Just when you thought you had the public speaking discipline down including, body language, hand gestures, volume and attire, Covid-19 comes along and takes you off the stage. What do you do now? How do you communicate your thoughts and ideas into a computer screen? Here are a few tips to honing your new discipline in Distance Public Speaking. 3 Do's and 3 Dont's.
Video Conferencing do's.
1. Do dress business casual from the bottom to the top. If there is a sudden emergency and you have to get up, you don't want the viewers to see your pajama pants or underwear. You will feel more accomplished if you put on the whole business casual attire.
2. Do speak clearly. Speak with good volume. Speak intentionally. It is acceptable to have an outline of what you plan to talk about in the event you get off track on a different subject. Rabbit trails can cause you to lose your train of thought. An outline is a good way to find your way back to the topic.
3. Do practice using the video conferencing software. Zoom, which is the preferred universal app for videoconferencing, allows you to video yourself without having meeting participants. This will give you the opportunity to try new virtual backgrounds and check your sound, your internet connection and your lighting setup.
1. Don't place the laptop below your face, or above your face, or too close to your face. If you don't want the audience to look up your nose or down on the top of your head, it's best to place the laptop or camera parallel to your forehead. You can do this by placing your device on a stack of books or a shoe box. Also, if the camera is too close to your face, you will look like a giant potato on the screen to the viewer. Move the screen about 2 feet away from your face.
2. Don't sit in front of your lighting source. For instance, a window or a lamp. This will make your face have shadows on it. It is best to have the lighting just above your device so that you will look your best. If you have two lights on either side, and one above, that's even better. Ring lights are expensive but they work well too.
3. Don't have your volume on your device turned down too low. It's good to have a headset with a mic, but if you don't like the headphone look, make sure your volume is up so that your viewers can hear you well from your device microphone. It's frustrating to the viewer when they can see you and not hear you, and their volume is set to the max.
The new skill set of video conferencing is the new form of "public speaking." Embrace it and learn the best practices to look, sound and be your best.
AAS, BS, MA