Video calls can be draining. The experts even coined the phrase “Zoom fatigue” to describe it, and there are plenty of people who’ve bought into the idea that video calls are an awful experience. But that doesn’t have to be the case at all!

We know that energy levels matter. When a leader projects positive energy or negative energy, other team members pick up on it, and it can be either motivating or demotivating for your team. The significant increase in the number of video calls (whether you’re using Zoom, WebEx, or some other video conferencing software) has forced leaders to step up and lead with even more energy.

There are several leadership factors measured in our Flippen 360 Review that are impacted by your energy level:

  • Achievement orientation. (Do you have an intensity to get work done?)
  • Need to nurture. (Are you warm and inviting?)
  • Energy and expressiveness.

Each of these traits is critical as a leader. Too much or not enough can be a constraint. For example, if someone isn’t nurturing, others will be less engaged and often view the person as cold and unapproachable. Feedback will be taken as harsher than intended because the recipient views it as coming from someone who is uncaring.

By projecting more warmth and energy, you can move the needle in each of these areas. It’s not the only factor, as other small shifts are needed with the first two areas, but it can make a difference. Something as simple as shifting body language and facial expression can impact these factors of leadership and create better connection with your team—whether in person or on a video call.

So how can you project more energy?

  • Smile.
  • Try standing for the meeting, especially if you are leading it—use a box or stack of books to elevate your laptop if needed.
  • Use hand gestures.
  • Nod your head to show agreement.
  • Vary your volume.
  • Speak a little faster.

Another great way to increase the energy level on video calls is to be more active in general and encourage your team to do the same. Try some of these keys for connecting on your next call:

  • Jump on a few minutes early and join in the chit chat.
  • Show an interest in how others are doing.
  • Ask powerful questions.
  • Share what you are feeling. Even people with high Empathy strength can struggle with picking up on cues during video calls, which means all of us need to know how you are reacting inside.
  • Ask others what they are feeling and thinking—help them be better on video calls, too!

For many of us, video meetings will be here a good while longer. And as always, we have a choice in how we respond. We can choose to dread those calls and feel drained when we are done, or we can choose to see them as another opportunity to engage, connect, and lead with energy. Which will you choose?

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    Loriana Sekarski is founder and president of BONSAI, a consulting company that transforms leaders (and businesses) into the best version of themselves. As a leadership coach, Loriana teaches leaders how to hone soft skills, spur workplace engagement, and achieve untapped levels of potential. Outside of BONSAI, Loriana serves as an adjunct professor at Washington University’s graduate student program. Additionally, she's fine-tuning her passion project, TakeFlight, a division of BONSAI that launches organizations, churches, and marriages to boldly live out their purpose by leveraging their strengths to achieve their God-given destiny. TakeFlight has just developed Revealing Hidden Shackles, an innovative curriculum that examines domestic violence within the Christian community.