Maximizing Executive Presence in the Virtual Space 

By Sharon Krohn, MCC. Teams across the digital world suffer from Zoom Fatigue, as we are forced to endure hours of dull virtual meetings, in our yoga pants and fuzzy slippers. While we do not yet know exactly how the world will shift as we move to a semblance of post-pandemic normal, this is clear: virtual meetings are here to stay, and as leaders we must up our game at utilizing our leadership skills and personal presence to effectively hold the virtual space inspire our teams. 

Effective and impactful gatherings, whether virtual or in-person, require thoughtful planning and preparation. When preparing for a meeting, first consider your objectives for the gathering. When creating an agenda, ask yourself, what do I want to accomplish at this meeting? What is most important? How should I best allocate the time? Where does the emphasis need to be? How should the meeting flow? What atmosphere do I want to create? Is there a call to action? And finally, to best achieve my objectives, how do I need to show up in this space and who do I need to be? 

Whether leading a meeting in person or in the virtual space, your presence dramatically impacts the meeting – the team’s engagement and collaboration. To help you hone the executive presence you bring to meetings and presentations, consider the following tools that can serve as levers to help craft the targeted outcome for the gathering: 

What You Say

  • Content and what you say
  • Clarity of your message
  • How succinct is your communication?
  • Word choice and vocabulary
  • The expressions you use 

How You Interact

  • Your etiquette
  • Your connection and rapport with others
  • The emotions and thoughts you project
  • Are you listening? Are you paying attention or multitasking?
  • The manner in which you acknowledge, interact with & relate to others

The Sound of Your Voice

  • Tone and timbre of voice
  • The cadence of your speech
  • Your fluency and the pace at which you speak
  • Use of silence and pauses 

Your Body Language

  • Facial expressions
  • Eye contact
  • Body language
  • Your composure
  • Use of hand gestures
  • How near or far you are from the camera
  • Do you project authenticity and warmth? 

Your Appearance

  • How you look and dress 

In the Virtual Space Also Consider 


  • What appears behind you — the bookshelf, the kitchen. How does it appear in the Zoom Box? 


Make an objective assessment of your technology:

  • How you are filling your screen?
  • The angle of the camera – is it looking up your nose?
  • Are you too far away?
  • Are your lighting, sound and camera effective?

The next time you hold a meeting, record the session. After the meeting take a step back and review the recording against this checklist. How do you show up? What do you do well? Where can you improve? 

While virtual meetings can feel constrained by their limited footprint, as a skillful leader you can access the wide range of tools of your personal presence to expand the virtual space for inspired and empowered team engagement. 

For more about executive presence and developing your leadership skills, schedule a consultation with Sharon.