Speaking with impact online

It is only a couple of months since I published my new book on public speaking, and I am already thinking that it needs a new chapter – speaking with impact online.

When I wrote my latest book, I was thinking about giving a speech in public to an audience there in front of you. But if I reflect on 2020, almost all of my speeches in public have been delivered online. And this simple fact really calls into question one’s approach to giving a speech.

As we entered Lockdown due to the global pandemic, I found myself giving speeches online. Yet I was dissatisfied with my own performance. My tried and tested approach to giving a speech just did not seem to be working online. And as I watched others give speeches online, I saw that they were also struggling.

My technique of writing down some thoughts on a piece of paper and using those words to speak freely just didn’t seem to be working so well. For one thing, I just wasn’t sure where I should put my notes. And indeed where I should direct my eyes. I tended to put my notes to one side, but then as a result I was not really connecting to my online audience.

So I have been experimenting with different methods. A few weeks ago, I spoke at an AGM. This time I put my brief notes, in bullet points, into a Word document. Then at the AGM, which was held on Zoom, I opened up a split screen with two windows. One with Zoom, and one with my notes. Hardly an original thought, but it did seem to work so much better. With my camera at the top of the screen, I could look centrally at the screen but still be able to see my notes and the meeting I was addressing.

For the first time in Lockdown, I was more satisfied with my performance. I am going to keep learning and trying new things in this format. And I’d be fascinated to hear about your learning. What are you finding is work for you online?



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