Yes, lockdowns are easing, but, don’t plan on leaving the Zoom room any time soon. Online presenting will be the norm for a while yet.

There’s been a lot written about Zoom fatigue, and it’s real. We click from one call to another without giving ourselves time to breathe, think and reflect in between. One of the biggest dangers that I perceive, however, is that it is all too easy to forget what “good” should look like in presenting terms.

The plus side of online presenting is that many people who are nervous of speaking to people face-to-face have found that they can relax more on virtual calls. If you suffer from nerves then use these next few weeks of virtual meetings to prepare yourself for face-to-face speeches again.

There are lots of similarities between virtual calls and face-to-face meetings with either your teams or larger audiences.

On a virtual call, the basics are:

  1. How are you sitting? Do you look confident, interested and alert?
  2. What is your backdrop? Does it give the message you want to give?   By the way, something as simple as adding a potted plant can change a blank wall into an interesting picture
  3. Can your audience see and hear you? You could try the simple three-point lighting technique I posted a few weeks ago.

These are all just as relevant in face to face team meetings:

  1. How are you sitting or standing? Do you look confident, interested and alert?
  2. What’s your backdrop? Are you holding your meeting in a cramped hot room that makes it difficult for your team to listen? Are there notes from another meeting on the flip chart which will distract your team? (Yes, they are still popular in this digital world!)
  3. Can your audience see and hear you? Or are you hiding behind your laptop and mumbling into your screen?

Use your virtual meetings as a practice ground for the face-to-face ones that are to come. Here are 3 tips that will help:

  1. Speak More. When you are in your virtual meetings, speak up, put yourself forward for delivering a section of the meeting and prepare for it as you would a face-to-face session.
  2. Practice More. Watch the recording of your virtual call if there is one – or record yourself on your phone if you are using your computer on the call. See for yourself how you come across. It’s a great way to get used to being “on show” – and of working on your gestures and body language. Being confident in how you hold yourself, as well as how you sound, can really help conquer Presenteritis.
  3. Stay calm. Use some simple breathing exercises.

And keep things in perspective: speaking isn’t something to be scared of. You can do this! Confidence breeds confidence … so don’t psych yourself out.

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