COVID-19 has changed almost everything about our daily lives, including the way we present. Conferences and events have cancelled, offices are closed, and most of us are doing our best to be productive from home. That means more phone calls, conference calls, and videoconferences than ever.
As you participate in virtual meetings, remember this advice: you’re ALWAYS presenting. Quarantine or not, there’s still business to conduct, strategy to plan and customers to contact. In this crazy time, your message continues to be important, and the way you present it now becomes even more critical.
Bring your presentation skills with you at all times. Your words in these coming days will still be called upon to inform, motivate, comfort and resolve issues. The meetings you join will affect critical business or project issues: budgets, timelines, sales and even jobs!
So we’ll say it again: BRING YOUR PRESENTATION SKILLS WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES. Don’t fall into bad communication habits when you’re stuck at home. Use this as an opportunity to enhance your style as a speaker and as a leader.
Here are some coaching tips for your next virtual meeting:
Prepare. It’s easy to forget that you’re presenting when there’s no in-person audience. Know your material, practice in advance, and encourage your co-workers to come to the meeting prepared as well.
Shorten. It’s harder to stay engaged in a virtual meeting, so you can expect that it’s even harder to engage others. These conference calls and Zoom-fests aren’t the time for data dumps. Put the details in advance emails—strongly encouraging everyone to be prepared—and limit yourself to big picture and main ideas.
Movement and Energy. When your face is on-screen, don’t be an idle talking head. Energy—in the form of gestures and facial expression—will animate your voice and convey confidence. And this is especially critical when they CAN’T see you, so use your hands and face on conference calls too. It may feel awkward but remember…if it works, your listeners don’t care how it feels!
Guide your Visuals. When sharing visuals, use DIRECTIONAL LANGUAGE to help your audience focus. Tell them where to look and what they’re seeing. Example: “Look at the blue line in the upper right-hand side of the graph and you’ll see a spike in the numbers. That’s shows the extent that our campaign dramatically impacted sales for the two weeks we ran it.”
Avoid Vocal Pitfalls. To overcome the unwanted drone of a monotone, crank up your energy. To avoid trailing off at the end of sentences, focusing on emphasizing the last WORD. And to eliminate the dreaded “ums” and “you knows”, pause often to gather your thoughts or check your notes.
By preparing for each virtual call as you would for a conventional presentation, you’ll make a stronger impact and get people to pay better attention to you.
When you need our help, your friends at EMS Communications are just a virtual meeting away! EMS is conducting virtual training/coaching sessions to help clients brush up their virtual communication skills and prepare for important meetings, so contact us about scheduling time for yourself and your teams.