EvolveMe interview with Alyssa Peek of Peek Photography and Tania Sterl of Sterl on Style
Remote? Hybrid? One thing is clear. Working virtually in some way, shape, or form is here to stay. Get this – 73% of workers want to split their time between WFH and the office. And only 7% want to go back to the office full time.
This means no matter where you are in your career, you have to be prepared for a hybrid workplace. And that means knowing how to show up as your best self…NOW.
Have you noticed? Now that we’re two-plus years from the start of the pandemic, expectations have shifted regarding virtual presence in remote meetings. Dark cameras, multi-tasking, and at-home distractions are more common.
This is where you can stand out!
Whether you’re looking to pivot careers, return to the workforce after a break, or contemplate a second act, developing your virtual presence is an important piece of your professional toolkit.
And we get it. It doesn’t always come easy. Studies have shown that “Zoom fatigue” is worse for women than men. What contributes most to exhaustion in virtual meetings among women?
More preoccupation with how we look and how we come across. Women feel more concerned about seeing themselves on camera – a self-focus known as “mirror anxiety”
How you show up online can make the difference between getting a second interview, landing a job, and connecting with your clients!
If you’re job searching remotely, are you asking yourself:
How can I show I’m a qualified candidate - virtually?
How can I project confidence from the waist up?
How can I stand out in remote meetings?
In this EvolveMe interview, we’re highlighting two Expert Contributors from the Reinvention Collective, Tania Sterl of SterlyonStyle and Alyssa Peek of Peek Photography. We’ve learned so much from their tips and tricks about how to shine online!
Read on for Alyssa and Tana’s advice on virtual presence and how to stand out from the sea of squares. Trust us - you’ll learn invaluable tips on how to show up as even more of yourself -- even from the waist up!
#1 Be Seen and Control the Message
EvolveMe: What do you see as an opportunity for women in midlife to create a virtual presence?
Alyssa: There is such a great opportunity to be seen! Before the pandemic, in real life in person meetings it was easy to stay in the back of the room and not take up space. Now on video meetings (which may become a new norm for work), everyone's real estate is the same size box.
I use the Brady Bunch grid as the perfect example. Carol and Mike, the parents, have the same size box as the kids. And Marcia's square is the same size as Jan's. What this means is your boss or the person with the corner office now has the same size "office" as everyone else.
This is a huge opportunity to be seen and control the message. Control the message by showing up to virtual meetings with intention. Show up as you want to be seen including your energy, posture, wardrobe, and office. You want the corner office? Show up like you are already sitting in it.
Same goes for your headshot. You have control over the image that you use on your profiles. Make sure that it represents what you look like today and conveys your spirit and aspirations.
"You want the corner office? Show up like you are already sitting in it." - Alyssa Peek
#2 Dress for the Future You
EvolveMe: Tania, we’ve heard you say “dress for the future you!”. What does that mean for women looking to make a career change now? How do they figure out how to dress for the role they aspire to?
Tania: We can find ourselves stuck in the past, of what was. Now is the time for reinvention, reviving our sense of value. Dress with intention for that future goal. Dress for the role you desire. See yourself stepping into that office, that zoom meeting, dressed confidently in a manner that shows your value, experience, and ability to perform and deliver. It makes you feel what’s possible for yourself!
You’re the expert! Picture yourself running that role, being the boss of that role, how will you dress to impress, inspire and influence those around you? Either the one you are reporting to, or those who will be reporting to you.
Set the example. Research the industry, research the company, how business formal, business casual, business creative is it? Then, dress for it! Put your mark on it. Blend in yet stand out as the expert in your industry, with style.
#3 Create Trust through the Camera
EvolveMe: Can you create the trust needed to develop business relationships through the camera?
Alyssa: When meeting someone new for business or personal reasons creating a feeling of trust is the most important attribute. Trusting means that you think they are reliable, you have confidence in them and you feel safe with them physically and emotionally.
The best way to convey all this is make eye contact. Easily said, GOOD LIGHTING! If you are back lit or sitting in a dark room the person on the other side of the screen cannot see your face and look you in the eye.
As for the static virtual presence of your headshot, it is important that your headshot is current and looks like you. If you have an old headshot the question I ask is, 'do you not feel confident in who you are today?
#4 Define Your Fashion Formula
EvolveMe: Often, what’s holding women back from taking risks in their career is themselves. How can you make women’s inner confidence shine on the outside with style? How can you help them combat imposter syndrome through their image?
Tania: We are constantly dressing for our “roles” in life. Worker, care-taker, wife, mother, partner, and more. So think of it this way. Business is like a stage and co-workers, clients, employers are the “audience” so dress to play the part. Dress to express the true you, dress to convey your value, own it!
Your clothing can become your “armor” your “uniform” or as I like to refer to it as your “fashion formula.” Define your fashion formula for success. Use your clothing, your style to support you, and give you confidence. No one needs to know what’s going on “underneath.” That's the beauty and power of clothes.
There may be few things we can control, but we can take control of our image. Before you hop on that zoom call, take a look in the mirror, hair and makeup done, dressed and ready, and say “I am ready, I am worth it, I’ve got this!”
"Business is like a stage and co-workers, clients, employers are the “audience” so dress to play the part. Dress to express the true you, dress to convey your value, own it!" - Tania Sterl
#5 Elevate with Color
EvolveMe: What’s one thing we can all do to instantly elevate our style in virtual meetings?
Tania: I will advise not just one, but 3 things!
Wear color, remember to wear your jewelry, and have your hair and make-up done (if you wear it).
Wearing a color that is not black or white -- colors like blues, purples, deep berry reds. Colors that compliment your hair, eye, and skin tone. It will energize you and the viewer!
Remember to wear your jewelry. Keep it simple. Studies prove that women are perceived as more successful when they wear jewelry.
With make-up think: eyes, cheeks, lips defined for a natural, vibrant glow.
#6 Have Your Go-To Outfits
EvolveMe: How can we avoid last-minute “what to wear” panic?
Tania: Be prepared! Have 3-5 good go-to tops, blouses, cardigan + collared shirt + scarf, or well-fitting jacket and top ready to go for virtual meetings. Think of that virtual meeting as “show time!” Just as a newscaster or morning show host is “camera-ready” Get yourself “camera-ready” and glow!
#7 Your Screen Frame = Your Corner Office
EvolveMe: It’s fun to think about this question -- how can we all have a "corner office" at home?
Alyssa: This is all about visual storytelling. What is the story you want to tell? If it is the corner office, what does that mean to you and what does that look like? My #1 tip here is that a plain background that doesn't say anything negative is better than a unprofessional background.
People are picking up on everything in the frame of your video. It’s important that everything in that frame speaks to your brand, your goals. Messy piles of paper? Boxes on the floor? What does this say about you? Don't take it for granted that people know why the mess is there. All it says is "disorganized and distracted". Control the message with a background that represents your brand and your goals. You own that corner!
Now that’s a sentiment worth ending on!
Want to take the next step and learn more about what it takes to make a successful career transition in midlife? Your mindsets make all the difference in how you show up remotely and in person. Those voices in your head can hold you back from what you were meant to do and who you were meant to be.
DOWNLOAD our free resource to see if your mindsets are working for you. It’s one of the first things we address with women looking to relaunch, change or level up their careers!
We want more for you!