LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT AND TRAINING IN TIME OF COVID-19 When times get tough, people look to the top for guidance. These companies help evolve the skills that businesses need to succeed. BY B R A N D E E G R U E N E R
hat does speaking well on camera have to do with leadership? It’s simple. “Presence,” said Ryan Carey, founder of video communication training company BetterOn. Virtually or inside his funky studio on Main Street, he helps people “unleash their authentic self” with coaching and basic acting exercises. At first, BetterOn’s clients are reluctant, even terrified of stepping in front of a camera. They look away anxiously, make faces or stiffen into formal, robotic business speak. BetterOn is there to get them past that. “People don’t remember what you say. They remember how you make them feel,” said Carey, who was one of YouTube’s first employees and later a YouTuber himself. He gently guides people to project their inner feelings to the outside world. “I think leadership comes from within,” he said. Leadership, of course, has many definitions. Is it commanding a room during a keynote speech? Inspiring
others to buy into your vision? Mastering the management skills needed to build a strategy for success? Understanding and serving the greater community? You can find organizations around Durham that will help you bring out all of these facets of leadership from within.
Commanding the Room, Literally or Virtually After the coronavirus outbreak, many workers were forced to spend the better part of their day on camera. BetterOn was uniquely positioned to help and began offering its coaching and leadership programs online through Zoom. “All of our leaders/clients are having to navigate managing remotely,” Carey said. “Their teams are scared. No one has answers. We are not only training them on how to use video more effectively, but also pushing them to lead with courage in a time when fear is high.” Before circumstances changed, Carey gave me a taste
of what he does in his downtown studio. I found myself in front of the camera, counting to 10 like I was sad, like I was excited, like I was bragging, like I was sharing a secret. The exercise helps to explore your emotional range on camera. (Carey also noted that when people watch a video of themselves “bragging,” they discover that really just means showing confidence – a desirable trait in any leader.) He provided tips along the way (lower your chin is the most universal one). He played back videos on mute so I could see my body language. He even had me stand on a trampoline for one take, a trick that seemed to drain away the nervousness, or at least appeared that way on screen. What is the purpose of these exercises? According to research, people remember how you speak more than what you have to say. Carey is there as a sort of therapist to cringe through the footage with you, but he doesn’t offer a long list of criticisms. He’s more interested to hear what you see
How We Live Now / Women of Achievement