We are in the midst of a pandemic which means in-person presentations are going virtual. Many of the top in-person speakers are struggling to bring the same level of passion and effectiveness virtually as they did when in person.
The first thing to do in improving your virtual presentation is to have a performer’s mindset. Although some of you might be thinking, “Troy, I’m not a performer,” that’s ok, having a performer’s mindset is something that can be developed. It’s not a gift, it’s a skill.
You can develop a performer’s mindset by simply thinking about what you are compelled to say from the audience’s perspective.
Everyone in your audience wants you to succeed. They don’t want you to suck. They are hoping, praying, wanting, desiring you to be incredible! You already have the support of your audience. Embrace the idea of appreciating yourself. Best-selling author, Brian Tracy, often writes in his books to repeat this line to yourself: “I like myself,” over and over.
To ensure you are in the right mindset, make sure you are prepared before engaging others in a video conference call. Practice your presentation prior to conducting it before the students.
Practice sharing what you already know to be true. You wouldn’t be sharing to an audience if you didn’t think you have something important to say.
As you practice what you are going to say, visualize how the audience is going to respond. If you have a joke in your presentation, visualize the audience laughing hysterically.
Here are some other points to consider when presenting virtually:
- Eye contact to the camera (it can be tempting to look at the display of videos, stay focused on the camera eye).
- Have depth to your background instead of a sitting in front of a flat wall.
- SMILE big enough so your eyes crinkle
- Match facial expressions with voice inflections:
- Exciting part of a story: Raise your voice
- Traumatic part of a story: Lower your voice
- Important part of a story: Slow down to show you’re thinking
- Wear an earth-tone or jewel tones color top
- Sapphire blue, emerald green, ruby red, amethyst purple, turquoise, topaz yellow.
- Avoid white, black, red, and bright neon colors
- Stay away from plaids, bold stripes, brand name logos, silks, satins, or other shiny fabrics that reflect the light
Often times when I coach people on speaking or presenting the subject comes up of equipment. “Troy, I don’t have the right equipment to be successful.” Although having the best equipment is helpful, it’s not going to ensure you are effective in transferring the emotion you have for your subject matter across the digital world. Use what you have and if you are interested in improving some of your equipment, look through the list I’ve provided below.
- Use a laptop with built in camera
- Don’t use your smart phone when giving your talk or making your presentation.
- If you need to buy a laptop, a cheap option is to use a Chromebooks between $200-$250
- An expensive option is to use a refurbished MacBook Air 11.6 – $500-$650 on Walmart.com
If you don’t have a laptop, use a desktop with external webcam.
- Webcam to clip on your monitor
- Cheap option: Lansen Webcam – $35.99 on Amazon
- Expensive option: Logitech C920 HD Pro $79.99 on Adorama
- Make sure the camera is as close to eye contact as you can. (It’s better if it’s a little higher than lower)
Having the right audio is extremely important in saying what you need to say.
- Cheap option: Fifine Metal Condenser Mic $45.99 on Amazon
- Expensive option: Blue Yeti $129.99 on Amazon
- Cheap option: Skullcandy Riff On-Ear Headphone $19.99
- Expensive option: Sennheiser HD280Pro $99.90 on Amazon
To get your face looking sharp, make sure to have some sort of lighting. Here are some options for a ring light on Amazon. If purchasing anything at this time isn’t a part of your budget, make sure to set up near a window that has natural light on your face.
The easiest way to be more comfortable in from of a camera, take part in a ten-day challenge:
- At the end of each day, use your phone camera and record yourself for five minutes.
- Talk into the camera and share what interesting things happened to you that day.
- Don’t watch the recording until the next day when you are getting ready to record another five minutes.
- By the tenth day, you will be amazed at how far you’ve come.
- The purpose of this exercise is to get you comfortable talking into a camera.
I’m available to help coach you on becoming a better virtual presenter. If you are a volunteer, and not receiving compensation, there is no charge for this one-to-one service. For those looking to increase their speaking abilities, and are paid, there will be a charge for one-to-one coaching.