VC stands for Valuable Communication

Travel lockdowns need not mean a pause in your corporate communication, says Bladonmore Partner Matt Guarente. They should mean you up your game in the use of technology and make ready to tell your story when people aren’t in the room.

I’m no digital native – in fact, sometimes, not even a digital tourist. But I have coached many people via videoconference, and prepared leaders for important presentations via live webcasts, enabling them to speak with impact to thousands of people worldwide.

As the travel lockdown extends to more companies, at Bladonmore we’ve been revisiting our remote coaching and communication services, to make sure that we can continue to support our clients and they can continue to reach their audiences.

Videoconferencing used to mean booking into a special facility in front of kit costing six figures. It also required someone from IT to struggle to get everyone connected and hearing each other. Now you can do it, and do it well, anywhere that you have a decent wifi connection.

Our app of choice is Teams, part of the MS Office suite, which allows us to have an easy, interactive, intuitive interaction and do many of the things we do in a coaching session. This includes recording and playing back the simulated interview or presentations, providing instant written feedback, and suggesting messaging that sits right there on the screen for the participant to deploy.

Unified communications technology makes these virtual sessions so much better than they used to be.

In conjunction with the Bladonmore film team, our coaches have developed some recommendations to help make your VCs as good as they can be:

Get ready for your close-up. MS Teams (and many other apps) can blur your background to put the focus on you. As ever, make sure you look the part, but also try to use a neutral and non-distracting backdrop. Hollywood directors of photography say a grey wall is best.

Let there be light. Adjust lighting in the room – sitting in front of a window will put you into silhouette, while a light over your head will make you look like the living dead. Put a light in front of you and see how it looks on screen. If it’s uncomfortably bright move it back.

Get the right eyeline. If you’re looking down at your laptop then the angle won’t look great. Try and elevate it so the camera is at eye level or even slightly above your eyeline.

Don’t plan on an epic. It’s very hard to keep fully focused on a screen for a long time. Break subjects up, to enable shorter online meetings. Do the page-turning offline.

Mean what you say. Cameras and screens inherently flatten down the impact of interpersonal cues and it’s important to remember to make your expression congruent with the words you use. We tell clients going on TV to use an extra dash of energy to counterbalance this effect. Of course if you have bad news to deliver, then there has to be congruence with that content, too.

Bladonmore is a specialist communications consultancy that helps clients tell their stories to the audiences that matter most to them. It provides advice, coaching and content via teams in London, New York, Dubai and Los Angeles.

Your story, well told.

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