If you’re lucky in Covid-19 world, and you’re still busy with work, then there’s one certainty. You’re doing a lot of video calls.
It’s easy to blame the tool when meetings don’t feel as warm, human, and connected as they used to. When they feel flat, dull and relentless. The old rule still applies even in the digital age. Don’t be the bad worker who blames the tool. Master the tool instead.
Of course video calls aren’t going to be exactly the same as being in the room with real human beings. But in a time where virtual meetings are all we have, we need to make them work. No excuses. They can be good – different. And if you want to make your calls sing, the people you can learn from are broadcasters, who know how to project energy through the lens, to the pixels.
Channelling the presence and focus of a great broadcaster, will, I promise, get you better results than slumping over your laptop and surreptitiously checking. Here are my three secrets to try:
1: Listening feeds speaking
What makes for a great video call? Simple. Listening. Someone really listening to you, and responding in the moment. You hear it in their tone, you see it in their face. You can feel they are with you, even down the lens. It feels good because it’s rare. Most people on video calls are only half listening. They think you can’t tell so they fake listen aka ‘multitasking” – Studies have shown that many spend time doing everything checking email to going to the loo. But you can tell they are faking; listening feeds speaking – so you hear a slight delay in their response, or a slightly flat intonation that says they aren’t fully with you. Trust vanishes and participation starts to ebb away.
Make your calls work, by showing up fully focused. If you want up innovation and participation in your virtual meetings you have to make sure your listening is as focused as if you were in the room. Show up to your call fully present and engaged. This may mean that you ration your calls – don’t run them back to back, quantity over quality. Go for quality. Keep them short and focused so you can fully engage. Listen with full focus. Be fascinated. Hear all voices – make sure everyone gets focused time.
2: Keep It Short and Sweet
Segment your content like a good broadcaster. And don’t let people speak for too long – keep their contributions concise and then move on just as a great broadcaster does in a panel discussion. Have ambition for your calls – not second best to real meetings, just different. Adopt the approach of the professional broadcaster and show up fully focused for each one.
3: Up Your Energy: Speak Through The Camera, not at the Camera
When you are connecting down the lens and to the pixels you need to up your energy. You want to get the feeling of sending your energy through the screen, slightly beyond you. A really good thing to do before a call is to put some music on and sing – something that you love. It doesn’t have to be particularly tuneful, it just needs to get your energy up and your voice moving. Then when you speak on the call, sit up with energy and think of sending your voice easily to the back of the room you’re in, even as you look at the camera. It gives you easy power vocally and energises others. A real broadcaster secret is to have a sense of a smile in the eyes and the voice (as long as the message suits lightness), it ups your energy and transmits down the lens. You will notice that when you commit that energy to calls, that it comes back to you. Energy is infectious. Send it out and watch it bounce back.
And if you want a good example of this in action. Watch this Simon Sinek team call.