zoom meeting

 

Our new Work From Home (WFH) reality has changed a lot about the way we work today. But one thing that should not change, or be compromised, is our executive presence.

Forbes defines executive presence as your “ability to inspire confidence.”  In its article “Executive Presence: What Is It, Why You Need It and How To Get It,” it outlines seven steps to build your executive presence.  One step implores us to make sure our appearance is not a distraction.

Some may believe that the WFH model allows us to be way too casual in our appearance. Since we’re not going to the office, there’s no need to look as professional as usual, right?

Of course, your company’s policy may allow for causal wear while working from home these days. But company policy aside, your appearance says a lot about your personal brand. And, it may or may not be instilling confidence in others.

 

Consider this:

  • 83% of senior executives believe that “unkempt attire” detracts from a woman’s executive presence and 75% from a man’s executive presence. This data comes from a study by the Center for Talent Innovation
  • 7% of meaning is communicated verbally, 38% by tone of voice, and 55% through body language. This is known as the 7-38-55 Rule-based on research by psychology professor Albert Mehrabian

There are multiple other studies that show how your appearance and non-verbal cues affect your personal brand and your perception of others.

 

Tips for Boosting Your Executive Presence on Video Conference Calls

As we all continue to Zoom away, let’s keep in mind these tips:

  1. Maintain a Professional Appearance – You don’t need to look like a Hollywood star or starlet, but make sure your appearance is aligned to the meeting and your role. T-shirts, baseball caps, and “bed heads” probably won’t cut it. Then again, a sport coat and tie may be overkill. A good rule of thumb is to remember the old adage, “You only get one chance to make a good first impression.”

Your appearance says a lot about your personal brand. And, it may or may not be instilling confidence in others.

  1. Create a Positive Tone of Voice – Let’s replace a monotone or a muffled voice with one that generates enthusiasm. This starts with finding a good and natural posture. It also includes speaking confidently. Ensure you are speaking at a good volume level so you can be heard by all participants. Low volume tends to create a subdued effect. Allow for pauses where needed and use inflection to make a point or stimulate a listener’s response. Remember: Enthusiasm is contagious.

There are multiple other studies that show how your appearance and non-verbal cues affect your personal brand and your perception of others. 

  1. Use Gestures Appropriately – While most video conference meetings only show us from the shoulders up, that doesn’t mean we can’t use gestures with our face or hands. Giving a thumbs up or nodding to show approval can be a powerful way to show your support. Offering a smile or a wink can also generate goodwill.

 

Executive Presence Is In Your Control

Video conference calls can never replace our in-person meetings. But we should not let that undermine our executive presence. After all, managing our appearance, controlling our tone of voice, and adding gestures are all little things we can control. And it’s proven that each can bring big benefits.

If you’re interested in more ideas on effective personal or team communication, feel free to visit our Communication Training website.

What are your thoughts?  Has your executive presence been impacted while working from home?

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