COVID-19 and the massive shift to remote work led many companies to change the way they hold meetings. They’ve grown accustomed to using virtual meeting apps, but as often happens in the fast-moving technology world, there’s another advancement around the corner, and it will impact businesses across the globe.
No less a technology authority than Bill Gates says the metaverse will be hosting most office meetings within the next two or three years. What that means for company leaders is the power and confidence they transmit with their voice will allow them the opportunity to enhance their executive presence in the new virtual setting, says Dr. Miluna Fausch (www.MilunaFausch.com), a communication coach for executives and the author of Uplevel Your Communication: Evolve Your Presence and Speech to Change Everything.
“As a CEO, executive or business owner, your words, intent, and delivery matter,” Dr. Fausch says. “The leaders who evolve their communication as the metaverse evolves can significantly impact and benefit other people.”
The metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds being built by tech companies. It 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 co-workers’ 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.
Dr. Fausch says whether the meeting environment is virtual or in-person, the leader’s voice has the power to transform their leadership – and their company.
“Projecting leadership in a virtual environment has been a challenging transition for many leaders,” she says. “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.”
Dr. Fausch offers these tips to business leaders to project authority and enhance their executive presence in the metaverse through their voice and energy:
- Go with the airflow. One’s vocal sound can betray feelings that aren’t conducive to steady, strong leadership. Dr. Fausch says that when people hear voices that are unsupported, in the throat, or containing the excessive use of a glottal or vocal “fry” (when not enough air is flowing through the vocal folds), studies show that the person speaking may be perceived as bored, uninterested or even lazy.
“To craft a voice that is pleasing to our ears and that we will want to listen to, think of your voice as originating from your mouth, not your throat,” she says. “Think of your voice as always moving up and out of your body, driven by the airflow.”
- Open your heart. Mental clarity and personal effectiveness, Dr. Fausch says, 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,” she says. “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?” Dr. Fausch says. “You should think through and practice your welcome and introduction for five minutes. Always set your personal intention before entering a meeting space.” To calm yourself, she recommends counting slowly backwards from 10 while breathing deeply through the nose in between each number.
- Mind your virtual manners. “Putting rude and uncivil dialogue out there will never benefit the world,” Dr. Fausch says. “You can ruin the reputation of both yourself and your company by not paying attention to how you and your associates are communicating.”
“As the world goes remote and beyond into the metaverse, it’s vital for leaders to master the sound and reach of their voice,” Dr. Fausch says. “It’s fundamental to strong leadership.”
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