The Complete Guide to Becoming a Virtual Pro
Welcome to the new normal of ~virtual~ professionalism! Amid the COVID-19 crisis, millions of professionals are now adapting by making their living room/bedroom/fill-in-the-blank room their workspace and navigating the new ways of communication. So, to help you become the best [virtual] professional you can be, we’ve laid out what it takes to be successful while working from “casa de you” as you transition from in-person to online.
New to working from home (aka WFH)? When you work from home, you have the option to roll out of bed (maybe even skip a shower) and jump right into your day. Seems nice, right?! There are a lot of benefits with this luxury, however, most of us need to adjust our at-home habits to get into a working mindset. Here are our top six tips to help you embrace the new WFH-life:
- Location, location, location!
Start by assessing your environment. You’ll want to find a comfy spot — but not too comfy. It’s easy to lose motivation when you’re wrapped in a plush blanket while sitting on a warm bed. The ideal home office will be calm, clutter-free, and let you stay focused and engaged. Find a quiet spot, away from TV screens and other people (if possible). This way, you can devote your attention to the task at hand. If you need some background noise, try instrumental music.
Check out how Covideo team member and Orr Fellow McKenzie Boyle created her perfect WFH environment.
- Dress for Success
Clothes can affect your mental and physical performance according to an article from Fast Company. The article points out that dressing for the office at home is “a physical and visual distinction, and it helps you set boundaries. Otherwise, you could feel like work never ends.” Yoga pants or sweats are great, but if you want to keep your work life and home life separate, start with the little things, like your outfit.
- Write it Down!
Create a to-do list. It’s easy to get disrupted when you’re surrounded by your electronics, pets, family/roommates, and “chores” (laundry, anyone?). Give yourself structure with a list of all the things you want to get done. From that list, pick the three most important things that you have to get done by the end of the day and prioritize them first. After you knock those out, everything else is gravy.
- Communication is Key
To preserve teamwork and collaboration, embrace your webcam. Start your mornings by gathering in a video meeting to go over the daily agenda and make sure everyone is on the same page. Or, send out a video message to check in with your team and set a positive tone for the day. This helps you stay united as a team and easily share updates and wins!
- The Right Tools for the Job
Speaking of communication… a variety of digital communication tools like Slack, Google Hangout Chats, Covideo, and Zoom, make adjusting from working in an office to working from home less overwhelming. Video tools, like Covideo and Zoom, allow you to maintain human interaction and simulate face-to-face business when you can’t be in person. Bonus: video messaging requires less time than a plain-text email and, since humans are visual learners, your recipient will comprehend your message quicker, thanks to your tone of voice and facial expressions.
- Share Your Achievements!
Encourage your team to broadcast their checklists and “wins.” Even better – shout them out by name in a video message, praising them publicly. This recognition goes a long way. Plus, it can help to promote some healthy competition and drive activity. Win/win!
Now you know how to work from home…let’s dive into the next level of becoming the best [virtual] professional you can be.
#2 – MASTER THE VIRTUAL MEETING
As business has gone from the boardroom to the living room (or any other part of the house), we must get comfortable turning on our webcams and connecting virtually. Using video in sales, marketing, or even internally is a powerful way to stay connected, but new factors must be considered when joining an online meeting.
Here are some of our online etiquette tips to help you master the virtual meeting.
- Dress to impress
Look presentable and professional. Even though you’re likely in the comfort of your own home, get dressed as you normally would for an in-person meeting… on the top at least.
- Check your devices
Technical difficulties get in the way of a successful meeting. Check to make sure all your programs are downloaded and functioning properly. Test the camera and microphone – it’s important that your clients and colleagues can see and hear you during the meeting.
- Manage the chaos
Working from home can mean more distractions. Limit those distractions by finding a quiet spot to join the meeting from. Close the door to keep uninvited guests from arriving in the background and to block out background noise.
- Send a video reminder
When you aren’t going anywhere in-person, it’s easier to overlook an online meeting. . Send a video email reminder beforehand to let them know you’re looking forward to connecting. If you’re wondering how to embed video in an email – P.S. Covideo can help with that!
- Give your full attention
Be present during the meeting. It can be tempting to multitask but don’t visit other websites or scroll through your phone. Stay focused and give your full focus just as you would in a face-to-face meeting.
- Keep your eyes on the clock
Be mindful of everyone’s schedules and be careful not to go over the allotted amount of time. If you forget something, embed a video in an email that summarizes your thoughts and allows people to watch it on their own time.
- Stay on task
With so little social interaction, it’s easy to get caught up socializing with coworkers and clients. Stay focused on the task at hand, and connect with friends after work hours.
- Be patient
Switching from face-to-face meetings to online meetings can be a big adjustment. Be patient as you overcome initial challenges and create a supportive environment as everyone transitions to the new way of communicating.
- Meet on the go
For those times when work gets too busy, and you don’t have time to jump on a call, consider sending a video email with your updates. This way, you can ditch the long, wordy emails and everyone can watch on their own time. Using video email platforms, like Covideo, allow you to share your message in a matter of minutes.
- Take a BREAK
As simple as they seem, video meetings can be just as, if not more, exhausting as in-person meetings. Bouncing from link to link, video call to video call can be quite the mental task as you shift your focus and not your seat. Be sure to block time off on your calendar to grab a snack, call a friend, or take a stroll. These mid-day mental breaks will help you clear your mind, then come back into your next task with improved clarity and focus.
You’re almost there! You’ve mastered WFH and you’ve mastered the virtual meeting – what else is there? Well… COVID-19 has taught us the importance of communication – more importantly, how to engage and connect with individuals.
Email communication is just as important, if not even more important since we have presented with new normals. So, without further ado, here are some ways in which you can really make your emails (personal & professional) stand out and engage readers!
#3 – STANDING OUT IN THE INBOX
How many times have you opened your inbox to find a neverending list of unread emails waiting for you?
Now, what if one of those emails had a moving picture of Emily, the one who hosts your favorite Indy podcast?
You’ll feel more tempted to click on the message and listen to Emily’s follow-up email because it’s no longer a wall of text, it’s a familiar face.
Video email helps you stand out in someone’s inbox. Here are 5 steps you should consider before sending a video message.
- Step 1: A Good Subject Headlines
Email subject lines are perfect opportunities to catch your audiences’ attention. According to Marketing Profs, subject lines that have up to 20 characters tend to garner significantly higher open rates and click rates. Video email subject lines should come with at least one of the following elements:
- name recognition
- and your viewer’s topic of interest.
Pro tip! Using the word “video” in the subject line boosts open rates by 19% and reduces unsubscribe instances by 26%.
- Step 2: Try-out a Video Email Platform
A good video email platform, like Covideo, gives you the ability to personalize your video by packaging it in a landing page or template. Want to know how to autoplay video in an email? Covideo has you covered. Instead of attaching a video file, our software has the ability to embed a video in an email through a hyperlink, whether that’s a video email for outlook or a Gmail video. If you doubt that video is the right choice, consider Forbes’ data which states that adding video to an email increases click-through rates 200-300%. 😱
- Step 3: Introduce yourself!
Try-out a video introduction! Greet your viewer by their name, introduce yourself, and what you and your company do. Explain shortly why you are sending this video to them and make sure to cater to your story to your recipient’s interests. You can do this by presenting your service as the solution to their pain points.
Maximize the impact of your video and hold your viewer’s attention by keeping it short (no longer than 2 minutes) and engaging.
- Step 4: Closing an Email
Wrap up by shortly pointing out the main purpose of your introduction video and, of course, give an effective call-to-action in your video message. Sales professionals are successful when they let their viewers know the next steps. For example, end your video by offering your contact details and telling them to reach out to you by phone or email. If you’re using Covideo, direct your viewer to click on a specific exit link that you have added to your video’s landing page. Your video email templates include call-to-action buttons and are customized with your own branding. Consider it a one-stop-shop for viewers.
- Step 5: Track Your Reactions and Open Rates.
Track the success of your emails, and videos, through email analytics. These analytics will provide you with better insights on how your messaging, video, and calls-to-action are performing – making the follow-up process much more effective.
With video and analytics at your disposal, your future video emails will get you one click closer to your recipient!
YOU DID IT 🎉 You now know what it takes to transition from business-as-usual to business-as-not-so-usual by mastering virtual professionalism and how to generate success from it.
This is not the best-kept secret since Purell hand-sanitizer, so share with your networks how you are implementing these new components of WFH-life to further develop as a successful professional.
This piece has been co-authored between Covideo & Orr Fellowship.
Covideo provides video email software that helps businesses and individuals communicate more effectively, build relationships faster, and reinforce their brands with easy-to-make personalized videos.
Orr Fellowship is the ultimate post-grad experience setting out to develop the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs. This community of Orr Fellows launch their careers at innovative companies in the greater Indianapolis-area while participating in a unique curriculum designed to challenge, develop, and propel them toward a career of excellence.
Meet Our Orr Fellows at Covideo: