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  • Julia Ofner

The ON-OFF communicator. Keys to success for remote work.

Updated: May 7

Communicate with lights on.

E-meetings: available by mouse-klick.


The global on-off communication, a definition

Meetings and more meetings; this is the business reality of most of my international clients. The pandemic forced us to social distancing, but the side-effect of this physical limitation changed our communicative behavior significantly globally. Online conferences & meetings have become a daily part of any business. Although separated, we have never been more united and communicative while meetings are more effective than ever before. So everyone does it, but what is an e-meeting, video-or teleconference?

The businessdictionary.com defines an e-meeting as a web-based meeting format allowing audio and visual transfer through VOIP ( Voice Over Internet Protocol). The communicative interchange takes place in real-time and may include graph, document, or presentation sharing. According to the software used, recording and playback functions allow further possibilities for the on-off communicator. Please note, speaking in riddles or talking a mile a minute, is out of date communicating online in English. Clarity and agile English communication skills are a must-have communicating effectively while engaging your audience.


How to impact in online meetings?

There are some tricks communicating from screen to screen, in order to increase impact and confidence. Professional e-meetings need some preparation, background, light, dress/make-up and the right communicative behavior play an essential role in this format. First and foremost, the focus should be on you though you may do not like that. Second, your English voice is protagonist, so work on it sounding as clear, coherent, and concise as possible. Online communication is rather a 1-level communication compared to a 3-level communication in face- to face situations. The biggest mistake people can make is just to switch on and off their device looking and sounding unprofessional while communicating online.


Clarity and agile English communication skills are a must-have communicating effectively while engaging your audience.

Look and sound your best online, tips & tricks


LOOK YOUR BEST

1. Communicate with lights on

In fact, many people feel uncomfortable in front of the camera and have an issue about their appearance. Unfortunately, this concern reduces your impact in your English communication. There is an easy trick better than cosmetic surgery: communicate with the lights on. Whether you sit next to a window or use a lamp positioned just behind your device, try it out: you will look awesome. The key is to light up your face in front of you, even a candle works. However, be careful with back-lighting, overhead light or a window behind you, as it will make you look shadowy.


2. Check your background

Your background speaks volumes about you, though the focus needs to be on you. Make sure that the background is calm, neat, and professional. Your behind you is important. Keep background noise to a minimum, it is part of your communication process. If you do not have a home office room look out for a nice corner, check it with your phone to see the impact.

Create a nice distance from your background to create more atmosphere.


3. Look at the camera at eye-level

Having the camera below your face does not give you the best angel. So, my tip is, lift your computer up at eye-level or even higher. Put something beneath your laptop, books/ a box etc. and get your device positioned in the way that you look straight into the camera. This will make you look better, even slimmer when the camera is positioned above your face. Further, stick a little paper next to the camera and remind yourself to look at the camera and not at the screen while you are communicating. Note, eye-contact increases engagement.


4. Dress & make-up

Less is more, be smart: not over-or under-dressed. To keep the focus on your verbal communication, you should reduce non-verbal codes. Just be presentable: hair, dress and make-up should communicate your professionality in this home-office environment. Business communication requires business dress, so no informal dress codes. Clean and classy is the key, no pajamas, tank tops but may a silk blouse are suitable. Ladies, about jewelry & make-up, again less is more, no big earrings instead go for a decent little ring or necklace. Same for make-up, choose a nude look and you will be professional&awesome for any online event.


SOUND YOUR BEST

1. Use microphone & headphones

You actually communicate better when you sound better. Using a microphone and headphones is key to cut down background noises and make your voice sound closer to the audience. The goal is to communicate with more impact in a more personal way, being comfortable speaking.


2. Speak up

The home-office environment may change the way we speak triggering a more informal language. Please keep in mind, communicate warmly, we are having tough times, but stay professional. Stay classy, watch the language you use, and speak positively. No swear words. No complaints, sharing personal problems may is not the information you should provide.

Further, clear pronunciation is the key to success. Concise and well-framed messages help you to be better understood and save time and effort during your discussions online.

May you need to drop a line during the meeting to clarify your thoughts, no doubt, that is just one of the advantages of e-meetings.


3. Frame your thoughts

Before entering an online meeting, make sure you have structured your thoughts.

Create a checklist, answering 3 key questions:

What is the goal of this meeting?

What is my communicative pattern, how am I going to provide information effectively?

Which impact do I want to make in this meeting?


4. Pause, breath and watch out

Maybe the most difficult and most different part of this type of communication is the required awareness of pausing. Have you recognized the difficulty of communicating while your voice is overlapping with the other person´s voice? It is tricky, to know when you can speak and when you have to listen and wait. Watch out carefully, breath and listen. But mainly with practise, pausing, listening and focus skills will improve. So be patient and go with the flow.


Effectivity in meetings has increased. Online communication is time-saving, environment friendly and cost-effective.

PLEASE NOTE

"to speak in riddles": unclear communicative behavior confusing for the listener

"to talk a mile a minute": high-speed communication difficult to understand

"to drop a line": visualize your words by writing down a sentence

"something speaks volumes": it says a lot




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