Even though businesses are returning to offices and students are back in the classrooms, the virtual meeting appears to be here to stay. Speaking to a virtual audience comes with its own set of challenges. For instance, online, an audience member can mute their presence and ‘leave the room’ without being noticed, setting a high bar for grabbing and keeping their attention!
Here are a few tips to improve your public speaking in a digital setting, such as over Zoom, Microsoft Teams or FaceTime.
Tip #1: Decide where to look
Eye contact is as important virtually as it is in person. When presenting to a screen, it can be difficult to know where to look in relation to what your audience will see. Practice by looking directly at the camera on your device – place a sticky note or another visual reminder near or right above the camera so you know exactly where to look.
While this may feel unnatural, looking straight at the camera helps you engage better with the audience.
Tip #2: Use visuals
Have you ever caught yourself yawning in the middle of someone’s presentation because they have just been talking at you? Using visuals like PowerPoint, Canva or video to break up your talking points will make the presentation more enjoyable for the audience and improve engagement and attention.
Tip #3: Incorporate interactivity
Making your presentation interactive is a great way to keep the audience engaged throughout the duration of the meeting. Create a short Google Form for your listeners to participate in that points out key takeaways – incorporate some fun questions too!
Other ways to interact with the crowd include surveys or polls, icebreaker questions and quizzes.
Tip #4: Always be prepared
Before you’re due to present online, take the time to fully prepare. Make sure your computer and even a back-up device such as a tablet or smart phone are fully charged. Test the virtual platform beforehand to make sure you understand how to present with it, share slides or video and answer chat questions. Invite a friend or colleague to act as the audience so you can do a dry run before the big day. You’ll be glad you did.
Even though “zoom fatigue” is becoming a reality, technology also allows us to find creative ways to keep an audience engaged during a presentation. Incorporating these tips will help you to connect with your audience, no matter the platform.