The progress of the vaccination campaigns against COVID-19 at a global level and their consequent positive data have led analysts to consider them as a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. However, some changes in the way of working due to the need to maintain distance are likely to be maintained once the restrictions are relaxed . For example, Bill Gates and other technology experts have said that, given the combination of shifting expectations of how certain social interactions should take place and improved software, many remote meetings and events are here to stay .
Tools like Zoom or Google Meet will probably continue to be used on a regular basis, and this requires that their users learn to perfect their use so that they can overcome the physical exhaustion generated by talking in front of a screen for several hours . Maintaining a good presence on camera, then, will be an essential professional skill for the future.
Faced with this situation, strategic communications expert Briar Goldberg, Director of Speaker Training for the famous TED conferences, wrote an article to highlight the most common mistakes people make when talking on video calls and offer a series of tips to solve them :
Tip 1: Look at the camera, not at the screen
“Direct eye contact can influence the perception that the public has of your credibility, your reliability and even your leadership skills. But more importantly, your audience will do more to maintain attention if you are expressive and look into their eyes, "said Goldberg.
And added:" The only way to make eye contact with your virtual audience is to look directly to the lens of your camera. Believe me: This will seem very strange to you at first, because we are used to looking at our screens during video calls so that we can see others (and see how we look). But if you want your audience to remain attentive and engaged, you will have to sacrifice your own desire to look at their faces (and your own). ”
“ My rule of thumb is to keep your eyes on the target 90 percent of the time and use the Remaining 10 percent to look around and make sure your audience is smiling and following what you're saying, ”he explained.
Tip 2: Make sure to vary the cadence of the
voice When we talk to our friends and family, there is a great natural variety in the speed, volume, tone and inflection of our voice. That variety is very important, because it adds context and meaning to our words, and adds interest and drama .
But when we are nervous or read from our notes, we often lose that variety . This can be a big problem in a virtual environment, where the other non-verbal cues that add context, such as hand gestures and facial expressions, are harder to see.
A way to inject vocal variety into your virtual presentation – or to any presentation, actually – is to use words and phrases that are comfortable for you . Practicing in advance also helps ensure that your voice retains its natural spontaneity, and even a single essay aloud can make you feel less nervous and less dependent on your notas.
Error 1: Improvising or read from notes
The Solution: Rehearse
Ahead As a communicator, your number one priority should be the experience of your audience, regardless of the setting. And you can't focus on your experience if you're too busy thinking about what to say next.
“Think of it this way: Your audience is taking time out of their busy days to listen to you. So the least you can do to honor their time is to practice a little up front. The fact that you can use your laptop or your phone as a teleprompter does not mean that you should ”, the expert graphed.
Mistake 2: Going overboard with your slides
The solution: Use your slides effectively
Goldberg recognized that it is very easy to get distracted when viewing a virtual presentation. Therefore, he indicated, everything possible should be done so that the public sees it. One way to do this is to make sure you are using the slides effectively.
Remember that you are the protagonist: Use the slides only if they really help your audience to better understand what you are presenting . While this is true when you speak in person, I would say that it is even more important about video. If your entire presentation is slides and the audience cannot see your face, they will feel less responsible and will go to Instagram, ”he said.
The expert also highlighted the need to understand the technical aspects of the presentation: that is, rehearse beforehand how to enter and exit “screen sharing” mode so that the slides are not projected during the entire presentation. " Since eye contact helps the audience to maintain attention, it is convenient that your face is in the foreground as much as possible, " he said.
Mistake 3: Inviting your audience to look at all of your titles
bookshelf The solution: Choose a background that won't distract
“I'll be the first to admit how much I have enjoyed seeing many people's homes thanks to virtual meetings. But I am going to be honest, I am concerned about the number of people who sit in front of their shelves so that it ends up being their background ”, Goldberg detailed.
And he graphed:“ If the objective is to keep the audience attentive and focused, you have to make sure that the background does not accidentally distract. At the same time, sitting in front of a plain white wall looks a bit gloomy. If possible, select a background that is familiar but not overly ornate. If your only option is to sit in front of a bookshelf, consider sitting a little further away so that you still have a colorful background but your audience cannot read the titles as you speak. ”
Mistake 4: Lighting too bright or Too dark
The solution: Sit in the right place
A little lighting can go a long way towards appearing prepared when addressing a virtual audience. Although there are many lighting products and devices that you can buy, you don't need to spend money to get your light on well, said Goldberg.
“The key is to make sure the main light source is directly behind the camera, throwing light on your face. . So you can choose to stand in front of a window, a lamp, or both. Here are a few photos of the lighting setup that I use when I teach TEDTrainings from my living room, ”he said.
Mistake 5: Letting everyone turn off their
video The solution: Encourage the audience to stay on camera
“There are a handful of truths about communication that I have been preaching all my career, and one of them is that I believe that it is always the responsibility of the speaker to keep the audience attentive . If the audience's attention begins to wane, it is the speaker who must adapt, ”he said.
However, he indicated, virtual chats often imply that it is impossible to know if your audience is paying attention by not being able to see it. Therefore, he assured that in Zoom there is no problem in asking the audience to turn on their cameras.
“I hope that sooner rather than later, we all find ourselves defending ourselves from stomach butterflies behind the scenes before speaking in front of a real audience, live and direct. But until then, I wish you the best of luck in all your speeches, presentations, meetings and virtual cocktails, "he concluded.