The rapid shift to digital has changed the game for communication. A lot of our communication is now happening through digital platforms. Whether you are in B2B sales, inspiring your team to take on a new challenge, or pitching an innovation initiative, how you show up virtually matters. Are you using an old playbook for a new game?
How might we level up our communication for the virtual world? What are the new possibilities for truly connecting? Can we make the virtual experience more human?
With so much of our communication now happening through digital platforms, TomorrowZone® thought leaders want to know how to take an innovative approach to leadership presence in the digital world.
- How do we show up in a way that matters?
- What’s the new playbook?
- Can we make the virtual experience more human?
If we spend more time interacting digitally, then, as leaders, we need to level up the way we show up. Digital presence is different from physical presence. If you spend $100 on shoes so that you show up well in a physical meeting, why wouldn’t you make a similar level of investment in a good microphone? Or a good web camera?
Continuing our yearlong digital collaboration experiment, we invited Chris Cummins, Founder of Cummins Media, to lead an insightful exploration of New Possibilities for Virtual Leadership Communication on February 25, 2021, for TomorrowZone’s Unconference.
As a professional speaker and 6-time TEDx presenter, Chris is passionate about making real, human connections in an increasingly impersonal, electronic, and automated world.
Chris shared invaluable tips to better connect with an audience on camera and how to avoid “zoom fatigue.” Did you know that you can control your virtual environment to avoid zoom fatigue and show up more awesome on screen? Simple adjustments to sound, light, camera, and microphone radically improve how you show up as a virtual leader.
Using straightforward mental models can help you create a safe environment for collaboration, especially when virtual. Another simple but innovative approach is to re-think assumptions about video interaction altogether. Not everything has to be in real-time. Asynchronous video messages can be a powerful way to connect and make digital communication more human.
Here are examples of simple tips you can apply right away.
- Zoom fatigue comes from the cognitive load increase directly tied to constantly seeing a mirror of yourself on video. You can control this – you can decrease cognitive load (and reduce energy drain) by hiding your self-view (hover your mouse over your video image and click the […] button – choose HIDE SELF VIEW – now you are no longer thinking about yourself, and you can bring your total energy to the meeting.
- In Zoom, you have control over the gallery vs. speaker view. Gallery view takes less energy for you as a viewer. But sometimes, being in “speaker view” makes sense. Just pay attention to that, and it will change the amount of energy you expend as a participant in a zoom meeting.
- When presenting virtually, Chris says, “STOP being so “presenter-y.” No matter how large the audience, you must think of it more as a one-on-one in the digital world. Video is more intimate. Make it more human when you present digitally.
To explore deeper, session attendees got to discuss their experiences of this new virtual environment:
- Practical applications to apply from the session
- Attendees shared what they learned, discussed, discovered, or reinforced in their breakout rooms
- All of this discussion sparked new ideas for engaging with others using these “more human” techniques
“In our session, everyone gathered around the idea of rethinking the virtual environment and getting away from the whole setup. Getting away from being a presentation, and that was huge.”
– UnConference attendee
The UnConference session with Chris Cummins was a blast! So many simple out-of-the-box ideas were immediately applicable. We learned that you could take control to level up how you show up virtually. You can creatively use sound, light, camera, music, and other environmental controls to reduce cognitive load and increase energy and focus.
There are so many tools, techniques, and mental models we can take advantage of to show up more human and communicate better as leaders in the digital world. There are things you can do with music, video, body language voice, and sound that change the game for how you show up online. You have more control than you think.
This UnConference session with Chris Cummins was a blast! We learned so many creative but straightforward ideas to immediately level up the way you show up virtually.
There are so many tools, techniques, and mental models we can take advantage of to show up more human and communicate better as leaders in the digital world. There are things you can do with music, video, body language, voice, and sound that change the game for how you show up online. You have more control than you think.
Go level up your digital presence, as Chris says, “Get in your reps! The only way to get comfortable being on camera is to do it a lot!”
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