8 subtle changes that will help you speak in public on Zoom
Speaking in public is one thing. Speaking in public on Zoom comes with a whole new dimension of challenges, especially if you’re nervous about presenting.
Whether it’s potential technical issues or not being able to rely on your audience’s non-verbal cues, it’s easy to sweat over all the things that could go wrong during a virtual speech. But what if you could not only manage your performance anxiety but also learn to speak in public on Zoom calls?
With a few subtle changes ranging from mindset tricks to very practical habits, it’s definitely possible. Here are eight expert-approved presentation tips to adopt before your next virtual presentation.
Take some and leave whichever works for you, as the general idea is to adopt practices that will help you have fun with the experience (and deliver a better speech in the process).
1. Go with the flow
“Problems will arise. The most important thing is not to worry about their eventuality, but to know how to react quickly to problems that you may be facing, ”says Linda Pophal, lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and marketing consultant.
“This may involve shutting down and logging back in, clearing your cache, etc. Prepare plans before your presentations and let your audience know what to do in the event of the unexpected.”
2. Use Zoom to your advantage
Yes, there are downsides to having a Zoom call versus a person. But if you’re dreading the idea of public speaking on a video call, there are some perks, too. Lee Gimpel, the founder of Better Meetings, a meeting design, facilitation and training company, recommends experimenting with the Zoom call view that you use to watch your audience.
“You might find it really helpful to see a lot of little squares, or you might find it helpful to pin a friendly face in the audience and talk, apparently, just to that person. You might also find it helpful to turn off self-sight and worry less about your own facial expressions, ”he says.
3. Include engagement prompts
Want to overcome your self-awareness? Draw attention to your audience with engaging prompts. For example, you can ask people to raise their hands to confirm whether they’ve experienced a relevant work scenario, or even get specific people to talk about issues in their departments, according to Michael Alexis, CEO of TeamBuilding.
“Those times when other people are involved gives you a chance to breathe and collect your thoughts. The technique also shifts the frame of the call from public speaking to something more like “an active conversation between participants, led by you”. While you might be afraid of public speaking, not many people are afraid of conversations. “
The key is to keep the prompts on topic, as well as to avoid putting people on the spot with uncomfortable questions.
4. Explore your options
“Zoom presentations are not a one-size-fits-all approach. It really depends on your audience and your goals, ”says Pophal.
“For example, when I teach, I usually have my camera on for most of the class. However, when I do webinars, I usually use my [slides] and share the screen and turn off my video except at the start and end of the session. Probably the most important thing to remember is that you have options! ”
When you’re feeling nervous about an upcoming Zoom meeting, it can be so easy to try and emulate others, which ends up making you feel inauthentic and even less confident. Trust your instincts and choose a format that works for you.
5. Plan your strategy
“So many people are just trying to ‘pass’ a presentation. We’re focused on realistic advice that will help the presenter feel empowered to focus on how and what they’re presenting versus all the other millions of things, ”says communication expert Jenna Cooper of Speak You.
While the idea of sprinkling your Is and crossing your Ts might not be the first thing you associate with having fun, proper preparation will relieve some of the pressure that makes you fear speaking in the first place. .
Cooper recommends doing things like practicing in front of the camera beforehand, standing instead of sitting, and getting used to looking at your camera instead of the screen to prepare. You’ll also want to plan the content of your presentation by putting yourself in your audience’s shoes.
“Remember, it’s not about you. This is your audience. We always say, think of it as a conversation – not a performance. Put on your teacher’s hat and really think, “What do my audience need to know? How can I best communicate this in a way that they will understand? she says.
6. Remember the audience is your friend
On that note, it’s also so important to remember that the audience is supportive of you and wants you to win – and people sympathize with being nervous, so it’s also OK if your nerves show it.
“The fear of public speaking is more the fear of rejection of ourselves and our ideas than the act of speaking itself. Be aware that most audiences seek to like the speaker. They also understand the feeling you get, ”says Melissa McGavick, President, Director of Education and Professional Speaker at McGavick Interactive Training and Member of the Board of Directors of Toastmasters International.
7. Divide your presentation into chunks
Who says you have to talk nonstop for a full hour? It can be exhausting instead of enjoyable, and it’s not always the most appealing format either. “Once you’re in longer ranges of doing the same thing, the audience tends to disconnect unless you’re a phenomenal speaker,” Gimpel says.
He suggests dividing your presentation into five to ten minute segments and including breaks for discussion breaks: “This could be answering questions earlier in a presentation or getting people into small groups for discussion. discuss an idea. The more time people spend doing things on their own, the less time you have to be a good speaker yourself. ”
8. Dress up even if they can’t see your full outfit
Want to wear pajama bottoms and a dressy top? Don’t – it could affect your energy and your self-confidence.
“Being overly comfortable, like dressing only professionally from the waist down and pajama bottoms below the screen, can sabotage your professional sense of yourself. That translates into your presentation, ”McGavick says.
“Dress for the presentation as you would if it was taking place in your office or in a conference room. This little effort can boost your confidence. ”