Public speaking is scary. When you add video conferencing to the mix, things can get even scarier. Not only do you have to talk to people--you also have to manage, at the very least, the issue of how to present yourself on camera. If you're intent on presenting something people will respond to, you'll also probably have visual supplements (charts, graphs, pictures) incorporated into the proceedings. This can feel overwhelming. But there are things you can do before and during your presentation to pull it off. Here are a few suggestions.
The Art Of Looking
As video conferencing is meant to accurately mimic a face-to-face meeting, the first thing you will need to do to prepare for your presentation is figure out where your eyes should be landing. This can be especially tricky when you are simultaneously addressing colleagues in the conference room and people via video. You should practice your presentation until you are comfortable shifting your attention from the camera to your live audience and back again. Bring everyone into the fold with your gaze. Remember: they are all there with you. Some of them are just more there than others. Pay equal attention to both groups.
Audiences don’t always know what they want from a presenter at a conscious level, but they are definitely fully aware of things that don’t quite seem right. One of those things is a presenter who seems ill at ease with technology. If you’re constantly bending down to fiddle with a keyboard or mouse to summon your media to the screen, you will be projecting a flustered vibe along with whatever images you eventually call forward. Using a remote control like the one that comes packaged with StarLeaf Conference Room solutions enables you to orchestrate your presentation with subtle skill and confidence, and your audience will notice that, even if they don’t know they’re noticing that.
The tricky combination of nerves plus the desire to be an engaging speaker can compel presenters to flit and flail about like a dimestore Al Pacino. Such passion might wow the audience sharing a room with you, but when people are watching you on a screen, you’ll want to tone down the physical pyrotechnics. The subtleties of your movements will be lost in a bodily blur, and your enthusiasm could very well carry you outside the camera’s reach, leaving your video audience staring at an emptiness where you should be. Take it down a notch and speak calmly and forcefully while standing still. Save the dancing for later.
Unless something truly horrible happens, there is no way you will forget to breathe while you are speaking during a presentation. The body is cool that way. However, the quality of your breathing can play a large part in just how effectively you communicate. Have you ever felt like you were talking way too fast while speaking in public? Like your nerves were forcing you to speed through sentences as if they were deadly traps? This is a common problem. It’s got a simple solution though: pay attention to your breath. That’s it. Take a breath every couple of sentences. This will not only slow down your presentation, thereby allowing people to actually absorb the content of your speech, but it will also relax your mind and body, making you a calmer and more confident speaker.
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