Online meetings were becoming a bigger and bigger part of life even before the coronavirus struck. Webinars were gaining traction, as more and more people discovered the benefit of being able to share information and advice with large numbers of individuals, who didn’t have to travel away from their own desks (or sofas). Less appealingly, in my opinion, job interviews were increasingly being automated. During lockdown, of course, virtual meetings were the only sort of meeting that was safe and allowed. As the COVID story unfolds, it’s hard to tell when – or if – face-to-face meetings might become the norm again.
But making the transition from meeting in person to meeting via Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout, or whatever platform you’re using, is not always as easy as it may sound.
The skills and strategies that underpin successful public speaking in the real world also underpin putting yourself across successfully in the virtual world, though some of them need to be adapted to support you in the different environment. For example, authority and gravitas online depend not only on your demeanour but also on the angle of your webcam.
How to present an effective webinar
In the virtual world, the rules are different. In many respects, an effective webinar parallels an effective presentation in a room full of people, but in a few crucial aspects it can be completely different. Some of the best webinars are presented by experts the audience never even sees – which would never work in real life.
As with real-world presentations and lectures, the right preparation makes all the difference, not only to how effective your webinar is for the participants but also to how stressful (or enjoyable) you find delivering it.
I can help you:
As with all public speaking, if the prospect of delivering a webinar scares you, it can seem like a mountain too high to climb. Let me assure you, the height of this mountain is an illusion: once you get started on the upward path, with the right guide, you may be surprised how quickly you reach the summit and can start enjoying the view.
How to put yourself across effectively in virtual meetings and web conferences
If you’re not hosting the virtual meeting but attending it as a guest, it can be tricky to make an impact. Again, with a combination of the right preparation and the right level of confidence, you can stand out from the crowd and be heard.
If you struggle to speak up at meetings around a table, face-to-face, I can help you with that. Online, it may seem even more difficult to put yourself across, but really it’s no more difficult, it’s just different. There are pros and cons to both and, as long as you’re well prepared, you can absolutely make your mark in a virtual meeting. Once you’re familiar with the video-conferencing software you’re using, you’ll find some of the features favour people who might, in a face-to-face meeting, have been talked over and not properly listened to. And the rest is all in the preparation, so within your control.
I’ll show you how to prepare for virtual meetings in a way that makes it as easy as possible for you to speak up when the time comes, and to express yourself clearly and with impact.
How to put yourself across effectively at an online job interview
One of the challenges of all virtual meetings is to tune into the fact that you’re officially at work, even though you’re physically at home. Putting aside all the funny stories we keep hearing of children, partners and animals gate-crashing serious online events, it takes a psychological leap to immerse oneself fully in what’s going on online. This is particularly important, however, when it comes to online job interviews. Otherwise you risk making a bad impression and annoying the interviewer.
I can help you prepare so that on the day you slide easily into the right frame of mind to engage with the process and connect with the interviewer(s). Also, since we’ll do the coaching online, we can talk through the best angle for your camera and what people can see in the background.
As we work on what you’re going to say at your job interview, I’ll help you with delivery too, so that on the day you can put yourself across as natural and animated. A great answer is about much more than the content; it’s the words you choose and the way you convey them.
How to prepare for the future
Webinars, virtual meetings and online learning were becoming increasingly widespread and commonplace for a few years before a lot of us started doing these things regularly. Let’s take this push by circumstances as an opportunity to get up to speed with how to communicate as effectively and confidently in cyberspace as we do in person. It’s a great opportunity because in a crisis people are much more inclined to be patient and kind; everyone knows that everyone else’s life is in as much turmoil as their own. This is the time to explore and experiment.
Learning to put yourself across online will certainly help you at the moment but it’s also a long-term investment. When we’re all meeting in person again, use of Zoom etc will drop – but it won’t go back to where it was Before Coronavirus. Instead, we’ll be trying to find the right balance, the best of both worlds, gathering physically when that makes sense, while continuing to enjoy the advantages of communicating over the internet.
Looking at preparing for the future from another point of view, this is a good moment for innovation and potentially for new enterprises. With much of the world in suspended animation, we can see the big picture with exceptional clarity, which helps to identify gaps in the market. Life has been thrown up in the air and, when it comes back to Earth, it won’t be the same as it was before.
If you’ve got an idea for a new product or service, I can help you prepare and deliver an effective business pitch, either online or, when restrictions are lifted, at a face-to-face meeting.
How to arrange online coaching
In a parallel process, we’ll of necessity be doing this coaching online. In this case, though, it would make sense to do so even if we were free to meet face to face. It’s one-to-one coaching – private, confidential and scheduled to suit you.
Please get in touch, so we can discuss your situation and objectives and how I can help you.