WSJ: Develop Your Own “E-charisma” to Break Through on Zoom!


I was looking for an opening, a way to wedge in my story. Each month, my friends and I hold a Zoom chat. And each month, I can never get in more than a few words. 

But my beagle had dug up my dead cat, rolled around on her corpse, then brought the stench of feline cadaver into the house. At three in the morning.  

Everyone would want to hear that story, right? 

Wrong. And not because it’s morbid.  

Apparently, I lack “E-charisma.” 

That charisma making you a superstar in the office is different than the charisma you need on-screen. It’s like navigating your way through Germany using the French that got you through Paris – it’s just a different language. 

That on-screen presence is called “E-charisma,” something Ray A. Smith of The Wall Street Journal suggests developing. You probably have a dead cat story of your own you’d like to share. Follow these tips to make sure you’re heard. 

Tip #1 

Grab your make-up kit. Your face should be the main focus of your Zoom window, not the room you’ve so carefully staged. Make your face one-third of your frame, and be sure you’re well-lit. 

Tip #2 

Look attentive when you’re not speaking. A well-timed nod or smile will convey your interest in the meeting. 

Tip #3 

Enunciate when you speak and keep your tempo on the slower side. Fluctuations in your inflection can keep your audience interested. As if the dead cat story isn’t interesting enough on its own. 

Tip #4 

Make sure others on the chat feel as heard as you’d like to feel. A lengthy pause when your dead cat story is done lets Barb know it’s her turn to talk. 

I mean, lets Barb know it’s her turn to talk again

Charismatic people make other people feel recognized, so acknowledge what the previous speaker said. 

Zoom might not go away with the virus. As we pilot our way through the pandemic and beyond, E-charisma might keep your career alive. 

I don’t want my beagle rolling in your dead job, too. 

Smith’s article can be found here.