Four more ways to improve your video conferencing presentation skills

We’re over three weeks into Lockdown, though it feels like three months. Or is it three years? I’ve lost track.

One thing that is keeping me going is the amount of online communication training that I am doing.

I have always offered my services online, but for reasons we all understand, demand for online training has sky-rocketed.

Conference calls and virtual conferences are the way that most of us are communicating in business at the moment, and chances are they are going to remain the way we keep in touch for some while. So ensuring that you present the best of yourself, via that little camera at the top of your screen, is really important.

In the last few weeks I’ve also been on more Zoom / Hangout / Facetime calls than I care to remember – many of which ended up with me wishing I had trained the people presenting.

Here then are four points to think about as you go about your business online – whether it’s calling a colleague, pitching for business or speaking at a virtual conference.

1 Behave as you would face to face

If you are speaking into the camera – smile. If you are looking on your computer for a document that you’re going to present – remember everyone can see you. If you can’t avoid putting on your “scrunched up doc-searching face”, turn off the camera so you can get the document on screen.

2 Pitching with colleagues

Smile, nod when your colleague is talking.  You’re on camera too. Look like you like each other. Wear what you’d wear for a normal pitch.  At least on top.

3 Your studio

I’ve been very struck by people who clearly have been presenting online for ages.  They have thought about their background, their lighting. Light your face, not the background.  If you’ve got a window behind you, close the shades. (Think about what makes a good picture. Arty silhouettes don’t work on video conference).  Put your computer on some books so you are looking straight into the camera, rather than the angle where people have a clear view of your nostrils.  Tidy up the background. If you are being interviewed for a job, a shelf full of books might be a bit of a cliche, but it is not a bad idea.

4 Use what you’ve got

Last week I coached someone who lives on a canal boat.  Start the meeting by showing me life on the canal! If you’ve got a screaming kid in the next room – tell me, because you’re going to be muting more than normal. The other day my cat jumped onto my desk in the middle of a call. The person I was training reached down and pulled up their cat.  If you need a haircut – acknowledge it – in a couple of weeks we all will! Bring some personality and humanity into the room to build empathy.

So there are four to get you started. Whether you are regularly on sales calls or just presenting to your company management team there are lots of ways to make sure you communicate in the most effective way possible.

Shout if you need help!

Here’s a few testimonials from some folks I’ve recently coached online.

‘The course was both a reminder of some really important public speaking stuff but also crucially valuable, fresh information on how to navigate this new virtual land of communication we are now operating in. It really got me thinking about what communicating virtually requires from the performer/convenor, from the tech and from the listeners.  Would definitely recommend not just to trainers and public speakers but to managers, sales people and basically anyone who recognises this is the future.”

Dr. Eliza Filby, Academic, Advisor and Broadcaster specialising in Generational Intelligence

‘This is a very suitable course for absolutely anyone at the moment, but particularly for those like myself, who need to very quickly adapt their client engagement from physical events to digital experiences. To be able to represent my organization as a moderator, interviewer and spokesperson will not only enable me to be an ambassador, but will also save them costs, and allow us to show our clients that our own staff are able to deliver such services from the internal workforce. Thanks to Edie’s course I now feel comfortable in conducting digital speaking engagements.”

Tess Jasmine McLeod, Head of Group Client Experience, Quintet Private Bank

‘We invited Edie Lush to speak at our Academy Session and give her top tips for ‘Zooming your way through COVID-19’. She gave the team some great insight into how to best present and get ideas across via video call, and got the team involved in some creative challenges. Edie has a huge amount of passion and made the session very enjoyable for us all. She has a wonderful method of coaching and we would highly recommend her!”

Emma Johnson, CEO, Sevenhills