In light of COVID-19, public speakers of all types need to adapt to the global context.
In case you are a presenter or a public speaker and are needing to speak at a virtual event in the next few weeks or months and continue your work as a speaker online, some things will have to change. More specifically, the way you prepare or deliver the presentations which needs to be different than how you did in-person.
Below is the best and most helpful Info-graphic that I found courtesy of Bannersnack and below you will find many insights from public speaking experts on how to prepare for a webinar or a livecast as a speaker, tips on how to get ready before the presentation, what to do during the speech, and what to do after the presentation has ended.
Eventually, you will learn how to become a better speaker in this digital world we’re living in today.
The article is divided into three parts, and each one part is split into three small sub-categories that will help you get a better understanding of each section. For the sake of keeping the post somewhat shorter, we’ll talk about part 1 in this post.
Being prepared is key to making sure that you’ll be confident when giving your presentation. This is also going to help you get your point across in a transparent manner, without over-explaining things. Like Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” Become a better speaker by making sure nothing is left to chance.
1. Prepare yourself
The first thing you need to do before going online is to prepare yourself for what’s to come. If you are doing this for the first time, you need to acknowledge the fact that offline public speaking and online conferences are two different things.
In the first case, you don’t need to worry about the setup and everything around it because someone else will take care of that for you.
In the second case, which interests us today, you need to acknowledge everything around you and, of course, the event’s schedule, the Q&A session (if you plan to have one), etc.
Here are a few pieces of advice the experts have shared with me when it comes to preparation:
1.1. Prepare your voice (drink tea with lemon or honey)
Preparation is not only about the surrounding environment. When speaking to an audience, the most crucial part will be your voice. This means you need to keep your voice in good shape, and you can do it by staying hydrated. An excellent way to do this is by drinking lemon tea sweetened with honey. Honey is your best friend when you need to prepare for a speaking gig.
1.2. Check what’s behind you
Another essential step in your preparation is to make sure your environment is appropriate for the theme of your presentation. It would seem weird to be surrounded by teddy bears and talk about politics, wouldn’t it? Adapt the room you’ll use so it suits your speech and make sure there are no elements in there that might shift the focus of your audience—clean everything around you and hide anything that may seem out of place.
Practice is essential to anything we do, so practicing for virtual conferences is just as important.
Before practicing by yourself, however, I would recommend you to watch other speakers. Learn by watching the best speakers in your industry and by recording and watching your sessions. Work on your pauses. Play your strengths. You need to start consuming as much content as you can and, of course, watch anything related to what you plan to do.
At the same time, you can record yourself a few times, so spot your mistakes and do it all over again until you’re able to correct them and improve your speech.
1.4. Learn about your audience
This is the point where you start your adventure. You cannot address empty walls, nor will you be speaking to your family. This time, you need to focus on people. Be a great speaker and focus on the audience. Know what you want to achieve, know what you want to communicate, and understand who the people who would like to hear about your ideas are. Study your competitors, learn from them, adapt your speech to the people you want to gather around your personal brand.
1.5. Let your family know when you’ll have your presentation
This is also important since you don’t want to be disturbed during your live speech. If you don’t live alone, people may come in, and out of the room you’re in, make noises, and so on. No interference is welcomed here. Announce the people you are living with, whether it’s family or friends, that they should not disturb you during your presentation. Make it clear for them the date and hour.
1.6. Calendar check-in
This is also an essential part of your own preparation. You need to schedule your time minute by minute while making sure that your audience will be able to connect with you, especially if you have a Q&A session at the end of the speech. You can record your presentation and make it available for people who live in different time zones, but the Q&A must be available for your primary audience.
2. Prepare your content
The most important part of your speech is the speech itself. I am referring to the content of the presentation, which must be prepared in advance to avoid any hiccups or confusion. This part is crucial if you want to become a confident speaker.
How will you do this? Well, let’s find out together:
2.1. The presentation
The first thing you need to do is to write it down or type it on your computer. Make sure you get your point across fast and be careful not to get lost in hard to follow ideas. People need to be able to understand your message from the very first few minutes, so they don’t get bored and leave the online event. Get rid of all the unnecessary words in the presentation. Fewer words the better. When you attend an online event as a speaker, it’s nice to have something to present to the audience besides your speech. Visual aids will help you explain better what you want to say, so don’t hesitate to use them.
2.2. Killer titles and description
Whether you’re going to promote the online event you’ll be speaking at on your blog or social media platforms, it’s essential to do it in style. You can take care of this part by choosing catchy titles and descriptions that will convince more people to attend the event.
2.3. Create a how-to presentation
Of course, this piece of advice is only valid if the topic you’ll be discussing can use a how-to presentation. However, if you are, then make sure people can learn something practical and useful from you.
2.4. Create a script
Did you ever see or read a movie script? If you do, I know what I am talking about. If you didn’t, then you should know that a script features more than what you are going to say in front of the audience. You need to take into account minute by minute your movements, the environment, your gestures, and the intermissions, which images or videos to show, when, and why.
3. Prepare all your tech resources
There are a lot of good speakers out there. Some are struggling to gain popularity because they neglect this essential aspect: the tech resources, which include everything that helps you record a speech like a professional, including the technical production.
Check out this article to find out everything there’s to know about Virtual Events FAQs, or this article on technical recommendations for Virtual Event Webcasting. If this left you more confused, you can always hire a professional to produce your virtual event remotely, without even needing to be in the same place where you are.
3.4. Test before going live
Whenever you do something for the first time, testing is a necessary thing to do. Therefore, before going live for the first time, you should test your gear, your internet connection, and everything related to your presentation at least twice. Also, do the test a couple of hours before going live so that if anything wrong happens, you will have enough time to undo the damage and set you back on the right track.
3.5. Clean out any distractions
If you can, make sure you can make the presentation while standing, whether you do it behind a standing desk or in front of a screen where your slideshows/videos will be featured. Of course, if you want to stand at the desk, you can do this too. However, make sure it looks good in the video and that nothing unrelated to the presentation will be seen on the screen. Clean everything around the desk and the presentation area to avoid your audience getting distracted.