Adapting speaking skills to the virtual world

Speaking to a virtual audience is different from speaking to a live audience.  To be successful in the virtual world, you need to understand that world, and how it differs fundamentally from the live world.

Here’s the most important thing to understand about the virtual world.

Your virtual audience is in a familiar environment: they are in their personal space whether it’s the kitchen, bedroom or home office. They’re seeing you on a small screen. It’s almost like watching TV.

So their expectations are ‘entertain me’ – just like a TV show. And give me a commercial break every 10 minutes or so.

A live audience is sitting in an unfamiliar environment… an auditorium or conference room. There’s more mental stimulation. People are chatting, laughing. There may even be music. And there’s certainly applause.

All of this creates an atmosphere that’s very different from someone alone in their kitchen or bedroom or home office.

So how do you reach your virtual audience? How do you make a lasting impression on them?  How do you communicate just as effectively virtually as you would expect to do in person?

Here are a few tips:

  • Keep it short – brevity rules in the online world
  • Encourage participation to get and keep people engaged. Use the chat function
  • Have a plan, a structure and an emcee
  • Build in breaks

I’ll be developing these ideas, and a whole lot more, in a brand new course I’m creating. It’s called The Virtual Speaker. This course will focus on 4 areas:

  • Understanding the Virtual World
  • The Speaker
  • The Audience
  • The Technology

I’ll be using my 20 years of presentations skills coaching and my 25 years of being a television news producer to prepare you for the virtual world. I’m looking forward to sharing more information and a launch date in future newsletters and updates.

In the meantime, check out some of the other articles in the Presentations Masterclass Blog for more tips on making the most of the virtual world.

Here are a few links to start you off:

Virtual meetings fail without real connections

Are live conferences dead?

A remedy for Zoom fatigue