Virtual speaking engagements are not something new, however for obvious reasons (eh-hem...The Rona) virtual speaking has become the bread and butter for many public speakers. While the process of preparing for a virtual performance isn't much different than the process of preparing for a live, on-stage performance, there are a few things you will want to make sure you do before you hop on your next Zoom keynote presentation.
You do rehearse and practice your performance before you get on stage, right?
Even if you've performed it hundreds of time, practicing your presentation is essential to ensuring you give a stellar talk that will leave your audience inspired and motivated to take action! Now, don't try to memorize every line but get comfortable enough with the content of your presentation that it flows. You should know the timing of your slides, how and when you will emphasize specific phrases and even when you are going to inject some humor. For those of us who are used to being in front of a live audience, it will seem strange at first because you won't be able to pick up clues to gauge how hooked your audience is, but this is why practice is so important!
2. Present in a quiet space.
Before you deliver your virtual presentation, make sure you let your family know. You will want to be in a space that is free of background noise (i.e. barking dogs, lawn mowers, crying babies, etc.). You may even want to look into reserving a space outside of your home the day of your performance.
3. Test your tech.
This is where live presentations trump virtual every time. When you show up to an event all of the sound, lights and tech are already taken care of. Just because you are at home (or a rented space if you choose to go this route) doesn't mean you can skip on the tech. You are a speaker. It will be important that your audience hears every word you say. Ensure your sound is clear, get a microphone if necessary. The other very important piece of your performance is the visual—your visual aids (if you are using them) and YOU! Since most of us are giving our presentations from the comfort of our own homes, audiences have been a bit more forgiving in this area. But it doesn't let you off the hook! Make sure your visual aids are clearly seen and that the audience can clearly see you. Deliver your performance in a well-lit area that is free of background clutter. If necessary, invest in lighting. Lastly, test your tech before you go live!
4. Dress for success.
Dress for your virtual presentation the same as you would for your live, in-person presentation.
5. Keep that same energy.
Sitting in front of your laptop or video camera to give a virtual presentation might seem odd at first. There are no eyeballs staring at you. You won't necessarily feel the vibe of the room. And you might not be able to tell if someone is laughing at your jokes or not. But you will have to keep the same energy that you have when you are on stage. In fact, it will have to be higher—like you REALLY need to perform when you are delivering virtual presentations.
We don't know what the future holds, but it is my prediction that virtual speaking engagements are here to stay. If you want to maintain a thriving speaking business you will have learn how to navigate these virtual waters so that you can continue to share your message and leave your audiences fired up!
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