(Guest post: Margit Takács)

Working in the virtual world (and soon in a hybrid one) brings about great learning opportunities and also the chance to influence others in new ways! Charisma is the somewhat intangible “difference maker” in our interactions with other people. The good news is that even if we have limited in-person interactions, we still have our E-CHARISMA to leverage!

E-Charisma

“E-charisma involves a completely different set of skills and attributes than does P-charisma [in person charisma],” says Leigh Thompson, professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, who addresses the issue in her latest book, “Negotiating the Sweet Spot: The Art of Leaving Nothing on the Table.”

When we meet in person, there are those who appear at the meeting room door in their power suit, head held high with a smile. They confidently walk over to the power seat at the table to dominate the discussion. Sounds familiar, right? They talk and we listen.

But how does that work in the virtual world?

There is no power suit or power seat. We are all equal on the screen, and we all have an equal opportunity to influence.

Typical Traps

And yet, we still seem to fall into some typical traps when it comes to influencing others in the virtual space:

  • We tend to/want to negotiate the same way we did in “normal” circumstances.
  • We get down to business too fast.
  • We have binary discussions where we expect a yes-or-no answer, but things are not black and white in the virtual world either.
  • Positive messages are interpreted as neutral, while neutral messages are often considered negative. People don’t always hear what we want to say.
  • Our communication is even more ambiguous, as ‘reading between the lines’ is no small feat when we’re trying to do so online.

Top Tips

Here are my seven top tips for you to strengthen your e-charisma!

  1. See this experience in the virtual world as your chance to be equal to the others on the screen. No matter your hierarchical status and background, you have an equal place at the virtual discussion table. Are you a junior expert, a mid-level manager or a senior leader? We all have the same little box on the screen!
  2. Use your substance and deliver on it! Prove what you are good at, where your expertise lies and deliver on what you promise!
  3. Take five minutes to have a social start and bring that human connection into the dialogue, no matter the physical distance. Getting down to business does not mean starting with the work topics right away. A little socializing allows you and others to arrive mentally and emotionally to the meeting and be productive in your discussion.
  4. Switch the camera on or at least have a photo so that people can visually relate to you. No one would want to talk to a blank, black wall in real life, right?
  5. Humanize the other person: listen actively, feed back, paraphrase if needed so that the other person knows that you really get them.
  6. Build virtual trust by showing your professional competence and that you care about how your discussion will bring positive results to everyone at the meeting.
  7. Set the timing and agenda, and always check if it is the right time for the other person to have a meaningful discussion with you.

No one says it is easy, but I say it is possible! Start with one tip at a time. Slowly build each one into your routine and see how they will make you and your e-charisma blossom!

References

https://hbr.org/podcast/2020/08/adapting-negotiations-to-a-remote-worldhttps://www.wsj.com/articles/do-you-have-e-charisma-on-zoom-heres-how-to-get-it-11606651200

Margit Takacs de Viveros

Margit Takacs

Margit Takács is a Senior Change Management Consultant, Trainer, Coach and Speaker. With 20 years of experience in global MNCs and the not-for-profit world in 7 countries, She works with teams and people from different paths in life to help them achieve their aspirations with change and resilience across cultures. She collaborates with stakeholders in English, Spanish and Hungarian and she speaks French and German at a conversational level.

Located in Geneva, Switzerland. Servicing clients worldwide. www.margittakacs.com

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