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Public Speaking Tips for Online Video Meetings

Man carrying laptop - Public speaking tips for online video meetings
Man carrying laptop - Public speaking tips for online video meetings

Expert and Colomba course instructor Nicky Davin gives us her top tips for remote public speaking 

ENERGISE

Even if you are giving that key-note speech from the comfort of your living room, it’s important to get revved up. Remember that this is your subject – so get excited about it. That energy and passion translates, and will make you a more engaging speaker. If appropriate, tell a personal story connected to your subject and people will listen. Think about changing up the pace too – it will help you swerve getting sucked in to a boring monotone.

REHEARSE

If public speaking doesn’t come naturally to you, don’t worry – you’re in the majority. The skills you need require persistence so practise the skills forever- it’s a life-long process.

Speak out loud at every opportunity, record yourself on your phone, listen to it, modify it, get used to hearing your voice, make notes about how you can improve it. We may cringe at the sound of our voices at first, but you need to get used to hearing it so you can work on improving it.

If you’re giving a speech, learn it off by heart, so you can think about other things while you’re speaking. This will give you room to stay on track, even when you get distracted or have a ‘fight or flight’ response on the big day.

STATUS & POSTURE

lady attending an online meeting - Public speaking tips for video meetings

Now, here’s a mistake a lot of people make. No matter how difficult you find things at first, never apologise for your ‘lack of speaking skills’ at the beginning. Showing that you have confidence in yourself, gives the audience confidence.

Posture is everything. As well as your outward persona, it affects your emotional and mental state. So, even online, sit/stand up straight and hold your head high.

Your hand gestures are engaging too, open hands with the palms up mean welcoming and you can trust me. Make your gestures align with what you’re are saying, it’s also interesting for the audience to watch, they engage more when they see something as well as hear it: your body language.

Giving off an air of confidence doesn’t mean you can’t play around with status though – injecting a bit of fun into your talk with a confession, a joke, or an embarrassing story can help put your audience at ease. You may want to encourage them to take part so they can feel something for themselves, learn something, and take away a great memory too. This can be especially useful at the beginning, to break the ice. It might help you feel calmer too.

FACE & VOICE

Online, your face is going to be even more visible than if you were standing at a podium in front of your delegation. Doing some facial exercises can help to loosen you up and take some of that dreaded tension out of your jaw. If you’re not a natural ‘smiler’ – practice! You might feel a bit daft grinning away at yourself in the bathroom mirror, but it will be worth the groundwork later – a smile puts your audience at ease and studies have found that people who smile are seen as more intelligent.

Lastly, of course, the voice itself. Every word you say, counts – not just its meaning, but how you say it. A strong and clear voice is commanding and will make people listen to you. Again, it may not come naturally, but that’s what vocal training is for. Your breath is your most important tool. If you can control your breath, you can control your nerves. Again, this takes practice – but it all pays off.

“Do Your Practice and All is Coming”
Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois.

How do you feel about public speaking in general and presenting online specifically? Share your thoughts feeling and ideas with us below in the comments, or on social media. We’d love to hear from you.

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1 thought on “Public Speaking Tips for Online Video Meetings

  1. These are great tips. These past few months I had had a few zoom meetings and over time I have built my confidence. It is interesting getting to have meetings over zoom but I do enjoy getting to build my confidence in public speaking.

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