Shakespears words "All the World Is A Stage..." ring aloud and anew today as we all are all taking the virtual visual stage to communicate in these trying times. From coffee talks to conference calls to corporate presentations to happy hours (my favorite) we are conversing widely on a new stage.
The way we show up to these conversations is a different approach from the face-to-face conversations and presentations we are accustomed to. The following are a 6 tips to up-level your personal and professional brand presence when engaging with your virtual audience.
#1 Note To Self - I am a huge fan of sticky notes and place my talking points just out of frame of the camera. This allows me to maintain "eye contact" with the audience through the camera while delivering message, with the greatest impact. The sheet below has my entire speech written in a writing for speaking format call With 1 Word. I believe that writing for speaking and writing for reading are on opposite sides of the same communication coin. With 1 Word enables you to create your presentation in the same visual representation as in which you speak.
#2 The Pro Mullet
Your audience does not know what they cannot see - ie. The Pro Mullet – Business Up Top and Recreational on the bottom. Dressing for success reflects your brand image. If you want to work more casually, wear an outfit that represents your brand, one that you can put on for video calls. In addition, the adage “you are what you wear” lends itself to a feeling of self-worth and confidence. You cannot take care of others until you attend to yourself.
#3 Avoid The Gargoyle - When your camera is located below the horizon of your dead ahead gaze, you are looking down on your audience. This view has a hovering perspective in the same way that Gargoyles look down from upon high. The ceiling become the background and your ability to move is critically limited. type of look, which also brings your chin down which creates a posture that would make your PT cringe. The best view, and posture, is setting the camera so that your chin is slightly raised and you are looking up at your audience.
#4 Virtual Distancing - Maintain an arm length. In the virtual environment, just as in live social settings, there is an etiquette to how close you need to be to your audience. I recommend keeping the camera at an arm’s length as your body language will carry the tone and attitude of the message. Avoid being a talking head.
#5 Tell Me More About My Eyes - Science supports the power of eye contact, and in this virtual world, we have the tendency to look at the faces on our screen, as well as our own face while speaking, I am guilty of this!!.
My recommendation is that when delivering your message turn off your personal view, once you have framed yourself in. You do not need the naturally narcissistic distraction.
Look into the camera and make the personal connection.
Watch reporters, they are masters at this. From time to time look at your screen to see what your audience is doing.
#6 Sit or Stand Up - Be Heard - Now that you have positioned your camera, and are making eye contact with your audience, it is time to position your body into the point of view that best suits your message. The more impassioned your message the more of you the audience needs to see.
Sitting - If you are sitting, move to the front of your chair and sit upright. The change in posture lengthens your spine, and opens your airways, enabling you to speak clearly. Avoid rocking into the back of the chair as it will look like you are falling.
Standing - My recommendation, especially when having to convey a message is to stand up and deliver. Place a marker on the ground that frames your body so that there is space above your head and as much of your body as you want the audience to see.
Live Life Well Spoken,
Keith MJ Bailey