How to WOW in your next virtual meeting

The upside of Zoom meetings: You DON’T have to worry about what you’re wearing from the waist down. (Unless you have a clear glass desk.) 

But…

If you’re unfamiliar with being on camera, you could be perceived as awkward or inauthentic. 

Or worse, boring. And we don’t want that.

Your solution: 

Feel more relaxed and focused when you tap into your most impressive mode of communication. This is your “primary Advantage.” 

Once you unlock your Advantage, you’re far more likely to fascinate in any meeting. 

Your primary Advantage is the crux of your personal brand. 

Over the past decade of research with a million professionals, I discovered 7 types of personal brands. Which one best describes your personal brand? How about other people on the call? Your team?

Here’s the irony…

The better your team gets at online meetings, the fewer you’ll need. 

Meetings become faster and more efficient. People are more relaxed. Discussion flows. Everyone stays focused. 

This chart identifies the 7 primary Advantages. (As you’re reading this, ask yourself… which are your team members using?)

Virtual meetings are faster and more productive once you understand the group’s communication patterns.

A Zoom call is only as valuable as its ability to solve a problem. 

Quick note: In this article I’ll be using “Zoom calls” as a reference, but the same principles apply for platforms like WebEx, GoToMeeting, and good old-fashioned conference calls.

Let’s dive in, so you can see how this system improves results.

First up, I’ll start with my own primary Advantage: Passion.

The PASSION Advantage: 

Passion is the language of relationship. If you share this primary mode of communication, we quickly establish emotional connection with eye contact and friendly banter.

  • Tip for ramping up Passion: Acknowledge each person by name. Be forthcoming; ask a fun question, or share a quick anecdote to bond before you jump in. When possible, use visuals to make your points and stir emotion.
  • Watch-out for Passion: Energy is important in a virtual meeting, and helps hold people’s attention. Yet TOO much energy can come across as… shall we say… over-caffeinated. I know from experience that I have to consciously stop myself from bouncing around in my chair, and “talking with my hands,” since that gets distracting on a small screen. (After a TV interview, someone commented that it looked like I needed to pee. Yikes!)

The POWER Advantage:

Power is the language of confidence. Your innate method of adding value is to identify the result you intend to achieve, and then set it as a goal. You dislike keeping quiet and letting others dictate the call, because you’re driven to reach a conclusion.

  • Tip for ramping up Power: Step up to share an opinion— and be ready to back it up. Commit to a definitive point of view, so the group gets in an action-oriented mindset.
  • Watch-out for Power: Don’t interrupt. If you appear loud or overbearing, you’ll silence the valuable quieter voices on the call. I once watched a guy make his point on a call by pounding his fist on his desk (which jiggled the camera, not to mention making him look like a jerk).

The MYSTIQUE Advantage: 

Mystique is the language of listening. You listen before asking questions, which is a key aspect of how you add value. You get frustrated when people ramble. You think things through carefully and at your own pace. Your motto is “Ready… aim… aim… aim… fire!” (As opposed to Innovation, which is “Ready… fire… aim!”)

  • Tip for applying Mystique: Your role is to get the group thinking carefully, rather than being scattered or rambling.
  • Watch-out for Mystique: Things move quickly in online meetings, so prep yourself ahead to jump in rather than just watching. If you stare at the screen with a blank expression, you can be perceived as passive or disinterested.

The PRESTIGE Advantage: 

Prestige is the language of excellence. You don’t just want to achieve outcomes, you want to improve them. That’s important right now, when people feel demoralized. You have an unusual ability to ramp up results. Your standards are your secret sauce.

  • Tip for ramping up Prestige: Keep your eye on the prize. If the group becomes confused about priorities, help everyone stay positive. Encourage and elevate.
  • Watch-out for Prestige: For you, online meetings can feel sloppy and low quality. Be careful not to be perceived as snippy or annoyed with this. (You don’t always have the “right” answer.) Stay respectful and supportive. Keep the dialogue going by asking others for their thoughts and feedback so everyone stays involved.

Are you starting to see how this works? If you want to apply this with your own team, I’ll show you how in a bit.

The ALERT Advantage: 

You keep people on topic, on track, and on target. You’re a tremendous asset for Zoom calls, which can quickly drift as people cruise over to Instagram to check their feed. Alert is the language of details, so take the lead here.

  • Tip for ramping up Alert: If the discussion starts rambling or going off-topic, tactfully lasso everyone back to the agenda. Make sure everyone has the call-in number or link in advance, so there’s no delay to start time. Then once the call begins, do a roll call or other way to reduce that dreaded awkward pause right before everyone arrives.
  • Watch-out for Alert: Facts and data are your happy place. You love their precision. But online meetings are inherently imperfect, with all kinds of surprise glitches. In times like these, it can be more important to stay connected than stay precisely on schedule.

The TRUST Advantage: 

Odds are, you don’t really care for online meetings. You prefer face-to-face, or phone, or email. For you, the sudden rush of online meetings can feel like a radical shift.  That’s because Trust is the language of stability.

  • Tip for ramping up Trust: Before the meeting, think through your points. That helps you get in a calm mindset before you hit that dreaded “Start Video” button.
  • Watch-out for Trust: When you feel awkward on a call, you tend to clam up. That can make you seem like you’re not keeping up. Online meetings tend to move more quickly than in-person meetings. If this whole new form of communication makes you skittish get a little practice with a peer to boost your learning curve.

The INNOVATION Advantage: 

Let’s come up with all kinds of new ideas! Who needs a call agenda, anyway? That’s what you’re thinking, if you have primary Innovation. You adopt new technology more quickly than most, so you have an advantage in the recent online transition.

  • Tip for ramping up Innovation: You speak the language of creativity. If your team feels demoralized by everything that’s going on, even small bits of fresh thinking keep everyone moving forward.
  • Watch-out for Innovation: You can get a little impatient when things drag or feel redundant, You’re eager to get on to the next thing. But stay focused. Right now, we all need your wealth of possibilities and pivots.

Which of these 7 Advantages best describes your approach to Zoom? How about your team members? 

Do your fellow Zoomers participate quietly with Mystique? Or with Alert’s detail-focus? Do they toss out ideas, through Innovation? Or are they a rowdy bunch, with Passion?

The better you can “read” people on the call, the more successful the call will be.

The Fascinate test shows you how you’re most likely to impress and influence on a Zoom call (or any other type of meeting, for that matter).  Review your profile or take the test here.

 

When everyone on a team understands each other’s communication style, you’ll reduce misunderstanding and conflict.

How’s this for irony: 

The more quickly your team masters online meetings, the fewer you’ll need. 

  • Meetings are faster and more efficient. 
  • Everyone gets more relaxed. The discussion flows. 
  • People participate in Q&A.
  • Even people who dread the online format become more likely to use features. (My favorites are live screen sharing and the chat box to reiterate key points being discussed in the call).

When personalities shine through, people use humor and respond more naturally. My team likes to clink coffee cups to kick off the meeting. 

Hey, Zoom can actually become FUN. Imagine that!

 

Which primary Advantage do YOU use? 

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About the author

Sally Hogshead

Sally skyrocketed to the top of the advertising world in her early 20s, fascinating millions of consumers for clients such as MINI Cooper and Coca-Cola. Since then, she’s published two New York Times bestsellers on the science of fascination, and is one of only 172 living members in the Speaker Hall of Fame. Over a million professionals have taken the Fascination Advantage® personality test to discover how others perceive their communication.

6 Comments

  1. Team Fascinate

    We love this story! So glad your report was so helpful as you navigated life changes.

  2. Team Fascinate

    You’re so welcome!

  3. Garland Thurman

    Thank you for the Zoom tips, Sally.

  4. Cheryl

    Thank you for your continued insight! I took the test in 2012 I think it was, I printed it and it is always on hand. I’ve referred to it often as I pivoted from my long-time business to a new business four years ago.

  5. Tony Ryan

    You KNOW I have been a fan for years. Great stuff! Keep it coming!

  6. Kalyani Fad

    Sally, I resonate so much with you and your work! Your test is really accurate. Thank you!
    Kalyani

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