Some leaders who were adept at running in-office meetings pre-COVID have found holding effective videoconferences in the remote working world to be a whole different animal.
There are new fundamentals to master. Communication approaches that worked in a formal physical setting, like a nicely appointed room with an oak table and a dry-erase board, haven’t always transitioned smoothly to a screen populated with multiple faces.
And now comes another technological twist with which leaders will have to quickly get up to speed: the metaverse. Technology authority Bill Gates says the metaverse will be hosting most office meetings within the next 2 or 3 years.
The metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds being built by tech companies that is housed online and focused on social connection. Participants wear headsets that immerse them in a 3D environment and are represented by digital avatars, which will attend meetings in a virtual office space and interact with coworkers’ avatars. One report says 71% of executives believe the metaverse will be positive for business and that new virtual reality and augmented reality experiences will transform the products and services companies offer.
Indeed, this is a great opportunity for leaders and their companies, not another significant change to bemoan or be feared. And maximizing the potential of the platform will come down to how effectively leaders use their voice; the power and confidence they transmit when speaking will give them the opportunity to enhance their executive presence in the new virtual setting. The leaders who evolve their communication as the metaverse evolves can significantly impact and benefit other people.
While projecting leadership in a virtual environment has been challenging for many leaders, the new normal of office meetings has increased the stakes for executives and leaders to speak in a voice that is clear, charismatic, courteous, compassionate, courageous, and inclusive.
Here are some tips for business leaders to project their voice and executive presence in the metaverse:
- Go with the airflow. One’s vocal sound can convey feelings that aren’t conducive to steady, strong leadership. Studies show speakers may be perceived as bored, uninterested, or even lazy when their voices are unsupported, are in the throat, or contain the excessive use of a glottal or vocal “fry” (when not enough air is flowing through the vocal folds).
To craft a voice that is pleasing to our ears and that we want to listen to, think of your voice as originating from your mouth, not your throat. Think of your voice as always moving up and out of your body, driven by the airflow.
- Lean toward a louder voice. This doesn’t mean to push the decibel envelope and scare people or turn them off. But talking slightly louder, while properly channeled and focused on respect and message, usually means a stronger voice is getting through, which conveys credibility, authority, and confidence.
- Open your heart. Mental clarity and personal effectiveness come from focusing on positive feelings as if they are flowing from our heart. Imagine or visualize that you are opening your heart space to allow for a connection with other people. The HeartMath Institute’s research suggests the heart also is an access point to a source of wisdom and intelligence that we can call upon to live our lives with more balance, greater creativity, and enhanced intuitive capacities.
- Prepare and practice your introduction. Set the tone or atmosphere; in other words, what is the purpose of the meeting? You should think through and practice your welcome and introduction for 5 minutes. Always set your personal intention before entering a meeting space. To calm yourself, count slowly backward from 10 while breathing deeply through the nose in between each number.
- Mind your virtual manners. Rude and uncivil dialogue will never benefit the world. You can ruin both your and your company’s reputation by not paying attention to how you and your associates are communicating. Also, remember to stay on mute whenever you’re not speaking to shut out sudden noises that can become big distractions.
To lift your presence and elevate the people who work for you, you have to increase the quality of your voice. As the business world enters the metaverse, it’s fundamental to strong leadership and reaching the people who largely will determine the future of your company.
Dr. Miluna Fausch (www.MilunaFausch.com) is an intuitive sound healer and the author of Uplevel Your Communication: Evolve Your Presence and Speech to Change Everything. She created her proprietary Vocal Archetypes℠ to train conscientious C-suite executives and thought leaders in confident, high-frequency speaking, voice and presence. Dr. Fausch has a Ph.D. in holistic psychology, is certified as a holistic health counselor practitioner and as a Miracle-Minded Coach by Marianne Williamson. She has extensive training in voice, acting, and energy healing.