapport, be a team player, never talk smack, and speak up. If you have a great idea, share! Show initiative by offering to take minutes and disburse those to your teammates. Build-up your coworkers using email or “good job” memos. Add positive energy to the virtual office.