Keeping up with last month's theme, this October I want to talk about video and virtual meetings...because this time, it's personal.
October is here, and it seems that the world, or at least Ontario, is moving back to a more “normal” work pace. Kids are back at school, and many folks have gone back to their offices.
Since the onset of the pandemic, we’ve all had to make a huge number of adjustments, in every single way. One of the biggest changes in our lives has been what I jokingly call “The Rise of Zoom.” Not everyone is a fan of video meetings, but a great majority of us have had to get used to it.
At least for the time being, I think it’s safe to say that Zoom is here to stay. For one thing, you can’t beat the convenience. For me personally, attending a zoom networking event in the warmth of my home is perfect. Specially in January, when it’s still dark outside at 6am, the time I would normally be getting ready to head out for a breakfast meeting.
The thing about Zoom is that it’s made me realize how it’s brought our personal brands front and centre.
- Think of all the meetings you had to attend for work;
- all the virtual coffees you had with a brand new acquaintance;
- all the volunteer committee meetings that were held online.
Virtual meetings are likely to continue at least in the immediate future. For many business owners, working from home isn’t something that will change. For others, “work” now means a hybrid of working from home + going to the office a few days a week.
So yes, video meetings are here to stay, at least for the next few months. And that begs the question:
How are you showing up? Do you have a professional look?
Because you need to remember that people have been seeing YOU. YOUR face. Not your company; not your organization. That’s when your personal brand became the most important part of your brand image. Because your face (and the background behind you) was the only visual portion of your “brand” that people could see from 2020 until very recently.
To me, that signals that we’re at yet another stage in pandemic living, where we once again have to adjust our way of doing things.
We now have to figure out what the workplace looks like. I think now it’s important to start considering the way we personally show up to video meetings.
The key is to remember that your brand image is no longer restricted to your website, your Facebook business page, your logo, your email signature, and so on. It now includes YOU.
So what does that mean for the impression you make online? Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to manage the way people perceive you and your business. There’s now all kinds of gadgets and work-arounds so that the backgrounds behind us are blurred or at least partially hidden. There’s also new clip-on lights so that people can see us better! And when necessary, microphones and headsets are a great investment.
Beyond the technical aspects, I think that soon we may see some “official-ish” Zoom etiquette surface. For myself, my Zoom etiquette includes:
- no eating a meal while zooming
- no alcohol beveages-unless it’s a cocktail/happy-hour event
- no zooming in public (I saw a woman interviewing someone for a job at a local café last week. Not exactly private.)
And for everyone, I think there should be a strict rule of no participating at a networking virtual meeting while driving. Yes, I saw it happen. I won’t get into how reckless and unsafe that is.
I hope this has given you some food for thought as you continue to meet virtually. Because no matter what happens, people who see you online are forming an opinion about you and your brand.