In these fast times where Tweeting has become the ultimate form of communication, speakers need to connect with their audience at lightning speed. And that doesn't always mean in the boardroom--or in the same room at all.
Virtual meetings have become a staple in this tech-savvy era, but what about the dreaded virtual presentation? How do you inspire and connect when you can't see your audience? Or even worse--they're glitching-out in the corner of your screen?
Computer competency separates CEOs from salespeople: the first are entrepreneurs, the latter are amateurs. A virtual meeting can make or break a business--whether it's winning over an investor or commissioning a client. Be the professional gazing into the camera and at your audience--not the Luddite staring at the screen.
Here are some fool-proof ways to make sure your presentation isn't lost on the information highway.
Variety Is The Spice of Life: Vocal Variety, That Is
These tactics, designed for traditional public speaking engagements, are not out of place online. Vocal variety is the big one. By changing up your inflection to highlight certain words and accentuate other points, you achieve two things:
- Put emphasis on important ideas.
- Keep your audience from falling asleep.
This is called "the art of not boring your audience." Without a physical presence, your voice takes on the burden of keeping your audience engaged.
In a virtual environment, clarity is key. Speak slowly and enunciate all of your words. Don't be lost in digital translation--make sure your audience receives your message loud and clear.
The Camera Loves You: Except When It Doesn't
Just because your voice takes on the bulk of the task-at-hand doesn't mean your body is off-the-hook. Webcams have made presentations an audio-visual experience. That means you--and everything around you--falls under the scrutinizing eye of your audience.
Obviously, this means you need to look the part: dress like a professional. This can be as simple as wearing your regular business casual or as complex as looking up which power colors compliment your skin tone (the answer is always jewel tones--any jewel tone).
Be conscious of your body language. Avoid slouching and other posture that makes you look unprofessional. If your body is undermining your message, it won't matter how convincing your words are--your audience just won't believe you.
On top of optimizing yourself, realize you are not the only thing appearing on screen. Make sure you have the area around you--home office, co-working space, coffeehouse (not suggested)--clutter-free and sans distractions. Your audience will thank you--or will at least focus on what you're saying.
Mandatory Updates: "Mandatory" For a Reason
Just as your computer reminds you to install that new software update every so often, the tech-savvy speaker needs to remember to upgrade their audio-visual equipment.
There are many headsets and microphones on the market that will meet or exceed your needs. Do some market research and settle on one that allows you to be heard clearly. You don't want all of your hard vocal work going to waste.
These days, most webcams are of good enough quality for your visual needs. Choose one compatible with your computer set-up, plug-in and shoot.
As always, test out all of your equipment before your presentation. Nothing gives off an air of unprofessionalism like technology snafus. If we can't hear you, why should we try to listen to you?
Get ready for your close up and never fumble your shoot with these web-preparation tips. A good coach can help you get camera-ready so you flourish not flounder under the spotlight.
And when the time comes--lights, cameras, action--you're on.