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Harness technology and the way we work now to make yourself heard and bring about changes in the workplace, says award-winning entrepreneur Jackie Fast
The pandemic has forced businesses and their leaders to change how they operate. Meetings are no longer dictated by who talks the loudest or sits closest to the projector. Instead, we’re seeing more egalitarian gatherings, where everyone has the opportunity to show their face and have their voice heard.
This is great news for those who were previously sidelined or felt unable to speak up. Research has shown this can particularly impact women. Women still only hold 7.4% of CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies – a reflection not of skills, but of a legacy of not being seen or heard in meetings and board rooms.
Now, with technology on our side, there’s never been a better time for women to project their voices – to benefit themselves and to impact real, long-lasting change to the world of work. Of course, projecting your voice virtually is not just a case of turning your microphone up louder, it is about getting noticed.
Virtual platforms prioritise attendees with finished profiles. For example, if you are on a call with 20 people and only 10 of them have profile pictures, then those without profile pictures get listed after those with profile pictures. This is the same when you have your video turned on or off.
On that note: turn on your video during every single call. This will boost your visibility along with being more approachable – without even saying anything.
2. Address the (virtual) room
Just because you’re not in the boardroom doesn’t mean you can’t have direct conversations with people in your Zoom meeting. Be sure to namecheck other people specifically – either asking for their opinions or with general catch-up questions.
People want to work with people they like, so reaching out and engaging is important, even if it’s just for a virtual coffee and chat. Don’t forget that everyone is feeling isolated, so the more you can help create meaningful connections virtually, the more likely people will want to collaborate with you in the future.
3. Be proactive
With a significantly reduced commute, many leaders have more time in their diaries. Use this opportunity to snag some time to speak to the big boss about your new strategy or even approach a leader in your field if you are seeking advice.
However, remember that just because people have more time doesn’t mean they will jump on virtual meetings without a reason, so be clear about what it is you want to speak about.
Jackie Fast is an award-winning entrepreneur and author of new book, RULE BREAKER: Rebellious Leadership for the Future of Work, published by Kogan Page