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Phoenix Public Speaking coaching and workshops

Archive for virtual meetings – Page 2

5 Tips to Make You a Better Videoconference Presenter

Presenting on a videoconference is different than presenting in an in-person meeting. Many in-person public speaking basics still apply but many require some modifications due to the challenges of virtual technology.

Here are five tips to help make you a more effective presenter in the virtual world:

1) Dress Appropriately. Ditch the pajamas. You don’t need to wear a jacket or tie, but a polo shirt or dress shirt will convey a look of professionalism and may help to put you in the right frame of mind. If you’d prefer to wear a T-shirt, chose a solid color without distracting words, pictures, etc.

2) Adjust Your Body Language. Sit up straight in your chair and don’t squirm. Be mindful that hand gestures can blur on camera so minimize them and, when you do use them, slow them down.

3) Make Eye Contact. Eye contact is important to connect with people but remember to look at the camera eye and not at the faces of those who are on your screen.

4) Control Your Environment. Present from a quiet location with an appropriate background. Use Apple earbuds or a headset so that you don’t have an echo to your voice. Mute your microphone when not talking. Adjust your laptop cover or camera appropriately so that the audience isn’t looking up your nose.

5) Speak and Listen Appropriately. If you typically speak fast, speak slower than you would before an in-person audience. Speak clearly and use simple words. Avoid sarcasm and dry humor because it does not translate well in a virtual environment. Avoid interrupting interjections such as “I see,” because they don’t work well virtually. Instead, listen fully and only comment when the speaker has finished.

By practicing these tips and adapting them to your own personal style, you will be a more professional and a more impactful presenter. Give these tips a try and let us know how they work for you. We’d also love to hear any additional tips that you have discovered. Please leave your tips in the comments section below. We’re all learning together.

Bonus Pro Tip: Zoom offers a virtual background option that can keep your home life more private and add a little fun to your on-screen persona. However, some of the virtual backgrounds don’t look very real, in part because the photos are too sharply focused. One of our subscribers, Bart Butler, recently passed on this cool tip: slightly blur the background photo for a more realistic look. Here’s a short video that shows how you can blur your background. Thank you, Bart Butler for this great tip!

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Business Communication in the Brave New Virtual World

By Paul Barton
Principal Consultant

HAS CORONAVIRUS changed public speaking forever? Well, our business certainly has taken a dramatic and sudden downward turn. Workshops and speaking engagements, even those booked months from now, cancelled.Personal coaching clients, wary about face-to-face contact, have all postponed or cancelled sessions. All new business came to an abrupt halt as caution turned to outright fear.

The world has suddenly turned nearly 100% virtual for business communication. Nearly every business, large and small, that we’ve talked to have all their employees working from home. For some, this isn’t new. But for many, doing business from home is uncharted territory. I believe virtual work will become a bigger part of our lives long after the virus has subsided.

But remember this: Whether you’re trying to get your point across from the board room or on a laptop from your dining room table, basic public speaking skills apply. And there are many new considerations that come into play as well.

For instance, eye contact is still important but it now means looking into the built-in camera on your laptop instead of at individuals in your live audience. Engagement is still crucial but it now means using polls, chat boxes, Q&As, and other creative ways. Body language and humor and still important but need to be approached differently because visual cues and vocal subtleties can’t be as easily detected in a virtual environment.

New Approaches to Public Speaking

Approaching this new way to communicate is not as easy as flipping a switch. You cannot just do everything you used to do only now do it via video-conferring and expect it to translate fully. And that’s assuming it was done perfectly before!

We’re here to help you navigate the world of virtual business communications. This isn’t new to us. For instance, in 2018 we published tips for presenting via speakerphone and we teamed with New York City-based social media expert Dhariana Lozano for a webinar on ways to engage virtual audiences. [Transcript here] You can expect to see more posts here on communicating effectively in this brave new virtual world.

Virtual Business Communication Services

And please bear in mind, all of the 1-on-1 personal coaching packages that Michele Trent and I offer are available as less expensive virtual options.

We also have an online course on conquering public speaking fear and more courses are on the way.

Meanwhile, some of you know that I also operate Paul Barton Communications, a business communication consulting firm. I’m busy right now helping to craft coronavirus messaging for employees of a large healthcare provider. We’re available to help you and your organization as well.

The single most important constant, whether live or virtual business communication, is this: It’s always, always, always about your audience. And for those of us at Phoenix Public Speaking, that means you. Let us know how we can help.

Together, we’ll all get through this. Be safe, be well.