We are living in a time where everything changes.
I remember I saw a meme on 9gag that said: I’m not adding 2020 to my age
But guess what? That’s not an option. Because this year has a lot to teach us:
- How to fight a global pandemic!
- How to work remotely from home!
- How to pivot a business!
And some of us learned that we need to change our mindset so we can be better virtual speakers.
During this pandemic I was very curious on how top global speakers are embracing this change and what tips they can give us to be better virtual speakers.
Today, as we speak, we see a different world around us.
More online events are being organized and promoted. More companies embrace the remote work system and more content is created every day, week and month,
I also see a big shift in the offline event industry and the players in it.
Because there is one simple word that I saw lately: PIVOT.
- Countries who pivoted these times.
- Businesses that pivoted these times.
- People who pivoted these times.
- And I know there are speakers who pivoted these times.
And now that you want to pivot yourself as a speaker, you need to understand how to prepare to be a virtual conference speaker
Because offline events have been canceled all over the world, and some of them are now taking place online.
In case you are speaking at a virtual event in the next few months and continue your work as a speaker online, some things will have to change.
How many of you are still in their pajamas reading this article or ever had a video conference call and they were only in their underwear?
Well… this is our world today. And I don’t think that’s something we should be ashamed of. Just think about what Superman felt when he saw his costume.
“Wow… nice underwear Superman!” and guess what, he didn’t care what others said about him. He had a job and he did it in a perfect way.
That’s why today we are all superheroes – Superman.
If we feel comfortable with our pajamas or our underwear, congrats.
That’s what this presentation is all about. Feeling comfortable in such a different world and uncertain times.
The article is divided into 3 big chapters, and each one is split into three small-subcategories that will help you get a better understanding of each section.
We will see how we can prepare ourselves to give a presentation, then we will move forward to see what are the details we need to check out when we are giving the presentation and at the end we will see what we have to do after the presentation.
How to prepare yourself
The first thing you need to do before going online is to prepare yourself for what’s to come.
If you are doing this for the first time, you need to acknowledge the fact that offline public speaking and online conferences are two different things.
What’s your one thing
Every successful speech and every successful speaker has at least one key message that ideally will be remembered by the audience.
What’s your narrative? Do you have a story to tell? How can you easily convey your message? And how will you do it?
I remember when I first delivered my speech in front of a big audience. There were marketers, social media managers and also CMO’s and I had to talk about the power of a community vs the power of one single influencer. So I asked my audience to make a paper airplane in 20 seconds and I also asked the biggest influencer to fold how many airplanes he can in 40 seconds. Then I asked the influencer to throw the plane in the air and then I asked the audience to throw their paper planes in the air. And the entire room was full with airplanes. And that’s how I showed my message to the audience.
Now think about your story, your narrative and your message. What’s that one thing that will make you different for your audience.
- Prepare your voice
Preparation is not only about the surrounding environment. When speaking to an audience, the most crucial part will be your voice.
This means you need to keep your voice in good shape, and you can do it by staying hydrated. An excellent way to do this is by drinking lemon tea sweetened with honey.
- Practice before going live
Practice is essential to anything we do, so practicing for virtual conferences is just as important.
Before practicing by yourself, however, I would recommend you to watch other speakers. Start consuming as much content as you can and, of course, watch anything related to what you plan to do.
Everytime I do a presentation I practice at least 2 times and see how long the presentation takes, where it needs some adjustments and how I can deliver it better.
- Learn about your audience
This is the point where you start your adventure.
You cannot address empty walls, nor will you be speaking to your family. This time, you need to focus on people.
If you want to deliver a great message and be a great speaker you need focus on your audience.
Know what you want to achieve, know what you want to communicate, and understand who the people who would like to hear about your ideas are.
I believe that when you start asking specific questions about your audience, to learn about them ahead of the session you will know how to package your message in a way it can be delivered in such a way that your audience will empathize with it.
How to prepare your content
One of the most important elements of a virtual conference is the presentation itself.
A good presentation is the one that makes the audience engage with it and get the amount of info that it needs to solve their problem or make them think.
People need to be able to understand your message from the very first few minutes, so they don’t get bored and leave the online event.
- Create killer titles and a simple description
If you don’t hook your audience from the first seconds you start your presentation, you will lose them until the end.
Andrew Worster, a public speaker, said that you have 7 seconds to capture your audience’s attention. And guess what? Your title is playing the big role here.
There are several techniques you can use to create these titles:
- Promise some benefits
- Make your audience curious
- You can come up with a storyline
- Give a solution to a problem
- Make it actionable
Make your presentation an actionable presentation. This means that you need to give your audience some tips and tricks they can use by themself.
For example, sometimes when I’m doing a marketing presentation I make sure I always use screenshots and show a before and after situation and then I give the specific steps I took to get to those results.
People love actionable ideas. And that’s the best presentation you can work on. Deliver value to your audience and make their life easier with these steps.
- Work on your own script
Did you ever see or read a movie script? If you do, I know what I am talking about. If you didn’t, then you should know that a script features more than what you are going to say in front of the audience.
You need to take into account minute by minute your movements, the environment, your gestures, and the intermissions, which images or videos to show, when, and why.
Prepare all your tech resources
Like Andy Crestodina said “The best presentation will suffer if the light and audio are bad”
So that’s why you need to check out these 3 important elements:
- Lights – If you are going to film your speech, you need to make sure your audience will not look at a blurry or pixelated image.
- Microphone – It’s ideal for recording professional speeches, videos, and podcasts using a microphone to get the audio right, even if you are using a DSLR or a professional camera.
- Camera – When it comes to the camera, there are two essential things to know here: the position of the camera and the camera itself.
There are a lot of good speakers out there. Some are struggling to gain popularity because they neglect this essential aspect: the tech resources, which include everything that helps you record a speech like a professional, including the hardware.
I really love what Andra said here.
Ask yourself these 3 questions before you start working on your presentation:
- Does your presentation include an interesting opinion?
- Does it reflect clear thinking and clearly made points?
- How do you plan to make those points relevant to your audience?
And last, but not least
Always test before going live:
Now let’s move to the next point and talk about performance
And see how we should perform during the presentation
First of all, make sure you have a high energy
Some people need to feel the energy of the audience to pump them up. When being separated from your audience, it’s quite obvious you will not be able to do the same.
Drink a coffee, an energy drink, do some exercise before the presentation, or anything that you know can help you energize yourself a little bit.
The second thing you can do is to talk with passion
The more positive and excited you are about the information you are transmitting, the easier you’ll engage the people watching.
And if you want to create a connection with the audience, you need to show passion and emotion.
Do you remember what I just said at the beginning of the presentation? We are all superheroes, especially in these days when everything is happening in our homes and we need to understand how to get more comfortable to do our work.
But never ever forget, Dressing for the occasion is also going to put you in the right mood and mindset.
If you’ve been a speaker for offline events, you probably know how to keep them entertained.
Keep in mind, however, that virtual events are something entirely new. While on stage, you can watch the audience’s reactions and quickly change your narrative if needed.
When doing an online event, you can’t see the people that are watching you and their live reactions.
To create that experience for the viewer, everything that’s related to your presentation should be adapted for the online environment.
And here is a must have checklist while performing during the presentation
- Introduce yourself – the best introduction you can make is to say who you are, what you do, and what you’re going to teach them during the event.
- Have a conversational talk -speak to your audience using a conversational, personal, and informal tone, similar to how you would do it with friends. Be friendly, open, and direct.
- Use note cards – Write down the most important ideas you want to discuss and put them in order, using the script you already planned.
- Always summarize the presentation – At the end of the presentation, it’s always a good practice to briefly walk through the main points of your presentation.
- Turn on your camera – you can turn on the webcam from your computer to watch yourself from different angles.
- Check the computer’s microphone – Do a recording test with both video and audio and see if you’re satisfied with the quality.
- Adjust the lights – You want to make sure that there are no light interferences or shadows that can ruin your presentation.
- Have a good internet connection – Test your internet connection before the online event, and to make sure you won’t encounter any issues, use a cable connection if possible, and not the Wi-Fi.
- Don’t sit in front of a window – Regardless of the quality of your camera or the lights, you are using, the light that comes from the window will ruin everything.
And here it is. The last step – What to do AFTER you finished your performing
- Ask for feedback – The audience can definitely help you analyze and improve your performance over time.
They can also guide you by telling you exactly what they want to learn next, what you may have missed during the presentation, and so on.
- Answer questions you didn’t answer during the presentation – When you ask for feedback, people will have questions. And most of these questions could have been included during the presentation.
Don’t worry, you can still address them after the event is over.
- Take the necessary break – Sit back, relax, and acknowledge the fact that you did an excellent job. The presentation is over, and now, you are more confident than ever in your skills as an online speaker.
You can find more about this topic on our guide right here: https://blog.bannersnack.com/virtual-event-speaker/