3 Tips for Speaking in the Virtual World
“Developing strong public speaking skills may be the difference between enjoying the high level of success you’ve envisioned or looking back on your career with regret.” – Peter George
You’ve been speaking in person for quite some time and doing well. How hard can it be to transfer your speaking to the virtual world? Think again. It can be very hard. The virtual world puts a number of restrictions on your speaking.
This newsletter presents three tips for presenting in the virtual world. Connecting with the audience, displaying meaningful gestures and varying your voice’s pitch and pace are three great ways to come close to recreating your in-person delivery in the virtual world.
It is challenging enough speaking in person. However, when your speaking is in the virtual world, it behooves you to think of ways to stand out in the virtual event.
Your ability to connect with your audience is critical to the success of your presentation. Now, connecting with the audience is a tall order when you are presenting in-person. It becomes even harder when you present virtually. Below are some tips that will help you establish and maintain a connection with your audience.
When you are one screen amongst 10 or 25 or 50 screens, it is easy for someone to tune you out.
You have heard that people remember things at the beginning and end of a presentation. A dramatic opening, although necessary in an in-person presentation, is critical during a virtual presentation. Remember, it is easy for people in a virtual presentation to actually be working on something else on their computers while you are speaking. This is what you are trying to prevent. In my virtual coaching, I actually ask people to resist the urge to do other work.
Four ways you might use to present a dramatic opening are a poignant quote, a startling statistic, a heartwarming story, or a question that makes them think. You need to grab the audience’s attention at the start of your presentation and not let go even after your presentation has ended.
Allow and respond to/answer comments and questions in the chat box. Answer them as best you can during your presentation. Better yet, have a host summarize the questions/comments in the chat for you so you can concentrate on your presentation while answering or responding to a group questions and comments.
I think you would agree gestures add greatly to getting your point across to your audience. The next time you are logged into a virtual event, notice how little of your body is shown. This affects your gestures greatly. For someone who normally gestures at his or her waist level, others on the virtual event will not even see your gestures.
There are two ways to ensure your gestures are seen by everyone.
The first way to ensure your gestures are seen by everyone is to simply raise your gestures to your chest or above level. It is easy to check to see whether your gestures are visible because you can see yourself on your screen.
The second method to ensure your gestures are seen by everyone is to back up from your computer until your body from at least your waist up is shown. This method has other advantages. The more of your body that can be shown on the screen, the more you can use body language besides gestures. This is my preferred method of ensuring my gestures are seen and, therefore, support my presentation appropriately.
Earl Nightingale, one of my mentors, says, “The only obligation of a speaker is to be interesting.” Connecting with your audience and displaying meaningful gestures are two great ways you can be a more interesting speaker. A third way is to vary the pitch of your voice at appropriate times in your presentation.
I am sure you have heard a speaker with a monotone. There is no emphasis on anything they are saying. Speaking in a monotone is boring to an audience. One of the main reasons for speaking in a monotone is the speaker is speaking to fast. In his or her effort to get through all the material they have planned, there is no time to vary the pitch of his or her voice. The solution is to leave in the critical material and take out the not so critical material.
It is vitally important when you speak virtually to vary the pitch and pace of your voice. You are restricted when you speak virtually. One of the ways to combat these restrictions is to vary your voice pitch and pace even more than would be needed if you were speaking at an in-person event.
At a virtual event you need to stand out more. You are not on a stage with all the advantages that gives you as a speaker – you stand out from the audience, they are all looking at you instead of other people on other screens, you can read the audience much better than in the virtual world to name just a few.
Discussion and executing plans of how we can more closely create the in-person speaking experience with the virtual speaking experience is needed now more than ever.
Connecting with the audience, displaying meaningful gestures and varying your voice’s pitch and pace are three great ways to enhance your virtual speaking.
It is challenging enough speaking in person. However, when your speaking is in the virtual world, it behooves you to think of ways to stand out from the other videos in the virtual event.
This virtual world was thrust upon us speakers. The speakers that adjust to it, embrace it and create new virtual ways to get their messages across to their audiences will still thrive. Those speakers who don’t will won’t.
Which speaker do you want to be?
Call to Action
Use poignant quote, a startling statistic, a heartwarming story, or a question in the opening and closing of your next virtual presentation
Ensure your gestures are seen in your next virtual presentation
Vary your voice’s pitch and pace to keep your audiences on the edge of their seats during your next virtual presentation
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” – Hans Hoffman
DiBartolomeo Consulting International’s (DCI) mission is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence colleagues and other technical professionals through improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence.
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