How to adapt to communicating on-line


There is no doubting it, life has changed since I wrote my last article; I hope you are well and keeping safe.

However, if you are like me, you’re still trying to work while it feels as though the ground is shifting under your feet. On top of all the anxiety for your friends and family, worries about income and future work you will have found that face to face communication has been replaced by … video calls!

So, if these are for business conversations, how do you maintain a level of professionalism when working from your dressing table in your bedroom or your sofa?

Communicating on-line is different and two questions you need to ask yourself are … can they see me and what else can they see?

Can they see me?

What is the lighting like? Do you have your back to a window in which case you may be a mere silhouette? Or are you facing a window, in which case if the sun is out the camera may not pick up your features.

All the rules of communication are true on-line so make sure that the lighting is sufficient for the camera to see your eyes and mouth. Eye contact is still important so look directly at the camera lens at least some of the time. If you look at your screen, depending on the position, it is easy to appear as though you aren’t engaged at all. I have a picture of my partner by the camera to remind me to look up sometimes and it makes me smile … another important way to engage with your audience!

What else can they see?

Think about what’s behind you. I can’t tell you how often I have been looking at a dressing gown or once, a pile of dirty laundry behind the person I was talking to. Have a quick look at what’s behind you before you start your call; you want to remove anything that might be distracting.

Let others in the house know before you start. I heard a story this week of someone’s housemate walking behind them in his boxer shorts … when he realised, he walked away but by then the damage had been done!

Keep safe and let me know if you have any specific questions about communicating in our new normal.