Hi, this is Mike Lipkin and it’s a huge pleasure to talk with you. Welcome to my home. Although I can’t see you, I like you already. I appreciate that you’ve invested your time in this message. Like me, you’re looking for ways to thrive on the crisis by becoming valuable to the people in your world. Am I right? You know that you’re only as good as other people think you are.
Right now, this is literally the closest I’m going to get to you. But it’s close enough. We’re only a few feet apart, if you don’t count the distance between your screen and mine. This is an incredibly intimate moment. Can you feel it? Or is it just me? I’m serious. I know what it took to earn your attention. Of all the things you could be doing right now, you’ve chosen to invest your time with me. I appreciate that and I will give you a phenomenal return on that investment.
More than any factor, Success in this time of Corona comes from creating your virtual charisma. Did you know that Charisma is the Greek word for gift. It’s a personal magic that compels people to give you their attention and admiration. It’s a special power that brands you as a leader and influencer. It’s what makes you the signal in the noise.
And here’s an amazing secret: it’s easier to create virtual charisma than in-person, physical charisma. Think about it. In the real world, certain people may just be more attractive than others. They may have the looks, the moves, the charm or just the presence that gives them a natural advantage over others. But in the virtual world, we can conjure up those assets by becoming an embodiment of our most desired traits.
What do I mean? I want you to see me as someone that can help you succeed under difficult circumstances. I want you to perceive me as your virtual communication coach. I want to come across as warm, inspiring, funny, and knowledgeable. In other words, charismatic. I’ve designed everything around me to project that image. In this short video, I will share my methods with you so you can create your own ideal avatar that others will fall in love with.
The trend towards remote communication is only going to grow stronger. We’re getting used to seeing each other on screen. We’re even beginning to enjoy it. If you want to win customers and influence colleagues, you have to create your virtual charisma. And here’s the good news: it’s easier than it seems. So many people are so bad on camera, that just being mediocre is a competitive advantage. If you’re actually skilled, you will catapult yourself forward.
So here are Lipkin’s Ten Ways to Create Your Virtual Charisma (in order of priority):
- Get the basics right: look at the camera lens in the eye, just like you’re looking at a person. Lift your laptop up to eye level so you’re not looking down or up. Make sure that you have lights shining brightly on you. Invest in a quality high definition webcam and microphone. Make sure that your backdrop is clean and simple.
- Headline your message. Grab your participants’ attention from the get-go. Let them know why they will benefit from the call. Make it interesting. Describe it as something that they will find valuable. Earn the right to be heard.
- Build a clear narrative. Tell them what you will tell them. Provide a summary of your content. Then tell your story. Make it tight and compelling. Have a script or set of bullet points that you will cover. Stay focused. Close on a high note with an inspiring call to action.
- Use fewer, bolder, simpler visuals. Less is more. Cut through the distraction with single-minded slides that dramatize your data. Maximize your presence on the screen.
- Look the part. If you want to win customers and influence colleagues, look the part that you want to play. Overcompensate for the lack of physical presence by looking sharper than you would normally look. Champions never look scruffy, tired or stressed. Act as though you’re in your professional space because you are.
- Animate your style. Whether you’re an introvert, ambivert or extrovert, energize your delivery. Use your face, voice and body to enliven your delivery. Smile. Talk at least 20% louder than you would normally talk. Finish your sentences with an exclamation mark. Use your hands to punctuate your delivery. Stand if you can – it gives you a greater range of motion. Don’t be self-conscious. The webcam acts as a natural suppressor. That means it reduces your natural warmth and spontaneity. So ham it up a little. It may seem awkward at first, but you will very quickly get into a new rhythm.
- Listen like you are all in. When others are speaking, show your rapt attention. Demonstrate your empathy. Ask relevant questions. Make appropriate comments. If the speaker asks for feedback, give it to them. Make sure they feel validated by your participation. Don’t leave them hanging. Be the one that goes first.
- Recover quickly. No matter how prepared you are, you’re going to stumble, hesitate or go astray at some point. That’s ok. Don’t get stuck. Just carry on. Your audience may not even notice. And even if they do, they’ll forgive you. People understand that communicating virtually is harder than in person. Composure will gain you kudos.
- Get feedback. After key sessions, send out a survey through survey monkey. Or simply call people to find out what they think. Ask for their guidance on how to increase your impact. Then experiment with new approaches. Practice makes proficient.
- Find your role models. Watch presenters that resonate with you. They could be members of your organization, industry or network. Or they could be influencers, media personalities or even actors. Go looking for great and you’ll find it. I watch presenters like Anderson Cooper, TD Jakes, Grant Cardone, Erin Burnett, Andrew Cuomo, Jim Cramer, Jimmy Fallon, Trevor Noah and Steve Colbert to name just a few. I learn something different from everyone. When the student is ready, the teacher appears.
So that’s it. Get the basics right. Headline your message. Build a clear narrative. Use fewer, bolder, simpler visuals. Look the part. Animate your style. Listen like you are all in. Recover quickly. Get feedback. And find your role models. This is Mike Lipkin and until the next time, remember: Emergencies are when your inner hero emerges. Let’s go inspire some people.