Let’s consider best practices for presenting using synchronous video conferencing.
Synchronous Video Conferencing
Video conferencing capability has come a long way, and it’s gaining momentum for becoming a standard delivery technique for meetings, presentations and training.
Here are 5 best practices for your next video conference:
1. Understand Lag & Synch Issues
It’s important to understand that there may be some lag and that the video and audio may be out of synch. This causes people to unintentionally interrupt and trip over each other.
Our recommendation is to be patient with others, and pause before speaking to ensure that the previous speaker was finished. This means that the conversations will be slower paced than face-to-face, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
When communicating via one-way radio, it’s common practice to say “over” when you’re done speaking. Perhaps you can implement an equivalent process? This may be particularly useful when there are more than two locations dialing in.
2. Assign One Person to be the Moderator
The moderator can be the host or someone else, but make it clear at the beginning of the video conference that this person is in charge. When the discussion gets going and people start tripping over each other, this person should step in and moderate.
3. Pay Particular Attention to Your Eye Contact
You should look into the camera’s lens when speaking, not at the person’s eyes as they are projected on the screen or monitor. When you look into the lens, the people you’re speaking to will feel as if you’re looking directly at them. If you look at their projection, you’ll appear as if you’re looking elsewhere as you speak.
This is difficult to do, but once you master it this technique won’t feel so awkward.
4. Adjust Your Lights
To the degree possible, adjust lights in your room so that your face can be seen on video. In general you want more light in front of you shining on your face and less light behind you.
5. Don’t Yell
I’m not sure why people do this, but many people tend to raise their voices when on a video conference. Speak in your normal tone and in the general direction of the microphone. Check in with people, especially at the beginning, to set or correct your volume level.
So there you have it: best practices for presenting in a virtual world.
All the best
There are three types of presentation: The one we planned to deliver, the one we actually delivered, and the one we wished we would have delivered. Many of the thousands of business people we have trained over the past ten years say that before training they would leave past presentations wishing they could have represented. What can destroy a good outcome are the following ‘Presentation Crimes’.
1. Lack of Preparation
When a presenter begins unprepared, it always shows. Inevitably, the presenter will not be able to answer questions correctly, or the individual will deliver a generic message, one not focused on the listeners' issues.
2. Looking Unprofessional
Many people work in a casual business environment. Some presenters we have evaluated show up with attire more appropriate for a social event. Even if the audience does not comment, they will notice everything.
3. Going Too Deep
Many people enjoy the work they do and therefore, they get excited to share everything they know during a presentation. However, most audiences who do not know the fullness of our topic may prefer an overview, rather than the unabridged version. Not understanding your audience can cause you to misstep here.
4. Appearing Arrogant
Audiences make instantaneous deductions about any presenter. It is easy for the presenter’s mannerisms, facial expression or tone of voice cause the presenter to be perceived by audience in a negative manner.
5. Sounding Unsure
If a presenter’s voice is marred with lots of filler words, "ums," "ahs," and "you know," audiences will put the skids on giving a thumbs up. There is no doubt about it, non-words chip away at a presenter’s credibility.
6. Having Scattered Eye Contact
Audiences are like your mother or grandmother. For them to trust what you say, you must look them in the eye. Scanning the room or having a love affair with the floor or ceiling will make audience members anxious about trusting any presenter.
7. No Follow Through
If a presenter promised to send the slides ahead or committed to doing something, but didn't, then reputation will suffer. Obviously, it is better to under-promise and over-deliver.
8. Talking to or Reading from the Screen
Many presenters use their PowerPoint slides as their notes. They often end up reading directly what is on the screen. Listeners quickly become annoyed or bored. They can read and often more quickly than the presenter.
Additionally, if everything is on the slide, and the presenter is not offering anything new, audience members prefer that the presenter email their slide deck. They would rather not attend another meeting.
9. Arguing, Defending or Putting Down
Audiences have questions and sometimes, they offer opinions that are unfair or not true. Arguing is never a good idea. While a presenter may win their point, others will notice defensiveness or an unprofessional response.
10. Over Answering or Repeating
Sometimes, a presenter may notice resistance from their audience. When this happens, presenters can easily go into too much detail or repeat their answer multiple times. Audiences have very little tolerance for this approach.
11. Not Honoring Time Commitments
Whether time allotment is 15 minutes or 1 hour, be sure to honor it. People are busy and have other commitments they need to attend. Remember when presenting to an executive, time is their most precious commodity.
12. Acting Nervous
No one trusts someone who acts nervous. Ahead, make sure you have analyzed your audience and have crafted a message that answers their issues. Then, practice. Do a dry run. During your presentation, pause and breathe at the end of sentences. Let nervous energy out through strong gestures, sustained eye contact and facial animation.
Delivering a presentation can be made easier. By avoiding the twelve missteps above, you will improve your odds for being successful.
How many times have you fantasized the face behind a voice that you hear on the radio or television? Almost all of us have.
Sometimes, we picture the speaker as honest and trustworthy, like Walter Cronkite, the American news broadcaster. When he died, reporters described him as the voice America trusted.
Sometimes, because of the person's tone of voice, listeners envision the person as friendly or a straight shooter. They like the person, even though they don't personally know him or her.
One's voice is a "door opener" if it leaves the right the right impression.
Many of us as business people invest much time communicating via the phone. We may be part of a global team and do not typically interact with our colleagues face to face. Some of us may serve clients who want to discuss their issues or needs.
Since our voice is the only thing listeners have to assess knowledge and credibility, warmth or friendliness when communicating via phone, it is important to assess the quality of your tone of voice and work at improving it if necessary.
Recording oneself on a phone call or playing back voice mails before sending them are good ways to conduct self evaluation and coaching. Asking others, particularly our leaders, for feedback on our tone is another way. If there have ever been any complaints about your voice, take them seriously; then do what a professional would do - work at getting better on a day to day basis.
People whose voices exude all the right things have learned to pause and take a breath at appropriate points. Sometimes, they pause for a second at the end of their thought or statement. Sometimes, it is longer if they really want to emphasize a point. Pauses break long sentences into digestible ‘sound bites’. Every time they pause and breathe, they bring richness, clarity and emotion into their voice.
People who are broadcasters or seasoned politicians, of course, are masters at pausing and breathing. It is in their muscle mind so they don't even think about it. All they focus on is getting their message across to their listeners.
For those of us seeking improvement, we must work at this until it feels comfortable. We can rehearse our presentations to our team, read written marketing pieces, or even tell bedtime stories to our children, all the while recording ourselves, especially with the wide range of recording applications available today.
We must do these types of things until improvement is noticeable. The Hall of Fame basketball champion, Michael Jordon, says he consciously strove to get better by practicing his skills and never becoming complacent.
Your voice says a lot about who you are. Make sure it presents you in the best light by having an impressive tone of voice. It's a "door opener."