Still 3 More Tips for Speaking in the Virtual World
“There are good leaders who actively guide and bad leaders who actively misguide. Hence, leadership is about persuasion, presentation and people skills.” – Shiv Kera
In the last two weeks in my newsletters, I have given you six tips for speaking in the virtual world.
This week, I give you three final tips for speaking in the virtual world: use speaker view, ensure your background matches your message and use high-speed Internet.
Use Speaker View
You’ve just started a class on Zoom that has 30 people in it. Your students all appear on your screen in tiny video boxes. If someone asks you a question or has a comment, how do you determine who it is. The answer is Speaker view.
You have two choices in Zoom as to how to display your audience. Gallery View displays everyone in your audience at the same time. This makes it very hard to determine who is currently speaking.
However speaker view allows the person who is currently speaking to appear very large on your screen. This way, it is very easy to determine who is currently speaking. In speaker view, you can still see the others in their little video boxes, but you might have to scroll left or right or from top or bottom to get to a particular person.
We know that engaging your audience in a virtual world is extra difficult. You want to be the focus of attention when you are speaking. So, ask your audience to ensure speaker view is on. That way when you are speaking, you will in the big video box on your audience’s screens.
So using Speaker view will allow you to see who is currently speaking and will ensure your face will be prominent when you are speaking to your audience.
A second tip for speaking virtually is to ensure your background matches your message.
Ensure Your Background Matches Your Message
By now, you probably know that Zoom allows you to use virtual backgrounds. Any image can be a background. A word to the wise. If you want to use a virtual background, ensure the background matches the message you are trying to convey to your audience.
Resist the urge to have what I call a “cutesy” background. Your audience is on the virtual video call to learn something, not to marvel at your background. So, don’t have pictures of your dog, cat, or child in the background. It will just detract from your message.
Just as a virtual background should match your message, an actual real-life background should also match your message.
If you are giving a class on how to unclutter your house, ensure you have no clutter in your actual background.
If you are giving a class on auto mechanics, why not do it from an auto mechanics shop.
If you giving a motivational speech, have a motivational background like someone winning a track meet race or someone winning an award or someone walking with artificial legs.
Again, the important thing is that your background supports your message and does not detract from it.
So you now know Speaker view will allow you to see who is currently speaking and will ensure your face will be prominent when you are speaking to your audience. You also know it is best to ensure your background matches your message.
But if this third tip is not followed, your virtual experience could be at the very least annoying and, if you are a business owner, if you don’t have this, it could make your clients angry and can actually cost you business – stable high-speed Internet.
Use Stable High-Speed Internet
Someone in the audience is talking and all of a sudden, his or her video freezes. Or someone’s voice becomes crackly or even unintelligible. What causes this? There are two main reasons and they both have to do with the Internet. Reason one is the virtual meeting is being held at a time of high Internet usage. Reason two is the Internet connection the person is using does not have enough speed to keep up.
We can’t do much about the first reason. Even with high-speed Internet, we have no control over Internet usage.
However, we can do something about the second reason – Internet connection speed.
If you are in a rural area, you really just have two choices for Internet: Direct Subscriber Line (DSL) from your phone company or satellite Internet. The reason rural areas don’t have cable Internet is the cable company has determined it is not cost effective to put in cable to your property. All you can do is get the fastest speed you can get with DSL or satellite Internet.
If you are in a populated area, you have the choice of going with cable Internet which has much higher speed than either DSL and satellite Internet.
Your cable company has various plans for Internet speed. My best advice is to get the plan with the highest Internet speed you can afford. If your business is on the Internet (Whose business isn’t these days?), I would make an investment in your business by getting the highest Internet speed possible and just pay the cost. If you are on virtual video calls a lot, the extra cost will be well worth it.
Let’s talk briefly about WiFi in your home. If you are just attending virtual video calls and are not the host of the meeting, WiFi is probably OK to use. However, if you are hosting a meeting, it is better to connect an Ethernet cable from your cable modem to your computer. The reason for this is WiFi has a slower speed than having an Ethernet line connected to your computer.
So, the three additional tips for speaking in the virtual world are (1) use speaker view to see who is currently speaking and to ensure your face will be prominent when you are speaking to your audience, (2) ensure your background matches your message, (3) ensure you have high-speed Internet.
We are not only in the actual world anymore Toto (Wizard of Oz reference). We are also in the Virtual World. Those that understand and exploit it will succeed. Those that don’t will not succeed!
Call to Action
The next time you use a virtual video communication platform, use speaker view to determine who is speaking
The next time you use a virtual video communication platform ensure your virtual background matches your message
Get high-speed Internet
“Humans are completely incapable of reading and comprehending text on a screen and listening to a speaker at the same time. Therefore, lots of text (almost any text!), and long, complete sentences are bad, Bad, BAD.” – Garr Reynolds
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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