Public speaking is a powerful tool for business leaders to have in a business setting. With the switch to virtual meeting platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and GoToMeeting, business leaders need to adjust and acclimate to virtually communicating with your team. Every business leader has the ability to be a great public speaker in virtual meetings and presentations – but it can just take some getting used to.
5 Virtual Public Speaking Tips (from Allison Shapira)
Do you want to improve your public speaking tips in virtual meetings presentations? As a business leader, you should always strive to improve your communication with others during meetings and presentations. Here are five virtual public speaking tips from Allison Shapira.
Allison Shapira, is a former opera singer, a current Harvard lecturer, a best-selling author, and the Founder/CEO of Global Public Speaking, a communication training firm that works with emerging and established leaders to help them speak clearly and concisely in their meetings, pitches, and presentations – both in person and virtually.
Tip #1: Speak your points out loud in advance.
For each meeting agenda item, formulate what you’d like to say in advance and read it out loud to yourself. So often, we keep everything up in our head, and, when we finally speak the words out loud, they come out as a stream-of-consciousness ramble that confuses our meeting attendees and prevents them from taking action.
Tip #2: For virtual meetings, raise your camera lens to eye level.
By now, we all know to speak directly into the camera instead of looking down at the screen when we communicate virtually. The next step is to make sure your camera lens is at eye level so you can keep your posture tall and project your voice effectively.
Tip #3: Pause and breathe before you speak.
With back-to-back video meetings and calls, we tend to rush from one meeting to the next without centering ourselves. When we as the leader appear frazzled and disorganized, it has a distracting effect on the entire meeting. Before each meeting, pause and breathe for a few minutes. Think about why that next meeting is important and remind yourself why you care. Those few minutes of mindfulness will allow you to be more present and as a result, more impactful in your next meeting.
Tip #4: Cut content and add engagement.
In virtual meetings and presentations, we need to focus more on engaging our audience instead of just delivering information. Cut the amount of material you would normally present and, instead, add open-ended strategic questions to engage meeting participants and gather valuable buy-in. But be specific about how people can answer the questions: direct them to use the “raise hand” or “chat” feature in the video conference platform you’re using to speak up so that you don’t have that awkward rush of people talking at once.
Tip #5: Give others a chance to speak up.
Our instinct is to jump in and answer a question or provide direction when needed as a business leader. However, leadership involves empowering others to speak up as well. When a question is asked, solicit feedback from others on the video conference before jumping in with your own solution. You might find unexpected ideas that spark more creative thinking.
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We hope these tips will help you lead meetings in a virtual setting and effectively communicate with members of your team using video conference platforms. Keep these tips in mind while preparing for a meeting, and during the meeting.