CREW Boston

Navigating the Virtual/Hybrid World: How to Strengthen Your Screen Presence & Delivery For Meetings and Presentations

On November 8th we heard from Dean Lincoln Hyers, Founder and Principal of SagePresence. As a seasoned speaker, expert storyteller, and co-author of the new release Winning Virtual AEC Interviews, Dean has coached over $15 billion in winning competitive presentations with Architecture, Engineering, and Construction firms. Dean inspires teams to represent their value with boldness and authenticity, sharing ownership in their wins, putting his head and heart in the game. Dean has presented at numerous assocations around the US, including both national and regional conferences.  Prior to this, he was a film maker who trained actors and found his calling in having people in all industries improve their performance. Essentially, skills that once applied only to film now apply to the real world.
Key takeaways: 
  • When to leave your self-view camera on? It depends. Dean leaves it on so he can monitor himself and see where he is in space. He tends to stand when he presents and moves around a bit. But he doesn’t get distracted from looking at himself because he is looking at the camera and trying to make eye contact with people, versus looking at the screen. This minimizes the distraction. It helps to know you are in frame/not cutoff. You have to look into the lens a lot. As long as you keep coming back to it, it’s better. 
  • Clothing recommendations: Dress for what you are doing, not for where you are. Be professional and simple and try to have good lighting. Patterns on clothing are less of an issue than they used to be, but it’s generally better not to have them. Have a real background behind you if possible, otherwise a professional virtual background. The issue with a virtual background is that sometimes they can shimmer and tear as the computer is trying to balance the image and it can be distracting for viewers.  
  • Eye contact is not just with your eyes: you need to lean in, have energy, actively reach out to your viewers. Make a commitment to let your body be alive and if you are animated you will command more attention. Also, find a way to let people feel you care about them, bring a sense of warmth, give people the gift of your attention. Presence is emotional as much as physical. When you’re willing to meet someone’s gaze, you are confident and not looking distracted. In a hybrid setting, the camera is one of the “people” that you look at, so you include the camera as you look around the room, showing those people they are in the meeting too. Pull in the virtual audience that everyone else is forgetting.
  • How do you build your own self confidence and develop your professional presence? Acknowledge to yourself that you are going to be nervous. There is the outward projection of confidence, then the inward feeling of confidence. Outward projection can be mastered as a technique. The feeling of confidence is never a done deal: it comes and goes. So first, work on your outward projection. Direct eye contact communicates confidence. 
  • You are the brand more than you've ever been before, it doesn't matter your position. What people don’t always realize is that brands have a personality. You want to think about what your brand would be if it were a personality, and then, are you embodying that? You have the potential to be on brand. You can’t sell your work without selling the people who do it. You want a confident leader and also approachability. Brands are degrading. You are the representative/embodiment of the brand.
  • Think about the presence factor as something that rounds you up to another level:  it’s your human potential to elevate whatever you’re talking about and that may help you get the win.
Facilitating group conversations on zoom: 
  1. To increase group participation: encourage people to chat in and be interactive. The format lends itself well as long as you can corral the instinct for people to be distracted. 
  2. The host can invite people to turn their cameras on, but not force them. At the beginning of an internal meeting, you could ask the group “is this an on camera meeting or off camera” and the group decides. 
  3. To counteract the difficulty of when knowing when to talk: give people permission to interrupt - the interrupter has the right to do so. When that happens, you recognize there’s no need to apologize and it’s ok. Tag team. This is something you can do when you present, as people want to see synergy and it is a natural flow in conversations/presentations. Trying to create a real dialogue which you can do with a tag team co-presenter. You trust each other, have each other’s backs, sense of confidence and presence because you have your partner. 
  4. If you encourage people to share in a Q&A way, you become a facilitator. Talk show hosts are models for both presenting and facilitating. You want to be able to do both of these things. 
  5. We tend to establish a host of each meeting – make it ok for that person to interrupt. That person can say “I am going to be the one to interrupt if we need to keep the meeting moving”. You can announce that at the beginning and have the group agree.  Also practice being interrupted – smile and stop.

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Confirmed Attending

  • Amanda Alberda
  • Rebecca Bachand
  • Ariana Bond
  • Gayle Bourdeau
  • Daria Bukesova
  • Pia Cardinali
  • Colleen Cournoyer
  • Dianne Crocker
  • rachael diharce
  • lisa donfrancesco
  • Jennifer Flanders
  • Shelly Gouin
  • Jeanine Grachuk
  • Erin Harvey
  • Triona Heyes
  • Megan Hogan
  • Megan Hoover
  • Sue Kim
  • Kaitlin Kincaid
  • Elizabeth Krol
  • Jennifer Kusek
  • Amanda Kutia
  • Maggie Laracy
  • Wanda Lee
  • Jo-Ann Marzullo
  • Sarah McGillicuddy
  • Yureidy Medina
  • Pamela Messenger
  • Marsha Miller
  • Cyndy Murphy
  • Carla Nelson
  • Kelly Nguyen
  • Liz Nyman
  • Emily Paparella
  • Tricia Pinto
  • Sarah Rhatigan
  • Lora Shea
  • Miriam Sheehan
  • Mariela Stoyanova
  • Lynne Sweet
  • Rachel Tomadakis
  • Elizabeth von Goeler
  • Kim Walters