Coronavirus: How To Succeed At Video-Conferencing

Here’s a practical guide to help you deliver high-impact presentations via video-conference.

 

Coronavirus: How To Succeed At Video-Conferencing

 

 

Here’s a practical guide to help you deliver high-impact presentations via video-conference.

If you’re accustomed to going to the office every day to run your business, you’re about to face the challenge of leading meetings, or pitching new business, via video-conferencing from home. 

Online interpersonal communications – whether for internal or external audiences – is an entirely new way of working. The survival of your business could depend on how successful you are at transitioning from face-to-face to virtual meetings. 

Here are some tips on creating effective video content for your business communication needs.

 1.      Lights, Camera, Action

First and foremost, make sure you’re properly lit and sitting square in the picture. Try to ensure that you are at least properly centered in the picture, in front of a neutral backdrop. Also, speak close enough to the microphone in order to reduce the natural reverb in the room, and make sure your face is zoomed in close enough so that the audience can read your facial expressions, which is key to sustaining their engagement over the course of your presentation.

 2.      Voice placement

The tone and vocal variety of your voice is important to create audience engagement. Monotone is a mortal sin. Remember to change pace and energy levels regularly throughout the presentation, so that audiences can feel when you are excited about a particular section. If you are excited about delivering your own presentation, it will come across in your voice, and that positive energy will radiate to your audience. Emphasize key words every so often..but not too often, or it will feel staged. Use pauses for effect, to add gravitas as you let an idea hang in the air for moment, thus making it stand out in the course of the presentation.

Lastly, adopting a conversational tone is most likely to help you sustain maximum audience engagement: using the vocal ‘register’ of a conversation makes you sound like you’re talking with your audience, not at them. Always remember that emotion and engagement come from the heart – sincerity can never be successfully faked — audiences will see right through you. Your best platform for audience engagement is to speak about thing that you truly believe.

3.      Engagement

Another way to maximize audience engagement is to invite questions throughout the presentation, rather than pushing the Q&A section to the end. Question time creates variety, while also generating natural breaks to restate your key messages, to make them stick. Today, current video conferencing technology is your ally, thanks to  widespread ‘chat’ functions, which empower viewers to share comments and questions in real-time throughout the presentation – therefore, always keep an eye on the live chat feed, to rebound on the most relevant questions as they occur. (Conversely, I recommend that you conveniently ‘overlook’ any questions that could derail your presentation, no one can blame you for not addressing each and every question.)

A final word for successful video conferencing…know that attention spans are much shorter online than in face-to-face meetings. If you are hosting say a webinar for example, you must overcome yet another handicap: your audience sees you, but you may not see them. It’s difficult to gauge their level of interest and attention, to course-correct the presentation as needed, in real-time. To sustain audience engagement, show your face as often as possible, and your PowerPoint as little as needed. 

4.      Body Language 

 

Body language is key. Random or unchecked movement — such as fidgeting — works against you, detracting from your presentation. Take an athlete’s approach to managing your body language: be relaxed, poised, graceful, full of understated power, deploying motion in a controlled and purposeful way.

 5.      Devices

Consider the devices your audience may be using to watch your presentation — think about your own frustrating experience watching feature films on tiny airplane TV screens. Adapt your PowerPoint slides accordingly: visuals should be uncluttered enough to remain legible on all sizes of screens, from laptop to iPad to smartphone. Use visuals that are simple, crisp and easy to read: catchy titles, few words, self-explanatory graphics. 

 6.      Use a script

Using a written script is a great way to stay on message throughout your presentation, while also managing time constraints. In order to stay within your allotted time limit, calculate your written speech length by dividing your total word count by the standard speech delivery pace of 130 words per minute. For maximum effect, you may also consider using a Teleprompter. Today there are many apps, independent of your video conferencing platform, that will enable you to scroll through your text while facing the camera: as you read your script with proper poise, pitch and pace (the 3 P’s of vocal power),

A. Dearnell. 

Contributor