Are we all screen stars now?

28 April 2020

This intense period of working from home is having a huge impact on the way we communicate professionally. The one good thing is that everyone is in the same situation – the screen is our new boardroom, meeting place, forum, stage. We are all screen stars, working and socialising remotely. When we switch on the laptop or computer, we switch on a version of ourselves. Sometimes this version does not have the same impact we might have had face-to-face.

Is my next virtual meeting my 15 minutes of fame?

We asked NIDA Corporate training experts for their insights and how acting training can have an impact on our ability to communicate in this new screen-based workspace.

‘We have entered a new environment and everyone is finding ways to adjust. Dogs and cats are featuring in job interviews, our husbands, children, partners run through our office as we take part in planning meetings, forums, group catch ups or CEO briefings. We’re under pressure to home-school the children and attend client meetings and webinars. While we tackle another online platform we’re hearing our friends talk about the novel they are thinking of completing. All the while, we need to put our best foot forward in our professional lives,’ says Director of NIDA Corporate Vanessa White.

Organisations are searching for assistance. By now we have all set up an at-home workspace and hopefully found a quiet corner to work. We have worked out that wearing pyjamas to work is okay if you have a suitable shirt to wear over the top. The introverts have discovered they quite like working from home, and the extroverts are talking online in overdrive. How do we maintain a professional and confident exterior when we’re revealing all the aspects of our lives from our home office?

A rapport with our audience through the lens

Under this new paradigm, NIDA Corporate Course Manager and actor Sonia Todd sees an opportunity to extend on the skills needed for face-to-face communication and leverage them in front of the laptop camera. Film and TV actors build rapport with their audience through the lens, a skill directly transferable to the online business world. The choices around how we communicate, how we listen and how we choose to interact with others is available to all of us.

‘Our public courses explore the ways we can navigate group dynamics, keep communication channels open and maintain confident and authentic connections assisting people to improve the impact they have in online meetings.’

Tips from actors to make a crucial difference

Acting techniques can completely change our outlook and our ability to persuade and present ourselves online. Sonia has two tips that can quickly make a difference:

>> Body posture and balance

Tip: sit with your feet flat on the floor, check that your spine is straight, your shoulders are relaxed and open. Allow your neck to have some ease by building an awareness that the top of your head is floating upward, toward the ceiling. This allows others to read your physical messaging as open and in control.

>> Creating a flow with your communication

Tip: this makes for an engaging communicator. When fillers like ‘um’, ‘ah’, ‘you know’, and ‘like’, start getting in the way, simply pause and allow yourself to take a breath and then speak. This increases clarity and ease with your communication.

Find out more about NIDA Corporate public courses online here.