Last week I shared with you some tips to help you make a great first impression remotely. It covered ‘Getting the basics right’ which was all about technology and situation. If you missed it, be sure to check it out on the website. This week it’s Part 2…
Getting the Conversation started
Small talk, listening and video conference etiquette. Some subtle differences from face to face interaction that will help make a great first impression.
- Introduce yourself. Seriously? Yes! If you were meeting in a lobby ahead of an interview, you’d extend your hand, smile and say “Hi, I’m ‘Bob’, delighted to meet you.” Yet put us in a virtual meeting and that seems to go out the window. Especially in recorded job interviews where you’re not actually meeting with anyone and just recording your answers to some questions that pop up on screen. Yes the recruiting manager can see that your recording relates to your name but where’s the harm in saying “Hi, I’m Bob, thanks for inviting me to interview with you today” before you answer the first question. Standing out for the right reasons.
- Small talk. A joy for some and painful for others. If you fall into the latter category it’s time to take a deep breath and embrace your inner chatter box. Take a few minutes at the start of the interview to ask how they are, comment on the weather (very British!), ask how remote interviewing/meeting has been going for them, how they are finding working from home etc. All great ways to relax yourself, show some of your character and get to know a little about the people you are meeting. Chances are they will return the questions and talking about ourselves is usually a topic we know fairly well so we should be on pretty safe territory.
- Smile and make eye contact. Smiling helps to calm us down, it helps others become calm and it helps to create a bond between people. All good things when you’re in a potentially nerve-inducing situation such as an interview or a client meeting. No fake smiling though. Or grinning. Or laughing at your own jokes. A nice, sincere smile, every so often throughout the meeting will work a charm. And keep looking back up to that camera lens!
- Pause. The tendency that people sometimes have to talk over one another when meeting face to face, usually in points of agreement, humour or strong interest, don’t work as well remotely. When someone has finished making their point or asking their question pause for a moment before responding. Talking over each other (especially if there are sound delays on the line) and resorting to “sorry, you go, no, you go” is not where you want to be.
- To wave or not to wave. It’s the end of the call, everyone is saying their farewells and it’s that moment. Do you wave to the camera? When it comes to etiquette the wave is the new handshake. Too cutesy is the equivalent of a limp handshake. Too animated and it’s akin to the bone crusher and opting for a single wave verges on a salute. What to do? Whatever you choose to do, or not do, do smile. At least then whatever happens next is coming from a place of good intention. If it feels natural to wave then go for it but keep it brief!
- Disconnect. Know where the exit button is, press it, check for any further ‘are you sure you want to leave the meeting options’ and wait for the light next to your camera to go off. Generally best to just stay silent until you are absolutely sure that you are out of the meeting. And relax.
If the interview or meeting has been recorded, take time to watch it back at a later date and note what worked well and what could be even better so that you can keep building on making that great first impression – remotely.
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