Testing: How to engage your audience as a digital speaker
Whether you have the tricks to pull it off, or can command it effortlessly, the online world is completely different to the charismatic speaker. Copying your old presentations will no longer work, and social cues are now a lost indicator within the digital world. New strategies need to be made to engage your audience online and connect in meaningful ways. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Sorting the small details
It’s good to start with the basics - wearing business casual clothing with solid colours and selecting a neutral background to avoid distractions is really effective. Avoid somewhere with background noise if possible. Your audience is going to be focusing on your facial expression so try not to fidget or slouch. Speak clearly and slow your cadence, allowing for regular pauses and even repeating key points. Your audience is working harder to understand messages through a limited view. Also, remember to keep animated! You are in charge of creating high energy levels, so smile and maintain eye contact with the camera.
Use the technology
People can’t create connections themselves as easily in a virtual space, so speakers can assist with this through using the technology available. Using breakout rooms is found to increase engagement. By having shorter presentations and allowing people to discuss their opinions in smaller groups can create connections within the audience. Use video elements to break up your presentation and ask people to use the chat box and the reaction button. Implementing these opportunities to ask questions and voice opinions can really boost interactions. It also allows for regular feedback and adds substance to your presentation. We discussed all this further here. Just remember to test all your technology beforehand!
Having other speakers involved in your presentation can change things up and create a more conversational experience for audiences. Breakout rooms can also develop this more intimately, with a speaker going to each room to allow everyone a chance to have their questions answered. Even having someone to help in the background could go a long way for you. It’s really difficult to lead the discussion whilst monitoring comments. Having someone replying to the chat to allow you to focus fully on your speech rather than the comments can really help.
Most of all, have fun! If your audience knows you’re excited to be there, they are more likely to take an interest. Don’t worry too much about any mistakes or technical difficulties that may occur. That’s all just part of the package of being a digital speaker. Learn from them and become even better for your next event.
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