Communication skills are more important than ever, said Jean Choy, an associate dean at the Foster School of Business, whose focus is executive education and international initiatives. For example, some people like to chitchat before getting to the meeting’s agenda, and others like to get right to business, she said.
“Figure out the other person’s style and adapt to it, to communicate most effectively with them,” Ms. Choy said.
Learn how to express empathy better, as well. “There’s a lot more that work people are dealing with,” she said. “Offering understanding and flexibility will go a long way.”
In online meetings, be present and visible, said Ms. Lucas, who noted: “In a physical meeting, all eyes are on the speaker, but in a virtual meeting, all faces are seen at all times by everyone.”
Keep your camera on and lean in a bit to show you are focused, she advises. “You don’t have to be the first to talk, but do try to come up with one smart comment or provocative question in the meeting so you’re seen as bringing value,” she said. Offer positive feedback in the chat window if appropriate.
Volunteer for tasks outside your job description to gain new knowledge and get in front of new groups, Ms. Lucas said. “Experience and exposure go hand in hand.” You might offer to mentor new employees, create remote social opportunities or pitch in to help a team rushing to meet a deadline.
Even within your own team, capitalize on your best characteristics by seeking out work where you are most likely to shine, Dr. Umphress said. If you excel at defining problems, coming up with creative solutions, writing or selling, look for those opportunities.