Do you have virtual presence? Can you capture and engage an audience in an online presentation or a virtual meeting? Navigating your way through a virtual setting is not quite the same as a face to face meeting, and now more than ever you need to know the tactics to help you raise your ‘game’.
Presentation Pro’s Lynne Breil and Christina Butler will help you exude confidence and credibility while delivering a virtual presentation from wherever you are. Winning the next assignment, influencing others, or proposing an idea in a virtual platform is important whether you’re a leader or an individual contributor. Learn to how to put your best face forward … in a virtual setting.
Lynne Breil is a “Manners Maven” and has been spreading the gospel about ‘people skills’ in the workplace for over 25 years. She is the founder of The Professional Edge, Inc., is a Certified Speaking professional, and a Certified Virtual Presenter. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Communications at York College of Pennsylvania. She is the author of two books, Best in Class: Etiquette and People Skills for Your Career (2018), and Making the Grade: Presentation Success from Classroom to Conference Room (2019). A former Miss America Semi-Finalist, Lynne is a sought-after speaker on the topics of business etiquette, presentation skills, and leadership presence. She’s a trained concert pianist, a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, and an avid golfer.
Christina Butler transitions 20 years of covering breaking news as a reporter and anchor into professional coaching on presentation skills, development and media management. As a speaker, she uses her expertise in impression management, relationship building, and media coaching to help our clients in a variety of industries. Virtually, Christina enjoys connecting with clients and audiences on best practices for virtual engagement and presence. She is a contributing author for Best in Class: Etiquette and People Skills for Your Career (2018) and Making the Grade: Presentation Success from Classroom to Conference Room (2019). When she is not speaking or on television, Christina enjoys spending time outside with her husband and two children.
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Virtual Exposure – The Power of Presenting Cybernetically
Hi everyone, and welcome to today’s webinar, Virtual Exposure: The Power of Presenting Cybernetically, Hosted by HRDQ and presented Lynne Breil and Christina Butler.
My name is Sarah, and I will moderate today’s webinar. The webinar will last around one hour. If you have any questions, please type them into the question area on your GoToWebinar control panel, and we’ll answer as many as we can during today’s session.
Today’s webinar is sponsored by HRDQ Assessment Center. The assessment center consists of 38 online assessments that deliver soft skills training to transform your workforce.
HRDQ assessments are informative and powerful learning tools for employees at all organizational levels, with the ability to complete assessments from any location on any device at any time, learn more at www.HRDQstore.com.
I’m excited to introduce our presenters today, Lynne Breil and Christina Butler.
Lynn is a manners maven and has been spreading the gospel about people’s skills in the workplace for over 25 years.
She’s the founder of the Professional Edge is a Certified Speaking Professional and a Certified Virtual Presenter.
She is also an Adjunct Professor of communications at York College of Pennsylvania.
She’s the author of two books Best in Class: Etiquette and People Skills for Your Career and Making the Great Presentation Success from Classroom to conference room.
a former Miss America Semifinalists. Lin is a sought-after speaker on the topics of Business Etiquette, presentation skills, and leadership presence. She’s a trained concert pianist at the end of the Philadelphia Eagles and an avid golfer.
Cristina transitions 20 years of covering breaking news as a reporter and anchor into professional coaching and presentation skills, development, and media management.
As a speaker, she uses her expertise in impression management, relationship building, and media coaching to help her clients in a variety of industries.
Virtually, Christina enjoys connecting with clients and audiences on best practices for virtual engagement and presence.
Is a contributing author for the best in Class Etiquette and People’s Skills for your Career and Making the Great Presentation Success From Classroom to Conference Room. When she is not speaking or on television, Christina enjoys spending time outside with her husband and two children. Thank you for joining us today lending, Christina.
Thank you, Sarah. We are so excited to be here. You’ll hear more from Lynn as we go on, but, Sarah, I love that right off the bat.
You mentioned how people can connect and communicate with us by using that questions drop down menu bar, because one of the very first things that Lynn and I like to do is ask this question: We want you to think about how comfortable you are with your virtual presence on a scale of 1 to 10. Think about that number and get ready to type it over to us, Chat with us in that questions, dropped on the drop-down menu.
one means, you need help. Help me. I feel like Miss. What I have to go virtual and communicate with my web camera on 10 rockets. I’m good, I’m comfortable, let us know. And Sarah Lynn and I will look at some of the answers that you’re sharing with us. Where do you fall in that 1 to 10 scale? Take a moment, jump over there, and let us know.
Christina, I am seeing fives and sixes and sevens and eights, primarily.
5, 6, 7, 8.
That’s what I’m seeing primarily. Maybe a four here, and there may be a nine, but it seems that they’re falling right, in that 5, 6, 7, 8, area. Kinda in the middle, and take away the eight?
There’s another six, so, OK, well, thank you, and Link. We’ve been asking people this for the past 7, 8 months. When we talk about virtual presence, those numbers, they sound pretty much consistent with what we, what we hear people are in that four, or 5, 6 range, when it comes to their comfort level. And really, it makes sense, when you think about it. And when we ask people, why are you at that mid-level, why aren’t you 100%? Why aren’t you a 10? When it comes to your comfort level, we hear things like this: technology platforms. I can’t read body language bad, lighting, slow internet. I can understand tone. I don’t know if my tone is coming across the same way virtually that it does face-to-face. We also hear this.
Well, let me ask you, how many times have you been on a virtual meeting? Can you hear me? Can you hear me, it’s the phrase, I’m 20 20, we hear about difficulties and concerns like lag, time and how that impedes our communicating when we’re virtual interruptions distractions.
So many of us are working from home. We have kids. We have pets, maybe their spouses, roommates that we’re sharing a space with. That’s there when we talk about virtual worries and concerns, virtual fatigue.
Sometimes tired of communicating virtually at this point, also, problems sharing documents that goes back to those technical problems. So it makes sense why people might not feel at a 10 with their virtual with the virtual presence.
Was talking to a good friend of mine, not too long ago. And she said she always thought she had a fear of public speaking, she’s got the sweats, she said, You know, I really would kinda start to blackout right before she had to speak in public. But, she says, the past couple of months of daughter that, Really, she has a very private speaking to.
She can be all alone in her home office, and she gets nervous.
She gets that stage fright, even when it’s just her, because, again, all those concerns we just mentioned, they all come into your virtual presence.
This is why we put this program together.
We want you to feel confident in your virtual exposure. And with your virtual presence, we put this program together to talk about the things we can control when we’re virtual. Here’s what, the next 50 minutes or so, the next 50 minutes, we’ll spend together. Looks like. We came up with an acronym for this program. We love acronyms. That makes it nice and easy to remember.
So, me, visual, the acronym is base. These stands for Visual Interaction. How will we interacting virtually see content?
How are we making our content fit the virtual category and the virtual communication style? Engaging images. Here, we’re talking about anything that you are projecting on-screen. That is not your face.
So this is what we’ll go over today. And, again, if you have questions, as we go through these topics, please jump on over and put them under that questions drop down menu, and we’ll make sure that we answer them at the end of the program.
I want to jump right into visual. I’ll talk about visual. Then we’ll jump in and talk about interaction content. I’ll wrap up with engaging images. But let’s start by talking about visual.
And, you know, when we say visual, sometimes people say, well, does that mean what? you know what I look like? No! I want to be clear. our visual and our virtual presence attractive, NIST level It’s our appearance.
What does our appearance say about us as a professional?
I mentioned, Sarah mentioned that I have a deep background in television news, so many, many, many times. I was inside a studio. Everything was controlled, the doors were locked, I had professional lighting, nothing was going to distract me, or get in my way from doing my job and presenting my message clearly. Other times, I got thrown out on the street, and this is my visual.
Nobody was paying one bit of attention to what I was saying. When this happened to me Live on air, my message was completely lost. I could have been telling my viewers at home aliens had just landed and were about to invade their homes. Nobody would have paid attention to my message because my visual was so distracting.
Now, hopefully, you’re not doing your job out on the street like this, And Mother Nature isn’t messing with you.
But there are still some things that pop up when we’re virtual, that have to do with our visual image, that we can take up a notch. We can take them up a notch, or at least give ourselves a self-assessment and say, where are these working for me?
I want to go over three things.
And to do this, I use this guy here. He looks like a mark to me, so I call him marquees our model. What he has going for him in that visual part of our virtual presence is that he’s well lit. We can see his face very clearly; he’s not shadowed key is at eye level and he appears to be making eye contact with us and his background is not distracting us. Those are the three things we’ll talk about.
I’m going to talk about the first thing, lighting. Lighting. Now, this is extreme, but it’s what we call the witness protection. Look, it does happen, again, this is extreme. Maybe you’ve been on a virtual meeting, and you see the two women in the lower part of your screen there, and the bottom, they have that witness protection look.
It’s because our web cameras are simply not high-tech enough to balance out a large light source behind us.
So a lot of times we might have our computer setup and behind us is a large window, or any size window, really, depending on the amount of sun and how sunny days outside. We have a window behind us. The web camera can’t filter that light out. So we look shadowed, we look like this, that’s what happens.
Here’s the easy fix to it. Here’s the good news, it’s really easy to fix this that you’re looking at on your screen right now.
This is just maybe moments apart, and the only change is a shift and the computer or the electronic device that has her web camera.
In that first picture there, there’s a large window behind her. We can’t see your face by simply shifting hold her computer where her web camera was.
Suddenly we can see her face, and you can see it so clearly there.
Now, maybe you’re lucky enough to have a great, big window that you can put behind your computer that you can face and get that beautiful, natural lit look. But if you don’t, this has done wonders for me. For so many people who are working from home and have to really re-arrange their space. It’s a selfie light. When we first went Virtual, back in March, I had to borrow one from my niece because she used to use it to take selfies with her and her friends. Just called a ring light and you can go to your local store, do an Amazon search for a ring light or a selfie light, and, you know, I’ll give you an example here of what mind can do. So right now, my light is on, OK, it’s a $20, $25 investment that I made with my light off. Do you see the shadows, and it’s even worse at different parts of the day?
But just that light helps make my face and my expressions clearer.
And, again, that’s what we’re looking for when we’re virtual.
We still want those clear expressions.
We want those clear expressions, because we want to come as close as we can to emulating or imitating face-to-face contact and that eye contact that we get. And when I know you’ve played around, and if you want to jump in here at any point and add anything, please let me know. But when we talk about eye contact, one of the things we need to know before I contact is, Are we at eye level.
Here’s a before and after.
I was told not eye level.
High level is important too, and I was gonna mention about that, the lighting, because it being a professor and doing a complete semester virtually. I will tell you; I had a lot of witness protection students in my class. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t in the witness protection program, so I’m presenting in a basement this is our lower-level conference room in our office. I have happened to have a halo of light, which is the same as just shining a light right on your face, and it does make a big difference. So we made a small investment in that end.
Now, I don’t look like in the, I’m in the witness protection program, so it is good to check your lighting and see how you come through. And so good, good. Good suggestions on that. And then I know I’ll give it back to you because I level is another thing.
You know, I had a lot of students who decided that they would attend class in a horizontal position. Well, then, then, it looks like they’re not really engaged, And I did question that, So I’ll let you take over from here.
And what do you want to tell us about creating that eye level interaction, which is so important, virtually, as a presenter?
Sure. And drawing on your example of being in the class, and your role as a professor. When you’re face-to-face with those students, you need that eye contact with them to keep them engaged.
That carries over when we’re dealing with colleagues, with other people on our team. We want that eye contact. Even when we’re not face-to-face, we can get it. If, first, we make sure that we are at eye level, Again, an example here on your screen is obvious, no icon, no eye level. You know, to, I love about what a difference it can make this like. By the way, who here looks good at that angle? I am yet to meet somebody who looks good, not at, with that up the nose angle.
That, when we’re talking about eye level, this is the best way to get it. We’re looking for that first image, you see right there, we are straight on with the camera, or straight on with the camera. With a web camera. That means that we’re looking directly at the camera, or we’re just below it.
And that gives that feeling of establishing eye contact, no laptops, iPads, they are the worst offender by far of that. Up in the nose. Look because they fit low.
So what do we do? We, we tilt the screen back so we can see it in that it that gives you the up the nose.
Look, so they do make devices for that to make sure that you’re not giving that up the notes. look, they do make devices like that. You see them on your screen.
But here’s a cheap. This is just as effective, get some books, and stack them under your laptop or your device to raise them. It gets you an eye level, so then you can establish that eye contact. And when I know, you’ve also heard a lot of questions from people that they want to know. Tell me more about. Eye contact, my virtual, what does that mean when my web cameras on? Where do I look? Do I look at the dot that’s lit up by my camera? What if I want to look at my screen? What if I want to look at my notes?
Here’s what I’ve learned, from two decades in television.
Treat the camera, like a person.
So if Lynn and I are in a meeting, and it’s a face-to-face meeting, there are 10 people in the room, but I’m just looking at Lane Inland. I’m staring straight into your eyeballs and I I am not blinking. I’m looking just like this the entire time when we’re face to face. How does it make you feel? I’m not looking away. I’m staring straight into you.
It’s creepy. Crazy, right? You’re thinking backup. That’s how we can treat our web cameras.
We want to reference them. We want to make that eye contact with our camera at the beginning of, say, our meetings, at the beginning of important presentations, when we have very important points, and when we’re closing our meeting.
But otherwise, feel free to look into the web camera, but glance around, look at your screen, connect with your video gallery, scroll your video gallery, look at your notes, get your notes out. It’s OK to look away. That’s what we mean by eye contact.
Yeah, and it’s, we say this, too, when we give presentations face-to-face, I know this is about virtual, but many of us have had a lot of experience giving virtual presentations. I’m sorry, giving face-to-face presentations, and we always say, you know, lock into that audience. There’s nothing wrong. First of all, with using Notes No one faults you for that. Now, when things and you know less about your subject, matter, when you use notes, but knowing when to, to look at the audience, when you’re making that important point, when you want to bring them in, to engage them in discussion. And even, particularly I’ll say this, Christina, at the end of your program, when you’re taking questions, don’t be packing up your stuff or in a virtual platform. You don’t be shoving your notes together, looking down through technology. You know, look at that camera for engagement to let your listeners, your audience, know that you are listening to them.
Don’t look like you’re getting ready to leave, right? It really does, is that it shows that confidence.
You’re conveying that confidence in your virtual image by saying, Here I am, here’s my eye contact, thanks, Lynn, for adding that in, and again, if you have questions more specific about eye contact, please jump over to that questions bar, put them in there, and we’ll circle back to them at the end of our program.
We’ve talked about lighting; we’ve talked about eye contact eye level.
I do want to talk about background, too, because our background is also about us. It sends a message about us, and suddenly, in this virtual world, we’re getting this peak into each other’s homes that maybe we never saw before. It used to be. You’d walk up to somebody’s desk and maybe use the picture, frames on their desk, and that was the closest or most intimate you got with their personal life, now we’re being let into each other’s homes so naturally we’re curious, and we check out people’s surroundings.
So we wanted to make sure that our backgrounds is putting us in a professional light.
I show this picture here, not only because home alone is one of my favorite movies. Who doesn’t love it?
It’s, it’s, it’s a fun holiday movie, but I put this here, because I was watching a documentary recently, and it was with, the set designer was featured at one point, and they were talking about building the set and the detail that went into the set. As far as the colors they used.
I will watch the movie differently Now, knowing that everything from the wallpaper to the paper plates to the bedding was color coordinated.
using red and Green, because it gave us that some subliminal background messaging to get in the holiday spirit.
The same way Hollywood producers use their background to help with that subliminal messaging. We can do that, with our backgrounds.
We can make sure that anything we have on display is relevant to our message or our professional image.
I know that there’s been a lot of talk about virtual images.
And, Lynn, I’ll put this up here and I’ll ask you, what, what is your take on virtual images to work around?
Be careful and eat your environment. If it is professional, then let your virtual background beat professional to. not everyone gets it when you decide to put the palm trees behind your head and the leaves are swaying use if you have on a loose to pay.
So, and by the way, I, Christina, before we go onto the next slide away, your face backgrounds, I did want to address one question on eye contact, but this is all about visual.
So that’s my word on visual backgrounds. Be careful. Not everybody likes the fancy visual background. Some of them are good, some of them are not. You can tell us why.
They, they are because they’re distracting exactly what you said. Maybe they’re OK for a happy and virtual happy hour with friends or you know, a team meeting where it’s the company culture in certain meetings or events. To use a fun virtual background, I know my sister-in-law’s company every Friday four o’clock. Now, they have a virtual happy hour together. And they have this team competition, going to see who can have the funniest Bakradze. That’s one thing, that’s not what we’re talking about.
We’re talking about when you are being professional and when you are communicating with, again, with clients, with managers, with employees. We want to be careful of what our virtual background says.
Now, that being said, when I wouldn’t be lying, if I said that at no point in the last seven months, has this area been a total mess behind me? I have two young children. I have a husband who likes to drop jackets whenever he walks in the door.
You know, I think there is empathy, and certainly understanding when you have to use a virtual background now, sometimes a virtual background is better than your real background, and people do understand that and there’s empathy for it. We just want to make sure it’s professional. That’s our takeaway here.
The other caveat with virtual backgrounds is they really, they can, it goes back to that web camera thing, that our web cameras are not high-tech enough to balance out the light. And sometimes, you might end up looking like this. This was, this was me. Again, live on TV, when at the last minute, A producer asked me to front something to, to report on something in front of the green screen. I believe it was traffic. Well, it’s a green screen, I was wearing a green dress. That’s what happened to get. Nobody was paying attention to my message, or my traffic report that morning, because I looked like a floating head. The same thing can happen with our virtual backgrounds. We become that floating head, or that blob, so we want to make sure that if we’re using them, it’s professional, and our lighting is there.
Know, and I mentioned that some of us may be struggling a little bit.
If we are in a If we’re in that, that work from home situation, we have to work from home, but we’ve got family members, or, you know, we’re living in a shared space.
Maybe you don’t have a full home office.
I use this as an example to say you can make any space look professional and put your message.
This is my friend of mine. Her name is Missy Mathews. She’s a reporter. She landed her dream job, and she is the official reporter for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL team.
And back in April, she was covering the NFL draft, of course, that she had to do that virtually. They couldn’t be altogether. So, I happened to be flipping through and I saw it and I sent her a text message, and Missy, you look great. Your lighting is, great.
You know, I love the background and she wrote back when she was off the air and she laughed, and she said the out. If you haven’t looked closer, you would have seen that that was actually a corner of my kitchen. And that’s my bar cart. And sure enough, I had to go and google a picture. I, you know, I still frame from her report. And if you look down at the bottom there, those are wineglasses.
That’s a bar chart that she used in the corner of her kitchen to somehow give the message, I’m an NFL reporter, but it works, it works, it can be effective. That’s what we’re talking about when we say background.
And you really, just a couple of tweaks, can make it look professional. Now, I want to wrap up talking about background. Again, please feel free to jump in if you’re seeing anything you’d like us to directly answer now before we move ahead or if you would like to add anything to this. But when we talk about background, I’ve got a couple of things here.
Headspace, now that we know what our background is and we’re well lit.
We want to make sure that we’re framed in a way that emphasizes and puts us in our best lap.
The way to do this, again, this is another TV trick when we talk about Headspace.
That means how much of our head is filling the picture, OK?
And we want to take our fist and we just want just about a fistful on top of our head justifiable on top of our head.
If we have multiple, if I could keep stacking my fist, that means I need to get closer to the camera. If I can’t even fit one finger in, that means I’m too close. So we want to have just about one on top of our head, and we want to sit an arm’s length away from our computer. So right now, I’m holding my arms. Right out and my fingertips are just barely touching my monitor.
That gives us the best headspace that we have there. We talked about the objects. I just showed the example of the NFL reporter who use some strategically placed objects to emphasize her message.
We get to our last point here, which is dress.
And Lin, you mean nobody’s talking here about to say, don’t wear yoga pants under, you know, from the waist down. That’s not what we’re talking about with dress. That’s not what we mean.
What we mean is pay attention to the colors and the patterns and distracting jewelry.
Solid colors, dual tone, specifically. Look best on web cameras. They flatter you, because of the light, but, again, that what it all goes back to that web camera to really, really, really bright white.
Bright, reds are blacks, will mess with your Web camera. Now, maybe you’re thinking, Christina, aren’t you wearing red?
Lind, does this look read to you today?
It does look red to me, but it’s not it’s not read it. Or if it was bringing a true read, it would really the web camera would work so hard to focus on that red.
I would look drawn out, Pale, maybe a little bit pixelated. But we want to stay away from reds, whites, blacks.
Instead, we want to go for those dual tone. Those Deep Blues, Lynn, what you’re wearing right there. Those deep blues are always a very solid choice. Now, that should have a matching mud to an emerging mug. Of course, we’re fully coordinated. But let your dress, well that’s a great color to write. What we recommend, a deep, blue, for a web camera.
If you were sitting in my chair and the camera was tilted a little bit more against that blue wall, you’d look like a floating head.
Exactly, yes and I mean, I know you know the television angle because you lived and breathed that and still do. And that’s something to remember just because your background is blue, that doesn’t mean pick the same shade of blue for your attire, because you will look like a floating head.
You will. And I remember being so excited in my reporting days, my very early reporting taste, because I had, I got this fantastic white suit and I was, I think it was J crew. I was very excited. I was very excited about it. Fit perfectly, I loved it.
I felt so confident in it, And I were to work. And we are out in the field, and my photographer was so mad at me. He said, Christina, you can never wear that again. Because white in cameras, don’t mix, it has to work too hard, and you’re face looks blown up.
Now, that was with a $30,000 professional television, piece of equipment camera, so if that can’t do it, what can our webcam on that, it can’t work nearly that hard?
Those are the things that we want to keep in mind. We’re talking about dress also, busy patterns, you know, I love a good pattern. But if I’m presenting virtually, they have to stay in my closet.
I don’t want to distract my audience with a blurry pattern.
That’s what we mean by that. I’m gonna jump into here, too, because gentlemen, if, you know, I know a lot of us, no longer were neckties. But in in a gentleman’s world, if you are wearing a necktie for presentation, that background becomes even more important. You would not believe how much the busy patterns tend to interfere. I know better I choose solid colors but even textured fabric, sometimes waves around like a virtual background, And Christina, I know you’re wrapping up on visuals.
I did have a question when you are ready before you go on to vocal about eye contact.
Do you want to take that now? Absolutely, OK, this was interesting to avoid reading slides. Do you recommend teleprompters to seem more natural, in the presentation? And you’re the teleprompter expert. You probably have an opinion on this. So, I’ll let you have this question.
If it’s a teleprompter, teleprompter, where you know, maybe you have an iPad that you can turn into a teleprompter if it is going to be placed next to your computer. So, in other words, here’s your Web camera and you’re using a second device as your teleprompter over on away from the web camera.
Absolutely not, Lynn. I’m reminded of when I was, I was guest teaching for huge. I joined one of your virtual classes with your students.
And they were giving reports and it was very clear which students had typed their notes out and taped them to their screen. Because they were talking like this, well, that maybe their content sounded great. Their flow, because they were reading word for word and they had a script, but it was too distracting. I knew they were reading away from the screen. They weren’t making that connection.
That said, if it’s a teleprompter app that you can put on your screen, sure, play around with it as long as you’re comfortable.
I think from a presentation standpoint, though, the best advice is always know your content and know your content, bullet points, bullet points, Scripting it out.
Word for word and a teleprompter is asking for disaster because you trip up one word and, you’re gone, the better goal here, if you have the time, The better goal is to really get a good handle on your content. Know it inside and out and have bullet points that are written down, that you can address. You can look away and look at your bullet point and come back to the camera.
So, I hope that answered the teleprompter question.
Yes, and there was another prompt, teleprompter question, not, teleprompter, question a question about eye contact. I’ll quickly answer because this answer is the same in face-to-face presentations as it is in virtual presentations, in a group. And the question was, when the when There are two of you, or three of you, where should you be looking when you’re not talking?
And I want you to remember that you do what you would want your audience to do, which is look at the presenter and look at the slides. I have to remember that because there are two of us, and so, primarily, I’m looking at Christina’s screenshot, and I’m looking at the slides when I’m not presenting.
Nope, that, absolutely that, that’s a great answer there. Thank you for these questions. Thanks, Lynn, for, for letting me know they were coming in. And thank you to everyone in the audience for asking them. Please continue, we want to make sure we’re answering all of them. So please continue to jump over there, and questions, and let us know what other questions.
Yeah, we will wrap up visual with this, and I know this is the V, and advice is visual. But I can’t move on completely, and hand it over to you, Lynn, without making a couple of brief points about vocal.
Here’s why. Vocal is important face-to-face, and when we say vocal, we mean the sound of our voice, the way our voice out. That’s what we mean by vocal.
Not the actual words are saying that the sound of our voice face to face, it’s important. What does our voice sound like?
Virtually, it’s even more important. Here’s why I’ll run through a list of what we mean with vocal volume.
Again, Linh, if let and I are in a meeting, inland very soft-spoken. And she talks like this a lot.
You’re not, I know you’re not using this as an example, but if Linda very soft spoken at first face-to-face, I might really strain to keep up.
OK, you know, I might physically even do this at points, because I want to hear, I’m like, really put a lot of my energy into helping me hear you.
But after a while, it’s simply too much work. After a while, it’s simply too much work. And I will tune out and I’ll start making my grocery list in my head.
It’s, it’s the true extent, but it’s the truth when we’re virtual, again, more distractions when we’re virtual than when we’re face to face. So, it’s even worse. So, we need to make sure our volume is OK.
This is a simple as doing a pre: check, a pre mike check, so to speak. I’ve done Mike Jaxa again for 25 years. But we need to do those, Mike checks before important presentations are important meetings.
I’m going to attempt here. I went to see if you can tell and in Lynn, you can raise your hand if you can tell, but, you know, I want the audience to see another trick with volume.
This is another one of those $20, $25 investments that you can make if you’re virtual for the long haul. If you really want to take your presentation skills up a notch, so what I’m wearing here, it’s called a lava Leer, Mike, or a lapel microphone.
It plugs right into my computer again, $20, $25, and this is what it sounds like when it’s fine.
It sounds like this. This is using my built-in computer microphone, Lynn. Can you tell a difference there is picking up? I can tell the difference there. OK, so that’s the difference. And I’ve heard that sounds a bit more tinny, or more. Hollow.
I’ll switch back to this because I think there’s been sounds more pleasing, but the other thing that this does, related to volume, is it blocks out other noise. So if my cat starts singing the Song of Cat, meowing out in the hallway, a lovely Mike will filter that out. It only captures my voice.
So, that’s one thing. That we mean Volume when we’re virtual, the next thing these go together, trailing off and paste the same way, quiet speakers, we can’t keep up with them. We tune them out trailing off as the same.
If I talk and I have these great points with the NHS, nobody’s gonna listen to my great points anymore because I trail off.
So we want to make sure virtually, we’re not trailing off pace. We want to take our pace up. When we’re virtual, we need to have a little bit quicker, not so fast that we’re losing our audience and we still need to remember those pausing, but we want to we want to pay attention to what our pieces?
How does our pace sound to our audience, or energy or energy? This is what we do need to take up.
Again, when are virtual we have to fight those distractions, we do that by being energetic and engaging our audience.
We do that by putting energy in our voice, that’s what we’re talking about there. Now, when we’re talking about pacing and energy, that doesn’t mean we speed through our content.
You know, there’s a fine balance there, and we always have to remember to pause, to pause. This is important, face-to-face.
I am a fast talker, fast talker right here. When I first started in the TV business, yet, when I first started on the TV business, I spoke so fast. My news director pulled me aside. And he said, listen, we can’t retrain you. We can’t take your whole vocal style and retrain you to be a slow speaker. That’s impossible. It won’t see natural.
You sound like a robot if we forced you to talk out of your new normal speed. So instead, he said, Pause, you need to pause, to give your audience time to catch up. If you’re a quick talker, pause more again, especially virtually, because we’re dealing with all those distractions, give people a moment, pause, more when your virtual, the caveat here land, and I’m gonna, I’m getting ready to toss it back over to you, but the caveat here with pausing.
When you’re virtual, I like to give my audience a heads-up that I’m going to pause, because otherwise, did you breathe? Did I lose, or did she hit mute? So I like to say, I’m going to pause now and scan my gallery. I’m going to pause now and jump over to chat.
That’s the caveat with pause, pause, let your audience can help, but make sure you’re letting your audience know.
Lynn, I will, with that, you hand it over to you with interaction.
And when you think about interaction, it’s important to welcome your audience, and share your expectations right off the top, like the next screen, SES.
I loved your term, Christina, public speaking versus private speaking, and that’s, that’s a new one, and I love that, but let’s think about the virtual presentation. And one of the things that we always do, is, we sign on early, so that we can welcome people, as they come into the presentation, to virtual presentation of.
This can, can sound a little cheesy, and some people say, It sounds like Romper room is Dan. I see Day, I know Michelle ICU, Michelle Paul. Thanks for joining in all. Beth, I see that you joined us now. You know, what whether it sounds like a kindergarten class, or whether it sounds like Romper room, at least it lets people know that they’re welcome and that they won’t be ignored? And we smile and we try not to be distracted by technological problems because that brings upon frowns of our face on our faces and furrowed brows and we’re thinking, what are we going to do even in a live presentation?
We try to get everything set up before the first person enters the room. Think of it the same way. We don’t want to be huddled over a laptop when people are coming into the presentation room trying to scratch our heads figuring out, what are we going to do here?
So we try to get all that taken care of, and, and, you know, we, we set up ahead of time so that people know we’re ready for them, and we want them to be engaged, and they’re not going to be ignored. We also give our audiences ground rules, and ground rules can include, maybe, taking them through the type of technology that we’re going to use to keep it interactive. You know, don’t make the assumption, excuse me, that just because someone is of a certain age group, they’re automatically going to know the logistics of different platforms and technologies. That, that’s not true. I’ve found that out the hard way.
You know, as a professor, I had assumed that my students would be able to handle different platforms, different technologies, and not all of them did. And some of them had some issues with learning, a new platform, learning, learning, a new app, learning a new technology.
So, our ground rules that we put upfront, we maybe take our audience through. Look, you know, some of the, we have screenshots of pointing to a chat feature pointing to the annotation feature. In other words, what we’re letting them know is our expectations. Sometimes we even send an e-mail out ahead of time.
You can do this to let your participants know what you’re covering, and, for example, we just did virtual presentation last week.
Krystina calls that we told the participants in an e-mail that to select a device other than their mobile device, to tune into our meeting, because with a mobile device, some of the interactive tools do not work as well. So that’s what we do ahead of time.
one of the participants actually revealed to us in that presentation that he went out and bought a camera just for the purpose of that presentation, that training. Most of his meetings, his virtual meetings, up to that point, had been just Audible meetings. So, I was really proud of him.
But our ground rules also might include a quick check. Like I said, on how familiar with people are with interactive tools, and we tell them that we prompt them maybe to write things down.
We tell them when to break, when to expect a break, because people do want to know that. We tell them to maybe they might be using a handout, something physical that we sent them ahead of time. And one of the things that I do as a virtual presenter is I always duplicate the handout page on my projected slides now.
I might verbalize it as well, but I have it there so people know that when I go to a certain slide, they would turn to page 10 on their handout. Now, talk about interaction.
There’s a book called great webinars by Cynthia Clay. And in it she, she breaks down audience size and how it relates to learners.
So when it comes to interaction, let’s, let’s put up those numbers. Christina, I know you’re controlling this.
You have about 50 to 20 people on your virtual meeting. It’s an ideal size.
Probably, everyone’s going to stay engaged, 65 people, probably, you know, if you have interactive tools, they’ll still stay engaged.
But now, as the number gets higher, going towards 100, you’re going to have people that are going to be in and out of that meeting even higher still. Look at how it goes up to 50% of the people who are not going to be as engaged as you’d like them like them to beat. Now, these are heard numbers after doing some research. It’s worth taking a look at. It’s worth considering these numbers for yourself when giving a presentation, So, in other words, the higher the number, the easier it is, for people to become lurkers, not participants, no matter the numbers. We need to plan to engage regularly.
And that’s what I’m going to talk about in a face-to-face setting, were conditioned to look for a change every 10 minutes. Cynthia classes. The goal is not to maintain continuous engagement that to regularly re-engage and let’s just stay there.
I want you to think of television, and I should say, network, television, network, television, what happened every 8 to 10 minutes, we had a commercial break. And it is interesting that audiences are conditioned for that face-to-face audiences. in a virtual setting. It’s a little bit different, and I’m going to share those numbers with you on the next couple of slides.
Remember that lurkers need to be engaged, so let’s take a look at the next couple of slides.
Here it is, try to re-engage your virtual attendees every 3 to 5 minutes, so that’s OK. We can go to that slide, try to re-engage them every 3 to 5 minutes in any number of ways. You know, like I said before. Re-engagement might mean, maybe I didn’t say this before, I’ll say it now. Maybe this might mean a change in slides. Maybe this might be a change in topic. Maybe this might mean an interactive tool that you use.
A chat or an annotation of video clip EB, an audio clip, a poll change. I’d say, change in topic. I think I did change in case, might also re-engage them. You’ve seen us change our slides, and that’s one visual way to do that. Let’s talk about Pulse. Let’s go to a full, because we’re going to have a poll right now.
And I’d like you to, to share with us, then Sarah is going to open the poll and help us out, which platform tool will help you the most with interaction.
Give you a few moments here, just to say, submit your answer, and then we’ll share those results.
OK, great. And now I will share those results lending, Christina.
OK, it looks like, Lynn, I’m jumping in here. I can see it poll, taking the lead there, but two-way audio and chat pretty tied up at 26 and 27%.
You know, Christina, one of the things that we do, and we’re almost forced into doing this, is because in our face-to-face settings, we, we usually start out with some type of poll to, to encourage some questions later on in our presentation. And, and I say a poll, but it’s usually in a face-to-face setting, a quiz. And we’ve turned that into a poll for our audience in a virtual setting. And that whole might be 3, 4, 5, 6 questions that directly relate to the content that we’re going to share with them coming up. And it also gives you and me a chance to see how much they already know about the topics. So polls good! We’re I didn’t know what the answers would be.
I apologize. I jumped to your slide here limb but yeah, interesting there to see how close those poll numbers were.
And, you know, I want to talk a bit about encouraging questions and discussion in a virtual setting, where, you know, you can read body language face-to-face. You can’t do this virtually. So, one of the things that we always do is to use the journalists, five W’s when we ask our questions, who, what, when, where why. And I’ll add how when we need to bring participants into active discussion. Do it the way a reporter does it Contribute. Christina, you do this soundbite in an interview when asking a question, your journalists, five W’s. It’s a great way to re-engage instead of just asking a closed ended question, like, do you understand, or do you see the point here?
What do you think about the point, how many of you would like to try this? What can you tell me about how you’ve done it this way before? And so you see how the journalists, five W’s solicit more of an answer and re-engage people. There’s also two magic words that I love to use, even in a virtual setting, that’s tell me about your experience. Now, that in virtual turns into maybe a chat, me, what your experiences were, send me a question to answer, OK, well, that’s good, that’s encouraging questions. And discussion leads us to content, which is the next part of our acronym advice. And we’ve all heard about content, because that’s really what our audience is here for content, and we want to make sure that we fit our content into the timing.
No, it’s interesting because go under time, no one’s gonna fault you for it, go overtime and I’m looking at the clock, and boy, you’ll get all kinds of criticisms, virtual presenters. So remember, the key is to prioritize your information.
Prioritize your information. Know what you can skip. No, it’s Christina and I were just talking about this before our presentation in rehearsal, Christina was saying, well, maybe I can skip that slide. And I said, Yeah, don’t hide it. Just know that you can skip it on your, on your keyboard.
Say that if you need it, fine. If you don’t, you can skip over it.
Recall, the time when I was with a group of presenters, who were waiting in the conference, right outside of a conference room, of, of an organization, to present a SWOT analysis, strengths, weaknesses, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to managers. And one of their key contacts came out of the meeting room, and she was all out of breath, huffing and puffing, and she said, oh, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, guys. I know you had a 45-minute presentation ready, but we only have the conference room for 20 minutes, because the president of our company has a meeting scheduled there, and I’m sorry I couldn’t do anything about it.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, I thought I had a hospital ward on my hands, because this group did not have any idea what’s, what they would take out, what parts of the content were more important than others. So, this is something you can plan ahead of time. Know what parts of your presentation you can give up.
We hate to do that because we’re the presenters. And we think that it’s all great but know what parts we can give up or skip if time gets cut short.
Then, you go ahead, Christina.
I was going to jump in and say this is, you know, when you look at organizational structures, this is an important point that gets to knowing your audience. If you are going in front of, you know, the CEOs and the high-level managers at your company, they might want to get straight to the point. So, you need to be able to say, OK. This is how I’m going to jump straight to the point they want answered. You need to know what, you can drop, what you can keep in, and where to find it within your presentation, too.
Exactly. Now, let me share with you some other numbers about, percentage of time filled with plan content. Look, I don’t know how this happens kinda. Don’t know why it happens either, but for whatever reason, when you stand up to deliver content, it just automatically expands itself.
So for example, if you have planned a 60 minute presentation That’s just pure content targeted for about 45 minutes.
That is, rehearse it to 45 minutes, 75% of the time allotted, because trust me, trust me. It’ll expand itself.
If you have interactive content where you’re going to be chatting, holding, discussions, breakout rooms, then plan to talk with content about 50% of the time. And, you know, there’s good news and bad news here because audiences want to be engaged. There’s no question, but those activities are a time sponge, especially virtually.
Because of the lack of body language, again, means it’s harder to read our audience.
And we tend to overexplain, so conciseness is at the top, let’s talk about words. And go ahead and show conversational language.
Christina because I’m going to talk about two points conversational language and qualifiers before I go into how to start and how to end, conversational language is good.
It’s not like you’re reading an essay. I call it Kitchen Table. Conversation in one way to do that is to use personal pronouns. Instead of saying, some people wonder, you would say, you might be wondering. The other thing to remember is active voice.
Active voices, usually starting a quest, starting in a statement with a verb. Instead of saying, if you want answers to questions, send me an e-mail. No, no, no. That’s passive, voice, active voices. Send me an e-mail if you want answers to questions. And then the last one is about using contractions and contractions. No, unless it’s an international presentation where you want to slow down your speech, because your audience may not. The English may not be their first language, and when you slow down your speech, and do not use contractions, it is easier for them. I just used it there. It is easier for them to understand, but otherwise use construction contractions. It’s easier for them to understand.
And then let’s go on to the next one because the most important bookends of your presentation, or how to get started and how to end.
So started we call it a grabber because a grabber grabs attention and in a virtual presentation even more important is to grab their attention. So what, whatever type of virtual meeting presentation, open it in a way that grabs their attention, is there are some examples, a funny story. Be careful with humor, ladies and gentlemen.
When you have face-to-face, you have a little bit more licensed and humor. Virtual, you have to make certain that your humor is related to what you’re going to talk about in your presentation.
That parent walked into a bar story, might be hilarious in another setting, but unless it relates, it’s not going to work A thought provoking question, effect startling statistic, I like that, something that really, oh my gosh, I can’t believe that. And then it gets them thinking about what you’re going to say next. Even a motivational image, pictures are worth a thousand words. So that motivational image is something that hooks them into grabs their attention.
And find the right grabber, you ask your audience. You know how they can benefit from the grabber and how does it relate to your information? How does it relate to what they care about?
It’s also important to close virtually closed, just as not closed, virtually closed just as strongly as you started.
And, oh, what that means to us in a virtual presentation is to have the last words as a virtual presenter. And you don’t want to end your presentation with that question that you had a ramble and babble your way through.
So be ready with the statement that you can use after the last question that summarizes the benefits of what you told them might challenge them to do something, or maybe it’s something more inspirational, memorable.
The story that you told at the beginning, the humor that you used to put, put the rest of the story at the end. Maybe it’s the quote.
My son ended a presentation on computers when he was in the ninth grade about 15 years ago, with a quote from Bill Gates who said, Be kind to nerds.
Chances are, you’ll be working for one someday and we will. It was easy to find the quote, because I just said Patrick. Now, when people think of computers, who, what famous person do they think about? And he said, Bill Gates, and Google, Bill Gates quotes and that’s how we came up with it. So, as we transition, just transition back to Christina, excuse me, don’t forget the art of the start and the power of the close.
OK, thank you, Lynn, great information there talking about interaction and content, our last letter here, E, engaging images, and we said at the top of this program, when we, when we joined together about an hour ago, that engaging images means anything that’s not this, what are you sharing on your screen?
There are four main points to this.
Images versus text, our brains are wired to connect with image, frequent challenge.
That book that Lynn referenced, Great webinars by Cynthia Place, do you recommend that?
If you’re using an application like PowerPoint or anything that show slides, frequent changes, one change per minute.
So, a new slide, an animation, a slide, permanent, frequent changes, clear and concise.
Any visuals we’re using should enhance our audience’s understanding, not complicated, it should not complicate it.
And finally, remember not just to use images and powerful visuals for presentations you can use.
Like Lynn said, a motivational quote with an image at the start of a meeting, to get your team pumped up for something, they’re not just for presentations. When you talk about visuals, and you want to give you one example of what we mean about images versus text. I don’t know how many of you have ever tried to watch a movie with the closed captioning on. I have toddlers, and they frequently mess with our remote and closed captioning gets turned on.
We can’t turn it off and it’s frustrating, because our brains, it’s a battle. Do we watch, or do we read?
Do we want you to read? Do we read?
It’s hard for our brains to do two things consistently. That’s what happens when we throw a bunch of text on a visual that we’re sharing.
Our brains want to read it, but that blocks my voice out. So, if I would show you a slide like this, that’s what’s happening.
The alternative or recommended strategy here would be to have a clear, simple visual. Three out of four people have stage, right? Now that, that’s visual, visual is there, now I can support that message with my voice and my content. So we want to keep our visuals clear.
Here’s my favorite example of this to pull, like, I’m going to want to eat at this restaurant now. But I think this is so clever because it really hones in on what we’re talking about. When we say clear, concise, simple images that are powerful. We wanted to write about our, our locally sourced natural ingredients. But short billboard headlines are better. Our ingredients are better. It’s short. It’s concise to the point, and that is really what we want our images and our projections to do as well. And speaking of images, as we wrap up our time here, lend, here’s another one of my favorites, I’ve seen this a couple places lately and it reminds me of how I feel in this virtual world sometimes flying down a hill, arms out.
I have no idea of, I’m going to crash land, but I love this picture because this child is smiling.
So that’s our, our parting message before we ask for questions here is try and enjoy this virtual ride that we’re on. With that, Sarah, I will ask you to rejoin us, let us know if you have questions that we can answer right now. But I know also, Sarah, you, you let us know that we can follow up via e-mail and answer questions as well.
Yes. Self, you’re just going to type your questions into the question box, and we will get through, we might have time for 1 or 2 questions today.
And otherwise, we will add, got a written response from Atlanta and Christina posts that back on the event page for you to reference.
The first question we had is coming from Julie. And this is back when you were speaking about your webcam and visuals. And she wanted to know if you had any tips on how to resolve the glare on your, your glasses from light.
Yes, that’s a common problem, and thank you for that question. The first thing, the easiest solution is going to be to find blair of resistant glasses. They make those a lot of people in TV by those.
But if that’s not an option, look at where your lights are positioned.
If they’re very close to your computer and your camera, that’s when you’re going to get that light bulb look that glare in your glasses. It’s going to reflect more. So maybe try and see, OK, how far away can I move this light from my computer and my web camera where I’m still lit, but it’s not reflecting at all has to do with the light and where they’re placed.
Great. And the final question, then we’ll answer today, comes from Tracy. Tracy, I would like to know what tricks do you use to remember to look into the camera versus looking at the audience faces on the screen?
I’ll offer, Christina. You’ve had more on camera experienced and probably all 250 of us here today. Well, maybe, I don’t know. I’ll let you take that answer.
Sure. I want to make sure I’m understanding the question is how do you remember to look in the camera and not just at your audience.
Yeah, so, if you, say you were in like a Zoom meeting, and you had, you know, everybody’s faces were on camera, right? How do you remember to look directly into your camera rather than looking at everyone else that’s on the screen?
You’re making eye contact. Sure. Thank you, Sarah. I love this question, first of all, because we want people to be looking at their audience to. So, I like that, that there’s that concern there, Wait, I need to be checking in with my audience and engaging their reaction, or seeing who wants to add something or question. So I love that that part is there on a platform like Zoom, since that was the one that was mentioned.
Take that you can grab it and you can rework your screen on go to Webinar right now. I did it where you can move that gallery view to the top of your screen.
You can Google exactly how to do that. Each computer, your laptop, Mac, is different. But make sure your Gallery view, that image strip is pushed right up at the top of your screen.
In other words, it’s horizontal instead of vertical. On the side of your screen, you can grab and drag it up there, and that helps 10, because it’s just the subtle. I’m looking at Lynn. I’m looking at the camera. I’m working at Lynn. I’m looking at the camera. It’s right in the middle.
That is a natural reminder when it’s positioned right under the camera rate. And that will conclude today’s session, so I’ll hand it back to you both today, too, and you can conclude and wrap up your presentation today.
Thank you very much, Sarah, and I’ll speak for both of us right now. We were happy to share these virtual presenter tips with you, we know that with doing some of these things, it’s going to help you connect with others. It’s going to help you influence people and influence change and motivate others in your virtual message, so thank you again to HRDQ. Also, Sarah, we thank you as well.
Well, thank you, Christina. This was a wonderful session, and also thank you to our sponsor, the Assessment Center from HRDQ, Providing Informative and Powerful Learning Tools Online. Anywhere, anytime, Learn, more at www.HRDQstore.com. That is all the time that we have for today. Again, thank you for joining us today Lynne and Christina.
You’re welcome. Thank you, Sarah. Thank you so much.
And thank you all for participating in today’s webinar, happy training.
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