Are You a Virtual Potted Plant?
Your work environment may have changed; however, your voice remains a useful tool to help you get noticed! Having a participation mindset and being fully prepared for every meeting will ensure that you don’t become a virtual potted plant.
As one of many faces in a sea of tiny boxes (also known as the new conference room), staying engaged can be challenging. Although it is very tempting, resist the urge to multitask. If you are not careful, you may potentially miss opportunities to artfully chime in on a subject or present your viewpoint on a specific topic. Instead, stay laser-focused on finding moments where you can take the lead in a project, become part of a new committee, or simply provide your perspective.
The home environment may be more comfortable than working in an office. However, there is a fine line between casual with messy. Take a look at your background to ensure that it is tidy and ask yourself if your wardrobe (at least from the waist up) is reflective of the image you want to present. Invest in good lighting or reposition the lighting you currently own to properly illuminate our face, letting those in the meeting clearly appreciate your presence as you share your thoughts. These are small tweaks that perhaps won’t make or break your chances for advancement but are worth considering as ways to ensure your professional image is enhanced in every encounter.
Professional advancement is indeed challenging in any environment (especially if you are rising in age). However, changing your approach, being strategic, and optimizing every virtual encounter can help you to propel forward instead of shrinking into the background (like the dreaded potted plant). Do your research to properly prepare for every meeting and use your voice to let everyone know that you are an intelligent force that can help the team reach its goals.
Catherine (Cat) Valyi
Co-founder, Women With Dynamic Purpose