Zoom meetings and other virtual gatherings have become a normal part of everyday life for millions of American employees and business owners. And as much as you may try to treat them as normal, they can still feel a little strange.

If you’re looking for a way to gain a competitive advantage and position yourself for success in this new virtual environment, confidence is a great place to start. The more you increase your confidence, the better results your results will be.

5 Ways to Improve Your Confidence in Virtual Meetings - virtual, meetings, confidence, camera, appearance

Try These 5 Tactics

Confidence is basically the belief and conviction you have in yourself. It requires you to understand your capabilities and feel secure in this knowledge.

According to Psychology Today, “Projecting confidence helps people gain credibility, make a strong first impression, deal with pressure, and tackle personal and professional challenges. It’s also an attractive trait, as confidence helps put others at ease.”

While the scenery may have changed, the importance of being confident certainly hasn’t deviated. Here’s a list of confidence-boosting suggestions that have been specifically tailored to this new virtual world:

1. Practice in Front of the Camera

How does a basketball player develop confidence at the free throw line? He shoots more free throws, of course. How does a musician gain confidence playing live music? She plays in front of a crowd dozens of times.

If you want to get comfortable being in front of a camera and presenting in virtual meetings, you simply have to get your reps in. And while you can practice in the privacy of your own office, you ultimately have to spend time in real, live meetings to get a feel for how it all works. Get your reps in and you’ll notice your confidence soar!

2. Come Prepared

There’s perhaps no better way to promote confidence in a virtual meeting than to come fully prepared. If your boss asks you to develop a spreadsheet of 10 action items, do 15. If you’re expected to merely sit back and observe, show up with some actionable insights that you can add to the conversation when there’s an appropriate opening.

3. Be Mindful of Your Appearance

For better or worse, we tend to tie a lot of our confidence to our looks. This is certainly true in a virtual world where we’re forced to simply look at each other from the torso-up.

Think about what physical flaws or appearance-related issues frustrate you and lower your confidence. Then proactively address these issues.

If, for example, you’re experiencing premature balding or hair loss, try laser therapy to regrow your hair. If you have dry and flaky skin, consider trying a new skincare regimen to promote healthier skin. You get the idea!

4. Get Familiar With the Tech

If you’re still not comfortable with how virtual meeting technology works, or if you’re using a new platform for the first time, take a few moments ahead of time to learn the ins and outs of the system. This will reduce unnecessary friction and allow you to focus on the meeting’s content.

5. Learn How to Speak Up

“Have you ever come to a meeting with ideas and a plan for what you want to say, then left realizing you said nothing the entire time? While you’re not alone, staying quiet is doing yourself a disservice,” business coach Melody Wilding writes. “It typically gets more difficult to enter the conversation as a meeting progresses. The longer you wait, the more your anxiety will build.”

Try to set a goal of speaking up within the first 10 minutes of a meeting. You should never force yourself to talk just for the sake of saying something, but this goal shifts you into the mindset of engaging early and often.

Some good tips for speaking up include:

  • “I have a question about that…”
  • “So what you’re saying is…”
  • “I have to say, that really gets me excited…”
  • “That concerns me a bit…”

Then once you have the floor, you can add in other important yet relevant information.

Discover Your Inner Confidence

Confidence comes more naturally to some than it does to others. However, with these tactics and techniques in your repertoire, you should be able to increase your own internal belief and conviction in your abilities, which will be positively reflected in how you interact with those on the other side of the screen.