How Not To Be A Low-Energy Dude
Updated: Feb 18
Dear Someone Else’s Dad,
My manager told me that I come across as a “low-energy dude” during Zoom meetings, and she thinks it’s not good thing. I’m a bit puzzled since I have the same personality and dress the same as I did before we went virtual, but no one complained about it then. Am I supposed to not be who I am?
Wassup? Your boss sounds way uptight, man! The first problem here is that we are all staring at little windows of each other and focusing on stuff we might not have noticed so much when we were in person; for example, bad posture, rumpled attire, stubble, shaggy hair, etc., all made worse by bad lighting and a lousy microphone.
The second problem is that your manager called you a “low-energy dude” without explaining what she meant. If she’s worried about your energy level and being dude-ish, she could have been more helpful by staying away from labels and specifically saying what behaviors are annoying her or others. Remember though, that you also could have, and still can ask her to clarify her comment and to give examples of what you did and what outcome it had.
Let’s forget the labels for now and assume she told you what behaviors are getting in the way of your success. I’ve been dealing with situations like this with clients for years, and want to emphasize that as you are promoted to higher levels at work, your managers will expect you to be the “face of the firm” in presentations to potential or existing clients, senior leadership, and board members. Poor professionalism (low-energy demeanor, poor language choice, slouching, no enthusiasm) will reflect badly on you, your managers, and the firm.
No one expects anyone to change their personalities. But when you’re presenting on Zoom you have to work harder than you have to in an in-person meeting to keep both your enthusiasm and your audience’s attention level high. Some tips:
Sit up straight and make sure your face is close to the camera.
Keep your voice strong.
Refer to people by name to grab their attention.
Show excitement when talking about an idea that can benefit your audience or its constituents.
Put on a nice shirt.
Don’t say “super stoked.”
Labels are really unfair. I can remember the negative ones I’ve been called much more than the positives. I hope that advice was rad, awesome, and totally bitchin’.