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How To Improve Your Online Public Speaking & Virtual Delivery

Advice on delivering events, meetings, classes and more online and virtually in a confident and professional manner to improve your audiences experience – leaving them wow’ed.

The world is awash with virtual events and virtual networking with essentially everything that once was…  now virtual and online. Your meetings, your yoga classes, your pub quizzes, recruitment, sales pitches… even your Grandad’s birthday party!

Like in the ‘real world’ (which we should probably stop calling the real world now…), not everyone is designed to be a master of ceremonies. Not everyone is confident delivering or public speaking to an audience, and that’s fair enough! But there are SO many benefits to killer virtual delivery and public speaking.

In fact, some people find delivering virtual events much easier than in person, and some find it to be the other way completely. But it’s safe to say that you won’t know until you try it. 

 

Whether you want to learn how to improve your own presentation and public speaking skills, or you want to know what to look for when auditioning or finding representatives to lead on the live delivery itself, we’ve got some advice. 

We were able to break down awesome and effective live delivery into five pillars after months, if not years, of trial and error. Five pillars that will constitute success if executed beautifully. And one such pillar is ‘personality’.

The personality pillar is all about the lead, the host, their likability and general ability to deliver to an audience. 

So, whether you’re looking to deliver virtually or physically, here are some live presentation skills:

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How To Improve Your Online Public Speaking & Virtual Delivery

Advice on delivering events, meetings, classes and more online and virtually in a confident and professional manner to improve your audiences experience – leaving them wow’ed.

The world is awash with virtual events and virtual networking with essentially everything that once was…  now virtual and online. Your meetings, your yoga classes, your pub quizzes, recruitment, sales pitches… even your Grandad’s birthday party!

Like in the ‘real world’ (which we should probably stop calling the real world now…), not everyone is designed to be a master of ceremonies. Not everyone is confident delivering or public speaking to an audience, and that’s fair enough! But there are SO many benefits to killer virtual delivery and public speaking.

In fact, some people find delivering virtual events much easier than in person, and some find it to be the other way completely. But it’s safe to say that you won’t know until you try it. 

 

Whether you want to learn how to improve your own presentation and public speaking skills, or you want to know what to look for when auditioning or finding representatives to lead on the live delivery itself, we’ve got some advice. 

We were able to break down awesome and effective live delivery into five pillars after months, if not years, of trial and error. Five pillars that will constitute success if executed beautifully. And one such pillar is ‘personality’.

The personality pillar is all about the lead, the host, their likability and general ability to deliver to an audience. 

So, whether you’re looking to deliver virtually or physically, here are some live presentation skills:

Bring Your Public Speaking To Life

Just like delivering live presentations or when talking on a stage to deliver a talk, you want to present with energy, animation and enthusiasm. 

To slow, to monotone, to lifeless and it’s easy for your audience to disengage, tune out and not give you the chance you thought you deserved. 

Essentially, if you want to keep people engaged, virtually or otherwise, you need to actually be engaging. 

Why not watch a video, or sign up to talks with your favourite presenter or host – watch the way they deliver looking at things like their tone of voice, how they emphasise certain words, how they use hand gestures and body language and how they convey their confidence. 

Even the most practised public speaker will still be nervous during their presentation delivery to this day – but with confidence and engagement as their goal, they’re able to power through. 

Pace Yourself Well When Public Speaking

I don’t think anyone knew how much we relied on body language and facial expressions as feedback cues until we entered this world where it’s so easy to literally block your face from view!

And no one was sure of the impact this would have on your virtually delivery pacing and style either.

We’ve mentioned bringing your delivery to life through things such as adding energy and animation but don’t let that increase your tempo too much. And the same with nerves, if you practice ahead of time a few times you’ll know what’s coming next and won’t be rushing one line in an attempt to remember what’s coming next. 

If you tend to be a fast talker, practice slowing down just a little bit. Use pacers such as taking a sip of water which can let you stop, breathe and re-evaluate. A great time to look at the clock and see if you’re further ahead of behind where you should be. 

And if you’re a slow talker, then you should practice speeding it up a little bit. This could be by just increasing your tempo, or even by minimising the amount you have to say – condensing two sentences into something sharper, snappier and more succinct.

Engage your virtual audience

Just as if you were doing an in-person presentation, talk, pitch or class, you want to create content that will engage your audience – keeping them focused, attentive and entertained. 

The virtual world of public speaking offers some advantages to engagement activities in comparison to the ‘real world’:

Things like the chat function in most platforms like Zoom and Google Meet enable constant interaction and conversation – something that isn’t easy to do in real life as no one wants to talk over the host! As a host you can use this to engage individuals too, calling out people’s names when they make good points or ask questions. 

Some streaming platforms also have options like polls, Q&As and raised hand buttons – all of these involve and engage the audience, rather than them just watching the host and nod along behind their devices. 

Gamification is a great way to engage your audience online so look at things like Kahoot and look at how you could incorporate games and engagement points into your delivery. 

Keep these engagement methods and visual interruptions regular, but don’t let them distract from the points you’re trying to make, only enhance them. 

Look the camera in the eye

Exactly what it says on the tin… look into your camera when you’re speaking – not the screen, not yourself, not the participants, the camera.

This will give the illusion of eye contact to each individual member of your audience, and we all know how engaging a tool eye contact is in any conversation, let alone public speaking.

This will take some practice, but putting your camera at eye level and central will help you achieve this. 

Maintaining this faux eye-contact is essential to give the illusion of (or better yet actual) paying attention. It also screams confidence! 

Try and keep this up whether you’re talking or not, don’t give yourself a chance to look distracted and uninterested.

Frame yourself on camera

This is something you should do regardless of whether you’re the speaker or not, it’s an element of professionalism.

Frame your face, neck and shoulders central to the screen – naturally we’re drawn to each other’s faces, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to form that natural connection with your audience.

There’s nothing worse than looking to see who’s speaking and someones looking down at their camera so you can see up their nose, or it’s just their forehead up close.

Actually, this isn’t only a matter of professionalism… it’s a matter of not looking unflattering!

Depending on your reasons for live delivery, you may need to frame yourself differently, but we recommend the head and shoulders approach for most direct talking. 

Too far away, and your message is lost as we take in your surroundings rather than yourself… unless you’re a yoga instructor, in which case you probably need some space to do your thang.

 

On your feet soldiers

Whilst still considering your framing, see if you can use a standing desk or a taller setup when delivering virtually. 

Standing up helps you with all the points mentioned above, giving you higher energy levels and forcing your body into presenter mode as you stand up straight and tall. 

If you cannot stand up and have to sit down, position yourself like you’re a newsreader – don’t slouch or shy away, scream confidence in your body language.

It’s been scientifically proven that when you slouch over, you compress your lung capacity which, in turn, reduces the amount of oxygen in your brain – so not only will it convey an element of timidness, it’ll also stop your brain from working in all its glory!

Sit or stand up straight – think better, feel better.

Use a chat moderator

The best piece of advice we can give to avoid distractions and give you an otherwise flawless virtual delivery, is to use a chat moderator and turn off/hide chat whilst you’re delivering. 

As soon as you hear those chats come through, you are distracted and you might not think it does… but it shows. From an eye darting across the screen (remember we can see you close up these days) through to you stumbling over a word. Even worse, when you forget what you were saying and the dreaded ‘dead air’ happens. 

A moderator, however, can help you monitor the chats. Their sole responsibility will be to reply to any quick questions like ‘will we be sent the slides?’, to post any links to things you reference, engage with your audience generally and even to collate the bigger questions and present them back to you at the end. 

If you do ask people to get involved in the chat then don’t let it fall to silence. Read out the questions, answers or chats you’re receiving – don’t assume everyone’s reading the chat just because you are. Reference people by their name to engage them further and to let them know you’re addressing their comment. Another engagement opportunity!

 

Know Your Virtual Speaking Technology

Nothing kills the flow faster than a host who fumbles with the technology. It was funny at the beginning, but if you don’t know how to screen share over 200 days into a virtual working lockdown… then there’s a larger problem at hand!

Consider this a performance, but without the opportunity to do more than one take – you’d learn your lines, your directions… right? Now do the same, but your technology.

A practice run is essential so that not only are you comfortable with the platform you’re presenting on and all it’s many buttons, but so you know, in advance, if anything is glitching out. At least if you know the Q&A function, or the second camera isn’t working you can steer clear of it in your delivery and try something you know does work. 

And to really help you out, try and involve a co-host, moderator or producer to support you. They can be in charge of admitting people into rooms, sharing certain slides, clicking certain buttons… all of this taking one less stress of your shoulders so you can deliver beautifully and confidently.

Ultimately, you should just have fun – if you’re having fun, it will be a better experience for all involved. Audiences connect to authenticity, so just be yourself. 

Let your personality and humour shine through, and set yourself goals to get people smiling and involved.

Really, all of this boils down to knowing your stuff in advance of your live delivery. Knowing your stuff will mean you’ll be brimming with confidence, providing a stellar experience for your audience and delighting them in every which way. 

Who wouldn’t want their virtual speaking personality to be that of ‘oh, they really know what they’re doing!’?

Where possible, always look to evaluate and improve your performance. Perhaps you could record your session and play it back to look for things you could work on next time? Maybe you could ask for feedback from your guests? Either way, make sure you look for strengths as well as areas of improvement.

Remember, whether you are presenting in-person or virtually, to a few people, to thousands of people, all presentations are performances

Your audience’s time is valuable, so pay tribute to that by delivering the best virtual experience you can. No matter what kind of talk, show or presentation you are giving, try to find ways to create authentic audience connection, engagement, and value from the experience. 

 

And if you fancy learning even more about how you can be a fantastic speaker, host or presenter then join us on the 26th November to become Virtually Perfect – we’ll be covering all five pillars of virtual content.

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