“If you’re in a networking call and someone has made a great point, when you go after them, reference their name and re-affirm what they said, before going on to your point.” — Ramon Ray
Charisma is one of the key attributes found among successful business leaders. It helps you better connect with people, sell more and build better relationships.
Australia has a long record of charismatic leaders including Bob Hawke, Melanie Perkins and Mark Bouris – all of whom exuberate confidence and charm.
Whether it’s a warm handshake or a smiling persona, these tactics help show that you are giving this person your attention and that you ‘see’ them.
But how do you demonstrate that in a mostly digital world, with many of us networking, communicating, selling and learning online, behind the cold and impersonal lens of a video camera?
1. Look directly at the camera. Eye contact is a critical component of charisma. While meeting over video, it can be tempting to look at the person you’re speaking with. But resist the urge — instead, look at the camera. They will see you’re looking at them, not your screen.
2. Smile often. Although you feel alone in an online meeting, you’re not. Your face is close and big to the other people on the screen. Smile often and look pleasant so that people see a warm and friendly face on their screen. A smile can go a long way in breaking the tension and diffusing the first few awkward moments of those morning video calls.
3. Acknowledge people. If you’re in a networking call and someone has made a great point, when you go after them, reference their name and re-affirm what they said before going on to your point. People want to feel heard. Acknowledging makes them feel valued — and it’s likely they’ll remember you positively for using their name.
4. Use chat. The chat tool on many online platforms is a great way to connect with people and add value to a conversation. Don’t use it to promote yourself. Share the LinkedIn links of other people, put tips you hear from other speakers in the chat. Use the chat not as a tool for self-promotion but as a resource to share with others.
5. Have a great background. It’s been almost a year since we’ve been using video more than ever before. By now, every professional should invest in good lighting and a decent background. Green screens often look horrible. Consider investing in a good-looking set up in your home to make you feel present.
6. Project positivity with your voice. How your voice sounds is an important asset in bringing out your ‘digital charisma’. Let your voice sound authentic and enthusiastic. Video fatigue is a real thing. If your voice is upbeat, you’ll breakthrough that fatigue and get people to sit up and take notice.
7. Keep props handy. During meetings, props can at times come in useful. Perhaps ring the bell or pull a book from the library or do an impromptu puppet show. The props, used sparingly, can be engaging and fun.
8. Follow up. What you do online is not all that matters. Following up with people after a phone call or video chat is also important. Letting them know you care and are interested in developing a mutually beneficial relationship.
Charisma is powerful. It’s hard to showcase it online, but these tips may help bring it out. Be purposeful and intentional and morph for the online world.