We now live in a world that is increasingly reliant on using digital channels and platforms to communicate. We work from home. We study from home. Our ‘new normal’ uses virtual and remote communication on several digital platforms, such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Skype. How you use them is vital for achieving effective communication.
Television news stations are increasingly depending on these platforms to carry out their live on-air interviews as a way of practicing social distancing. As a television news anchor, I have observed that many people are unaware that it is important to look and sound good on these platforms.
Now more than ever before you always need to appear professional, and therefore it is vital that you get the basics right. The viewer will take you and what you are saying seriously when you look and sound good.
The fact that you are working from home does not mean you must show up anyhow. In fact, you need to remember that you are WORKING, albeit from home. Respect yourself, your colleagues, and the viewers, and show up decently.
The digital platform you choose to use as a tool is probably endowed with several built-in features but how you come across is entirely up to you. Contrary to what some people might believe, it is essential that you should look good and professional, whether you are chairing a team meeting, facilitating a webinar, talking to a client, or doing a television interview.
The essentials include ensuring that your appearance, the lighting, the background, your positioning, and sound are all optimum. This helps to avoid distractions that will take away from your delivery. Many people think the device they are using will do the magic by itself. Yes, you may have the best smart phone, laptop, or PC, but how you use it and set it appropriately will enable you to land your messages properly.
This means you need to be aware of what you are wearing, especially from the waist up. You should avoid wardrobe that is not befitting of your professional role. So, dress properly, and if you are wearing jewelry, keep it simple. For people who apply make-up, minimal is sufficient.
Watch your language – keep it clean, positive. The fact that you are at home does not mean you should be loose and lax about the words you use. Do not lower your barriers because you are at home. Do not loosen your language. Keep it tasteful. Remember you are working. Be a true pro. We are all stressed for various reasons and anxious about Covid-19. But this does not mean we should use digital remote meetings to vent about how mad and frustrated we are.
Your company should have available wellness channels for you to do that or you can phone a friend. Remember it is vital to look and sound good and polite, as you would if you were in the office or meeting a client or being interviewed on television.
Leaving an impression
Company executives, senior managers and specialists who lead team meetings and interact with the media need to be acutely aware of what impression they are creating and leaving with their audience. Small actions during a webinar, for example, might have an unintended negative impact on the audience.
Actions such as not looking into the camera when talking, not dressing appropriately, etc. might send the wrong message that you do not really care about what you are doing and you’d rather be watching your favourite Netflix series. It is important to continue to show professionalism and respect towards one another.
If you get the basics right, then you will ensure that your audience focuses on receiving your message in a clear and uninterrupted manner. You will achieve effective communication to enable your organisation to better position its brand.
My four decades of media and communication experience have aided me to offer in-depth training through AceCube PR to spokespeople, company executives and senior managers so that they are able to recognise and optimise opportunities for digital media interaction.
Dan Moyane has four decades of experience in media and communication. His experience includes 20 years of journalism, 10 years of management and leadership in media, as well as 10 years of executive experience in corporate communication and stakeholder engagement in financial services. He is a news anchor on eNCA.
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