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How to Build Your Executive Presence in the Zoom Era

Transcript 

Kathy (host): 
Welcome back to Help! My Business is Growing, a podcast where we explore how to grow and build a business that is healthy and sustainable. I'm your host, Kathy Svetina. You know, the current reality of our daily lives today is that video calls and zoom meetings are the norms. They allow us to connect with our teams and clients without actually being there in person. But the problem with that is that the physical disconnect makes it so much easier for your audience to drift away to deal with other work to deal with the dog, the kids’ dinner, or, you know, just taking a quick peek at the latest Tiktok story that came through. The question is, how do you keep your audience engaged? And how do you ensure that they're still taking you seriously from the other side of the screen?

Kathy (host):
And this episode is dedicated to exploring that, and my guest is going to be Pamela Wigglesworth. And she's going to be talking about how you can nurture, build and develop your executive presence. Because in this age of zoom that we're currently living through, it is even more critical to have that executive presence and to ensure that you projected when the camera or the mic starts rolling. And selfishly, I also love this episode, because it has given me a lot of tips and tricks on how do I structure my presentations and meetings in a better way. One of the big takeaways for me from this episode was, how do I actually look at the camera? How do I remember to look at the camera so that I can make that personal connection with the person on the other side, and not look at myself on the monitor because it's so easy to forget that to actually make the iconic? You have to look at the camera and not at yourself on the monitor and that has been one of the things that I have really struggled with. She is giving us a really good tip of, really good trick on how do you actually do that. But before we dive into this episode, I want to tell you a little bit about Pam.

Kathy (host):
Pamela Wigglesworth is an American Singapore-based International Communication Consultant. She's also a presentation coach, a speaker, author, and the CEO of Experiential Hands-on Learning. She works one on one with senior leaders, C-suite executives, and small business owners to help them establish their executive presence. She helps them structure a clear concise presentation message and deliver their thoughts and ideas with style, confidence, and authority. Join us.

Kathy (host): 
Welcome to the show, Pam!

Pamela (guest): 
Good afternoon! Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Kathy (host): 
I'm so happy you're here, Pam. We have so much to talk about. And you know, I've been thinking about executive presence recently, and how important it is for a growing business. Because as you're growing a company, and you're also growing as a leader, and I think that to be an effective leader, you also need to cultivate your executive presence. Since you're such an expert in this field, I would love if you could define for us what exactly is executive presence? And why is it so important for the business owners or founders to spend time to really cultivate it?

Pamela (guest):  
Great question, love that we're getting a chance to start there, Kathy. Because so many people don't understand what executive presence is. It's a term that gets thrown around in the corporate world and people know that it's something that they need to be an effective leader. And yet they go, "You know, what is that? What is exactly is executive presence? And more importantly, do I have it?" How can you know whether you have it if you don't know what it is? It remains a mystery to a lot of people. In fact, if you think about the French have the expression 'je ne sais quoi' and that's defined as that appealing quality that really is unknown. And so for us executive presence, for most people is unknown, it still remains a mystery. However, most people use the default and think that executive presence is all about your appearance and presentation skills. Now, while those two things are part of it, they're just a small fraction of what executive presence is.

Pamela (guest):
Executive presence, as you say, is your audience is listening and they're growing their businesses and they need to be seen as a leader. That's exactly what executive presence is. It's about leadership, perception. How people perceive you to be a leader in your community, in your business, within your family. We think about that, it's really about how you show up your demeanor and your actions that demonstrate to others that you are a leader and worthy of being respected and followed. Let me just take one more second to unpack that a little bit more. What does that look like? Because people going "Yeah, that's a mouthful. But what does that mean?"

Pamela (guest):
If we were to unpack that and break that down, executive presence is really three things. It's your gravitas, that means your demeanor and your behavior, how you show up your grace under fire. How you show up, when you're stressed, how you carry yourself, how you command the room. Then it is your communication, and that equates to how you speak and what you say. And lastly, it's your appearance, and that's your attire, your grooming, and your posture, and how you actually come in and command the room. It's those three things that people can actually wrap their heads around your gravitas, communication, and appearance.

Kathy (host): 
That's such a great definition. And thank you for unraveling this mystery for us. Because even as myself, I know it's important, but it's really hard to pinpoint what exactly it is. Since we're on this topic of what exactly it is, can you give us an example of a leader or celebrity that you think is a great example of this executive presence?

Pamela (guest):  
Okay, a great one that we all get to see in the United States right now is Kamala Harris. In other words, she has a stage presence. It just comes naturally for her. When we see people who have executive presence, it's almost like, they have this magnetic appeal. They're articulate. They have great posture. They have just the way they carry themselves, and everybody wants to be around them. You'll know that person, you'll see them in a, maybe a conference room breakout or an event where suddenly somebody's talking, and you see this group of people forming around them. It's like everybody just wants to breathe their air. There's something about them that you just hang on to every word they say. Michelle Obama, Barak Obama, Suze Orman, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has a great executive presence. Think of the person like you said, when you walk into the room, everybody's around them. Bill Clinton was known to have or still is known to have a great executive presence. They are just articulate and they are able to command the room. Everybody looks at them and says, "Yes, I could follow that person. That's a leader."

Kathy (host): 
How much would you say, "Is this a case of nature versus nurture?" Are these people born with it? And then they nurtured it came easily to them? How does it work? How does someone actually go and build their executive presence? That is just not there. But they want to be there?

Pamela (guest): 
Yeah, good question. Most people it is not innate in them. The good news is it's something that can be, as you say, nurtured and developed over time. It's a matter of understanding and knowing what are the different pieces, if we were to break down the gravitas, the communication, and the appearance, these are things that we can then work on. So yes, you can develop your executive presence. What I want to backtrack for a moment, and for your audience to understand that normally we experience executive presence, face to face, but in this upside-down COVID environment, where we're limited to maybe doing our meetings in an online fashion, we aren't able to pick up the subtle nuances of confidence through a handshake or eye contact that we normally would have in a face to face meeting. Therefore, it's really important for us to step up our game when we're dealing in the virtual world because it does require a different skill set to really make an impact with the person on the other side of the camera. We can look at that and explore what are some of the different elements that we can really focus on so that we can develop that leadership capacity in the virtual world.

Kathy (host): 
Yeah, and I would love that because the virtual environment has been our reality for the last few years. It does not seem like it's going to go away anytime soon, or anytime at all. How do you not just, how do you conduct the meetings are effective and that people are not tuning you out? But also how do you make presentations, especially if you're a founder or if you're a business owner? You're going to have meetings with your bankers. You're going to have meetings with their investors. How do you get that gravitas and that exactly get a presence through the camera? If you could give us a couple of tips, pointers, what to do and what not to do that would be really helpful.

 

Pamela (guest): 
Well, great, let's start with gravitas. We normally would be in a room where people can see us and have an experience of us. We don't have that same element when we're talking through the lens. Well, first of all, let's talk about the lens. And the first thing is, that means I need to be looking straight down the barrel the lens - be at your web camera or the lens on your computer. You need to be giving the other person on the other side the sense that you are looking directly at them. Giving them eye contact, look directly at the camera.

Pamela (guest):
The second thing as far as gravitas, we need to change our state. When I say change your state or state of resourcefulness. Just as you would prepare for a meeting a face-to-face meeting. Equally, you need to prepare for an online meeting. So that means I need to be in the zone. I can't just show up, turn the camera on, go from one meeting to the next meeting. I prefer to to tell people have at least a 15-minute break in between your meetings so that you can get in the zone, you can decompress from the last meeting, and get in the mode for the next meeting. It's get in the state of mind of readiness.

 

Pamela (guest):
Then another thing way to show your gravitas is through being inclusive, using inclusive language. So that means I'm going to use words like we, us. I will use words like in our partnership together, in our working relationship. I will use words that will make the person on the other side feel included. More importantly, I want to make sure I'm using people's names. I'm going to say "Kathy, that's a great idea." Or if I have some people in the group that aren't necessarily speaking up in the meeting, I might then use their name and say, "Well, Belinda, we haven't heard from you. What are your thoughts?" Now, I'm not going to use the word "What do you think?" Because men will go after a woman when she uses that word. Well, do you think that's true? Or do you not think it's true? So you want to say words like "Belinda? What are your thoughts? We'd love to hear from you. What would you like to add, Belinda? What would you like to add, Susie?" Any thoughts on that the leader who brings in everybody into the conversation has 10 times ahead of the game because he's being or he or she is being inclusive. Those are some things with gravitas, and then just also how you are decisive online, getting to the point demonstrating confidence, sitting up straight, even though you're on camera and not in the same room. But making sure that people see you as a leader, even if it's in the virtual world. So that's gravitas.

 

Kathy (host): 
I would think that actually having one of those stand-sit desks would help because and I use that myself.

 

Pamela (guest):
I do too!

 

Kathy (host):
Every time I have a big presentation. It helps it does something to your voice, your posture, and to your confidence when you're standing versus sitting.

 

Pamela (guest): 
Yes, it changes your energy. Completely changes your energy. In fact, we'll say in presentation skills never go from the stage. If you're the next speaker, never go from a seated position because your energy isn't there yet. So be standing five or 10 minutes before, if you're in a conference and you're doing that. But even if you're doing a presentation, equally, be standing, it changes everything. It gives your hands the freedom to move around, and you can gesture more, but it's just a different type of presentation all-around when you stand versus sitting.

 

Kathy (host): 
Yeah. And you brought up a point of looking directly into the camera and we are recording this on audio. But we're also recording your video. This is something that I struggle with that I'm sure a lot of listeners to is how do you look at the camera while still paying attention to the facial expressions into the feedback that you're getting from another person because if I'm looking just to you, it looks like I'm not looking at you, but I'm reading your facial expressions. But if I'm looking at the camera, I'm not seeing you. So it's kind of like a chicken in the egg problem.

Pamela (guest): 
It is. It's not easy. The funniest part for me is when I don't necessarily want to be so engaged or if I'm talking to a family member, I find myself looking at the camera, not necessarily looking at them. Here's a couple of secrets. If you're using your camera, on your computer, raise up your computer, you know maybe if you have photocopy paper in your home, take two reams of photocopy paper and stack your computer on that. That way you're looking directly at the camera and also you're able to use your peripheral vision and glance down every now and then and look at the person as you're talking to them.

 

Pamela (guest):
Now, you can kind of do that while they're responding your share, again, you've got to make it so you're having a one on one with them. And even if it's 1000, people listening to you, they will all feel like it's, you're talking to them. It takes practice. Turn on your camera, and just have a conversation where you are looking straight at the camera. And over time, it will get easier. But it will get to the point where you do have, it's a blend, where you're looking down, you're looking up, just have your eyes flashed down every now and then, people will probably think you're blinking. But it is okay to look occasionally. But the problem is, if people see themselves down in the corner, or if I see you in the corner, I'm going to be looking at you down in the corner, and therefore it looks like I'm not paying attention to you at all. And other people will think I'm not paying attention to you when you're the speaker at that time.

 

Kathy (host): 
This reminds me of, since I grew up in another country, and English was not my native language. Every time I would listen, look at the English videos, they would have subtitles. It's funny because I talked to my husband, he's like, you still have subtitles on. And it's so hard to go between the back and forth between the video and the subtitle. But I've actually trained my brain to be able to look at the subtitle and still watch the video. I'm actually quitting that camera, facial expression to that. Because if you are doing that on a regular basis, you train your brain how to go back and forth a lot easier.

 

Pamela (guest): 
Yes, now you as the speaker can do that. But one thing you need to be aware of people who are giving presentations needs to be aware of this. As you say, you've trained your brain to be able to do that. But the brain cannot read, and the brain cannot listen at the same time.

 

Pamela (guest):
If you're giving a presentation, and you're using your presentation, your PowerPoint as your script, and you are simply reading what's on the script, people can read faster than you can speak. They're at the bottom of the slide, and you're still at the middle, and they think you're slow. They will perceive you to be slow. Do not read from your PowerPoint, or have some bullets up there a few words, but know what you want to say when you get to that particular slide so that you're not reading, because people will then say, "Well, this isn't a presentation. She could have just sent me the slide deck. I could have read it myself because now she's just reading to me."

 

Pamela (guest):
Don't put yourself in that position. Because the brain reads fast and can be at the bottom. They’re onto the next thing. There's no mystery. Or the other way to do that is to animate your slide and it'll getting off the executive presence. But since you brought that up, but either I animate your slides so that each bullet point comes up, and then you speak to that topic, but not so everybody gets to see everything before you get to the bottom of the page. You're absolutely right. We can't do both. But it's practice, it takes practice.

 

Kathy (host): 
And since we started into this topic of the presentation, and that was actually one of my questions. How do you structure the presentation so that it's actually engaging? Because right now, the last thing you want to do is have this death by PowerPoint via Zoom. That seems like the worst thing that could happen? How do you make sure that it's actually engaging to the audience, and that it's valuable to them as well? Any tips on that?

 

Pamela (guest): 
Yeah, let's go back to the next part of what executive presence is, which is all about communication. And that is what you say, and how you say it. If we're going to talk about that, and we're delivering these presentations in the virtual world or online meetings. The first thing is to have clear, strong, and concise language. Okay, so no flopping around, it means that no more winging it when it comes to your presentation. The days of winging your presentation are over. It does not work. It does not help you advance your career or advance the needle on a meeting. Be clear about what it is that you want to say.

 

Pamela (guest):
Secondly, we want to have an authoritative tone to our voice. That means we need to have a melody in our communication versus a flat tone, monotone. If I start my meeting, and I say, "Good morning, Kathy. It's great to see you. Great to have everybody house here on the call." And I continue the presentation that way, you know that people are going to check out. We need to bring energy so that's the first thing. People need to understand I want your listeners to hear this. Your secret sauce is to use your voice and your message. That's your superpower when it comes to engaging with other people. Start with high energy. If you start with high energy, you will continue your meeting with that same high energy. If you start with low energy, it will be low throughout the entire presentation.

 

Pamela (guest):
Next, we want to make sure that you are thinking and speaking strategically. Let me say that again because this is the key. This is really the golden nugget here. Thinking and speaking strategically. That means I need to start with, what's my overall objective for this meeting? What do I want to have happen at the end of this call? What's the action or the decision I want my listener to take after we finish this call?  I need to decide upfront? Is my objective to have informed, educate or motivate? Am I educating my potential investors on a new opportunity? Am I informing my staff about a new software program that we're going to be in? Or am I motivating them to feel good, and help them through this challenging process, because now we're seeing that women are experiencing even more stress during this COVID period, during the pandemic, because more responsibility is falling on their shoulders. Going back to thinking and speaking strategically, I want to think about what I want to say. And I want to be strategic about the language that I use.

 

Pamela (guest):
Things like I want to use alliteration. Now, alliteration is where I am going to use the same consonant, the sound in a sentence so that it is memorable. We think about the brain likes the number three. I may say, "I work with clients to deliver impactful presentations that are clear, concise, and compelling." So C-C-C, the brain will remember that as a soundbite.

 

Pamela (guest):
Or I want to use repetition, using the same word over and over again. If I'm talking about marketing communications, I might say, "When I work with you, my goal is to help you achieve more awareness to create more awareness, create more leads, and ultimately create more sales."  I'm going to use words that are repetitive, or I might use figurative language.

Pamela (guest):
Personification is where the trees were swaying in the wind. I'm going to make something that is an inanimate object and put human life features to it. I want to make sure that whatever I'm saying is going to make an impact.

Pamela (guest):
And the fourth thing I want people to know is they need to get straight to the point. People are overworked, overwhelmed, and they've got so much on their plates nowadays. We need to shorten our meeting time. Okay. If you're planning an hour meeting, you need to try to get that down to 45 minutes or even 30 minutes, because we found that attention spans over the last 10 years have dropped. We've gone from, I think the number is a 10 Minute attention span 10 years ago. We're now down to barely five minutes that people before they start to zone out.

Pamela (guest):
Now, if you don't keep their attention, they're going to go elsewhere. And so the numbers show, the statistics show that 65% of people zone out and will start doing other work. They'll just open up another window and they're listening to you, but they're doing other work. 43% of those people when they zone out are now going to social media, and looking at their profile, maybe making a post, whatever that might be. And the last is 21% start going into online shopping. If we don't keep them engaged, we're going to lose them. They are going to drift off.

Pamela (guest):
We also have more distractions today. We have pets that come in, cats that want to sit on our computer or your lap. Dogs that are barking in the background. Children that you know don't understand why mommy locked herself in the room and is not letting them in. They want to come in and see what Mommy is doing. You need to be again, think strategically. What do I need to do to keep my child busy? While I'm on this important call? Can I give them an iPad and the one good way is to give them an iPad, download a movie - a children's movie but put it in airplane mode. It's not drawing from your internet power, and then put them in another room, or hire a babysitter that can maybe take them to the park for that one hour, 30 minutes that you're on that important meeting. If you're going to have deliveries or repairment, schedule that and tell them "Look, I know you've given me a window, I've got a really important call. Please don't come ringing the doorbell while I'm on this particular call." This morning, similar situation, both my husband and I are equally busy. Neither of us cannot answer the door. We just literally reschedule the meeting, you know, the delivery, or the people coming to service, some appliances on another day, because we don't want those interruptions happening in those all-important meetings.

Pamela (guest):
Your superpower in this environment is really your voice. And making sure your message is really, really, really clear. Start with the end in mind, reverse engineer it. Figure out what is it that I want to achieve with this meeting, then determine what's my objective? Or how what's my intent to inspire, to motivate, to educate? And then figure out how do I want to say that and know that I want to shorten my meeting. I'm going to do that in a 30 minute time window if I can because people are so busy. And so the last thing is you want to eliminate the filler words the uhms, the likes, you knows or anything like that, because that just makes you appear lazy. It appears that you have not prepared or practiced your presentation. Communication is probably the number one thing in terms of the overall executive presence, especially today as we're having meetings online.

 

Kathy (host):  
Do you have any suggestions for someone who wants to eliminate the filler words and they know they're doing it, but they really have a hard time eliminating it? Is there any tricks that you can teach us?

Pamela (guest): 
It's tricky in the sense that once you identify that you have a filler word, you want to use it more. I'm not going to give you mine because I know once I say it to you, I'll use it all the time, and then you'll hear it. What I do in my mind is I say the word in my head before I start the sentence. I'm afraid to if I don't tell you what my word is, you won't understand what I mean. I'm going to go ahead and give you mine.

Kathy (host): 
You don't have to give me your word. You could give a filler word that it's common to other people's if that helps.

 

Pamela (guest): 
The key really is people like to use the word in Asia, they like to end the sentence with 'Yeah.' And that's the way they're signaling to the listener that I finished. Here's one I hear all the time. When people ask a question, they'll use the word basically. "Well, basically, this is all about blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." They ask the next question. "Basically, our brand is all about blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." Now after a while, all the client will hear is basically. And so if they're going to start that, they would say basically in their head. Basically quiet in my head, this product is all about blah, blah, blah. Next question. Basically, I'm saying it in my head to the point where I get where I can just start sharing what it is.

 

Pamela (guest):
I hear filler words when people haven't practiced. I had a gentleman that I was working with and I knew he had not practiced. Now, fortunately, we had recorded the session. And he said, "How did I do?" And I said, "Well, I've recorded at least seven uhms and ohs in the first one minute." And he said, "You just continued with that. I know that you have not practiced because he's thinking you're using that as uhm... well.. and then that's you're just thinking that means you haven't prepared." Script out what you want to say, doesn't have to be verbatim and for you to repeat it that way. But what is the talking point that you want to share? Just as I say, think and speak strategically, write it out. Write it out so that you're on top of it. When that question comes, you might be thinking basically in your head, you just go start speaking, that basically is here in silence, and then start speaking, but you will do it less if you practice and it just means practicing at least two or three times. People think practice once and that's it. No, you have to practice three or four times. Use your phone, record your presentation on your phone, and then listen back to the presentation that's equal to you actually verbally saying it because the brain still hearing it. But practice, practice, practice.

Kathy (host):  
I do the same thing with my presentations and with the podcasts and everything that I present and use my voice at and sometimes it's just so painful to listen to that. But you have to do it because that is how you get better.

Pamela (guest): 
That's how you'll catch when you're doing them. Most people are oblivious to what they're doing. Now that gentleman was fortunate enough to have recorded. I said, "Listen, I just want you to go back and listen to the recording. Count how many times you said that." And then he got back in touch with me. And he said, two days later goes, "I want to do it again." And I knew, I said, "Great job." I knew he had practice. But it looks sloppy, and you can appear lazy, if you have not really worked that out, and that we only get one chance, or we're getting fewer opportunities to present in front of a client. It's important that we make the most of that every presentation counts. Everyone counts so we need to make the most of it.

 

Kathy (host):  
We've talked about the gravitas, we talked about the communication, how about the appearance, and in the virtual world, a lot of people think I can just show up in my PJs on the bottom and nice top on the top. But how does a good appearance look like in this virtual environment?

Pamela (guest): 
Or that? That's a good question. I was gonna do a blog post that said, "Do you think I need to iron the back of my blouse?" You know, but you never know, when you think of this way, you never know when there might be an emergency. Do you really want to stand up and have everybody see that you're in your pajamas? For me, I say get dressed to the fullest. So that's the first thing, dress as we think about appearance is, again, your attire, and your grooming.

Pamela (guest):
In the virtual world, there's a couple of things I want to talk about is, first of all, turn your camera on 10, 15 minutes before your meeting, so that you can see everything behind you. The cameras today, be it a webcam, or your computer all have high-definition cameras in them, which means the camera sees a lot more than what you think. Most people think the camera only sees what's directly in front of it. So me sitting in front of the camera. When in actual fact the camera sees quite wide. You need to make sure that the ironing board is missing, it's not in the background.

Pamela (guest):
And now, we do know that in some areas, people are working from their apartment or they're working from their bedroom. And so they can't really make it too fancy so just blur the background. Okay. But if you are going to use a virtual background, then make sure that the virtual background has a resolution of I think it's 1920x1280. 1920x1280. Now, the reason for that is you'll notice you'll sometimes have meetings with people and they move out and all of a sudden the background or their head moves out of the picture. It's because the cameras trying to figure out what is the backdrop and what is you. By having a high resolution but not too high resolution, if you pick something off the internet, and it's 3000 pixels by 2000 pixels, you're going to have problems. When I talk about a resolution that's 1920 pixels by 1280 pixels. And that you'll see that is representatives the letters 'px'. When you look at an image and you want to use that as a backdrop, look for the pixels.

 

Pamela (guest):
The other thing is we want to make sure is again, turning on the camera. What's in the backdrop? How do I look? How do I show up? I always like to make sure that I have lipstick handy. I have a lipstick handy so that I could put my lipstick on I can touch that up before I'm actually getting on a call. If I'm happened to be having an emergency call. I also have a scarf handy so that if I'm in a T-shirt, I can quickly just tie the scarf around my neck and dress up my T-shirt and no one will be the wiser. Or just keep a jacket on hand. Something that's a neutral color that you can easily just throw over if you're wearing a t-shirt. And you only have two minutes where you can just grab that jacket and put that on put your lipstick on. Now, there is virtual lipstick. But you want to avoid that. I actually saw a lady she turned on the virtual lipstick, and she kept moving and the lips were following her on the screen. It was the funniest thing.

Kathy (host):
Oh no!

Pamela (guest):
Yes. Same thing with eyebrows so you need to be careful. If you're moving a lot. The camera is trying to keep up with where you are in the lips. Just the lipsticks was over here and she was over there. And so be careful about that.

Pamela (guest):
But as far as showing up again, we want to make sure that we have that eye contact and we want to make sure that we're well lit. If you are backlit in other words the lights coming from behind you. You will appear black, dark. Okay. You will look like you're in the witness protection from program because it can come out so dark that people can't see your face. Okay? Either invest in a ring light doesn't have to be big, can be a small one. If you don't want to spend the money on a ring light, then find a suitable desktop lamp, you can go to IKEA and get something cheap. Something that sits in front of you that you can put the light on you so people can see your face. Because this is important, we want to make sure that they can see us, not be backlit. Natural daylight is always good. But that again, sometimes there's too much sunlight, so either sheers that you can pull. But the most important is making sure the light is on in front of you, and not behind you. So that's your appearance.

 

Pamela (guest):
And as you say, dress based on your corporate policies. But also think of this, if you were going to go meet somebody face to face, think of this. Would you dress in a T-shirt? You probably wouldn't. Why should you dress that way in a virtual meeting? You need to show up as a professional. Remember, this is all about your leadership perception. Do people perceive you as a leader? You need to show up that way. So that doesn't necessarily mean for the guys to have a tie, you know, doesn't mean the ladies have to always be in a dress or a jacket, but you need to at least make sure it looks appropriate for the person that you're meeting. If I'm going to meet with the CEO, I'm going to be dressed. I'm going to be ready for that. You know what, once your meeting is over, it's okay for you to go change clothes. But I would hate to stand up and have somebody see that I'm still in my pajamas, or in my bathrobe.

Pamela (guest):
I had a meeting with a lady at 11 o'clock once and she wasn't dressed. She says "No, I can't turn my camera on. I'm still in my pajamas." And I went, okay. but you will remember those things. I remember two people reaching out to wanting to do a joint venture with me. And they were dressed in such a casual manner. Honestly, I can't tell you what they asked me to partner them with. But I can't remember how they looked. And that stuck with me and I went, That's not somebody I want to do business with. Show up in a professional way, with the attire that's appropriate for your industry and for that meeting. Appearance is key.

Kathy (host): 
Such great tips, Pam. Another thing that I would want to add to the background is if you actually you can buy one of those green screens, that way, it's a lot easier to project something in the back. You can have your logo on it. You can have a lot more options. And you will not have problems with you fading in and out of the background.

Pamela (guest): 
Exactly. And even if you do a green screen, and then you do have a high-resolution image, it's not going to be such an issue for you. One of the things I want to say is when you talk about the background, whether it is your natural background, whatever it's your office, or bedroom whatever. Or if you want to have a zoom background, backdrop, make sure that you are contrasting in terms of your attire with what the background color is. If have a white background, I don't want to be wearing a white blouse, I want something that's contrasting. Many men we see are wearing a white shirt, they're using a white backdrop and all we can see is like a floating head. Contrast what you're going to wear with the background. This is why it's important for you to turn on your computer in advance. You can see how do I show up and then you have a chance to go in change clothes if you need to change blouses, get a scarf, get a jacket so that you do contrast with what is happening in the background.

Kathy (host): 
That's good to know. We went through gravitas, we covered communication, we covered appearance. And if someone wants to really dive deep into cultivating their executive presence, are there any books or resources that you would recommend that would be helpful to them as they're going on this journey?

Pamela (guest): 
There are a couple of books out there. I'm trying to think of there's a new, I would say even Google this one, it's I can't remember the exact title, but it's Executive Presence in the Digital World. That's another one. There are different people who are doing profiles. I do coaching around that. And really what I do when we're talking about executive presence is it's the practice. It's these small little things that we want to focus on, because people don't really necessarily know how they show up until somebody else takes a look and says, "This is what I want to make sure I'm avoiding."

Pamela (guest):
Things like and even though we're doing this as a podcast and your audience can't see what I'm doing but using how you use your hands. It's great to talk with your hands but you also want to ensure that you're not getting your hands too close to the camera. Because the closer my hands get to the camera, the larger my hands become, and my fingers become. We want to make sure that we're gesturing to the side. When I'm working with people that way, we're really getting down to the nitty-gritty of how can we improve your gravitas? Then we look at how can we improve your communication? And what is it we need to be doing in terms of our appearance and how we show up? And a lot of that, again, is the eye contact that you're giving to the camera and practicing? How do you present when I'm actually because we don't want people to hide behind their slides, I want them to be present when they present. So that means they're showing up equally with their slides. But there's books out there on executive presence, I apologize that I should have come up with a few. But I can suggest that to you. And that might be even put that in the resources box in your description as well.

Kathy (host): 
Yeah, that would be great. And then we can put it in the show notes as well, that would be very helpful. The last question I have for you on this executive presence is, and this is something that I'm curious, how does emotional IQ and emotional skill? How does that tie into the executive presence? Is someone who's very high on the emotional IQ? Is that easier for them? How are they correlated? Are they even? How does it work?

Pamela (guest): 
That's a really fabulous question. Because most I think this is one of the elements that's missing right now is the EQ. This is why I say use inclusive language, we need to make sure that we're including everybody. And so the leader that is aware of their team, and brings them into the fold into the conversation is going to do far more, but it's going to be better at communicating with their team. The EQ is key. And that's one of the things that's missing people are when we're in the virtual world, there's so many things that come into play.

Pamela (guest):
An example would be your mobile phone. Turning your phone off or yourself, I know you say cell phone in the US, turning your cell phone off so that you're not getting all the pings and dings and all that. What happens is there is this element of distrust when somebody's phone goes off. And it might be that the phone is in front of them. And they can see that the messages popped up. And they immediately their eyes dart to that to look at the phone. Now, if I'm on the receiving end of that, I automatically think "Oh my gosh, he's not listening to me anymore. She's not listening to me anymore."

 

Pamela (guest):
In addition, people are unaware that there is a slight delay, we don't necessarily see it. But there is a slight delay in our communication. And it's that little bit of delay, where we start losing trust. As an individual, as a leader, I need to make sure that I've turned off everything that I'm giving you my undivided attention while we're on that call that I'm checking in with you, I asked you how are you doing? And not only do I say, allow you to I'm not going to let you get off the hook by you saying "Oh, I'm fine." I'm gonna say, "No, Kathy, really, how are you doing?" So that then I'm giving you permission to tell me, "You know what, I'm actually struggling. I'm actually having a hard time balancing my home life, with my work. I work in my bedroom. And therefore I don't have any separation between my work and my home. I'm trying to homeschool my child now because of the of a lockdown or an outbreak in my or flood or a hurricane that my child can't go to so so now I'm responsible for teaching them online learning, while at the same time trying to get my boss to understand that I'm still working full time, while also trying to get my husband space so that he can get his work done. And meanwhile, I still have to get dinner and lunch together for everybody else. So yeah, I'm struggling."

Pamela (guest):
The boss who has got the EQ is going to check-in. And so it's a new dynamics also for bosses as well. Now, they have to become what I want to say I'm not an expert, but they need to be on top of wellness, health and wellness and mental wellness for their staff as well as trying to be concerned about the financial bottom line. It's going to be a challenge, and it's going to probably want to see some changes in leadership and those that are also going to need help because it's just moving up the ranks. I think work-life balance is going to be key but EQ is huge.

Kathy (host): 
Pam, you gave us so many great tips and tricks and information. But there's one question that I asked every single guest that comes on this podcast and that is what is the one tangible next step that listeners can take in their business if they are trying to create cultivate the executive presence, something that it's easy next step that they can do in the next week, in the next month, when will be done next step.

Pamela (guest): 
I would think about the next presentation I need to give. And I would work backward, grab some paper, pen, or type this out and say, "What is it that I want to achieve? How do I really want to move the needle with this next client, even if it's to close the deal, or to get the next appointment." Then reverse engineer what I want to say. I want you to think of the presentation as four parts. The first is the introduction, then the body of the presentation, that's when I'm going to give three topics, then I'm going to have a conclusion in my presentation. That's where I'm going to wrap up briefly what I've just talked about those three topics, and then I'm going to end with a close, and the close is the call to action. This is where I asked them what to do or give them instructions for let's set the next appointment. Are you ready to buy, but reverse engineer that presentation, map it out and then think strategically. What are the words that I want to use? How do I want to show up and just really focus on crafting a fabulous presentation versus just throwing it together at the last moment? Think of that presentation as one that you can use over and over again, but map it out. Think it through? What are my topic one, topic to topic three? Under topic one, what are the one or two talking points that I want to cover? What are the one or two, three talking points I want to cover under topic number two? And lastly, number three, again, I'm going to wrap it up. But I'm going to close in such a way that the listener is ready to take action. Because if I've used my words properly, if I've used persuasive language, I'm definitely going to move the needle. It'd be mapped out that presentation by reverse engineering it, and think about the communication.

Kathy (host): 
Fabulous Pam, I love that advice. And that's something that I do with my presentation too. Having a call to action makes all the difference in the end.

Pamela (guest): 
Most people forget it. It's the one thing they forget, they will start with they'll end with a conclusion and then it will be thank you so much for listening to my presentation. That's not going to get you anywhere. Thank you so much for listening to the presentation. We look forward to meeting with you and scheduling the next appointment with you. We want to show you know work with you to give you a demonstration. We invite you to come to our plant or facility walkthrough. We invite you to have a meeting with our compliance team, whatever that might be. Do not leave it with thank you very much and have a call to action. Thank you very much might get you the deal, but it may not.

Kathy (host): 
So don't leave it up to chance.

Pamela (guest): 
Exactly, exactly.

Kathy (host): 
Pam, can where can our listeners get in touch with you?

Pamela (guest): 
Thanks for asking that. They can reach me through LinkedIn at Pamela Wigglesworth.sg. I think it might. It's yeah, LinkedIn. So I have my dedicated name under that. Or they can reach me at my website, which is experiential.sg. That's E-X-P-E-R-I-E-N-T-I-A-L.sg, experiential.sg. Also on Instagram. So you can find me there at @PamelaWigglesworthCoach.

 

Kathy (host): 
And all of these are going to be in the show notes as well. You do not have to memorize this, just go to the show notes and all of Pam's Instagram, LinkedIn, and her website is going to be in there. Thank you so much for being on the show, Pamela. It was such a pleasure.

Pamela (guest)
Well, it's my pleasure. And I really hope that your listeners get some value. And they're more than welcome just to reach out to ask questions. I'm there to help.

Kathy (host): 
I hope this episode gave you a lot of ideas on how you can nurture and develop this executive presence in the Zoom era. Because as it turns out, it just might be here to stay. If you are someone who struggles with making this eye contact in the camera, I also wanted to share this tip with you that I recently started using myself in hopes that might help you as well. So this is what I did. I went to a craft store and I got a bag of googly eyes. I think there were about $2 or something, and it took the two googly eyes and glue them on each side of the camera lens. That way, it's a constant visual reminder for me that I have to be looking at the lens, making eye contact with the googly eyes to be able to make eye contact with the person that I'm talking to. It's a really, really good tip, and I hope it helps you as well because it was a game-changer for me in my meetings.
 

Kathy (host):
Also, as a reminder, this episode does come with its own blog posts, just like every other episode before it. And it does include all the detailed timestamps. It also has all of the resources that Pam was talking about. It has a link to her website. It has a link to her LinkedIn, and Instagram as well so that if you do have questions about the executive presence, or you need help with it, you know where to contact her and where to go to find her. And I do have a favor to ask if you are listening to this on Apple Podcasts. If you could please go to the show, and type the number of stars that you think the show deserves. Because it really helps other entrepreneurs find it and other people find it that they could benefit from it, and it will help them with their business. Thanks so much. Until next time!