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Using a webcam is an ever more important speaking ability if you want to spread the word about what you do. It's what many public speakers are doing to stretch their reach beyond their physical presence. But how can you WOW through a using a webcam? Let's investigate...
In this age of daily digital duties, more and more of our business lives can be lived by using webcams. Webinars, teleconferencing - all the cool kids are doing it... as a matter of fact ALL the kids are doing it. Connecting with an online meeting or presenting a webinar via Google Hangouts, Skype, GoToMeeting, Sightspeed, ooVoo, TokBox (the list is endless really) is becoming the "norm".
But public speaking via webcam can feel daunting. Where should I look when speaking on webcam? How do I engage my listeners? Is anyone even there...?
Here are seven Gingery tips to be brilliant at public speaking using a webcam. Let's help you take the cyber world by storm:
Zoom in! Even though you might like your home office, the people you're meeting with want to see YOU. People are more likely to listen and remember what you say when your face is front and center. Zoom your webcam in to show yourself from the shoulders to the top of your head as you speak.
Clear the clutter! Once you're showing that brilliant face of yours... get rid of that old Picasso you have behind you. The key is to have NO distractions... no pics, or paperwork, or basket of laundry that could hold the audience's curiosity more than what you're saying. You can be resting your feet on that laundry basket and the others will never know. (just take it off the table)
Dress your "upper" half. Although many folks working from home wear pajamas during the day, overly casual dress make for less credibility. Just as if you were meeting with others in person, make sure your wardrobe reflects professionalism.
Imagine they're with you Using a webcam is tricky because your audience are not there in front of you. Whether you're speaking to a small group of people you can see on their webcams, or whether you have hundreds of listeners who can see you, but you can't see them - imagine that your audience are in the room with you. This will help you connect to real people and will make you more natural and engaging as a webcam speaker
The mirror trick: Place a small mirror in front of you whilst you're using your webcam. Place it just below the camera, so that you can look at one friendly face whilst you speak. If your mirror is just below the webcam, it will look like you're making direct eye contact with your audience.
Lead with Power. If you're leading a webinar, or being interviewed online, it's important to know what you plan to say - as thinking on your feet can look indecisive and awkward on camera. Take with your bullet point notes that trigger your memories and structure your thinking around your topic.
Deny Distractions. In any situation it's easy to get interrupted, the idea is to decrease the chance of your meeting being interrupted by a cursing coworker or your dog barking for a biscuit. Try to make your space as "safe" as possible for a video call ; put Virtual Meeting sign up in your cubicle or conference room. If at home, put your dog in another room... preferably away from your cat. Hissing and barking is NO way to have a meeting... unless the people in the meeting are hissing and then you should tell them to play nice.
Pay ATTENTION! Being in a video conference is no different than speaking face to face. That is... give the meeting your complete attention. Multitasking is not only showing that you're uninterested, it's RUDE.
Whatcha lookin' at??? Just like any speaking situation, eye contact is vital.
Body language DOES matter. Even and especially on camera.
- What am I doing in the moment as a speaker?
- What’s going on with my eyes?
- What’s going on with my hands?
- What’s going on with my body?
- What’s going on with my feet?
- How does this positively affect my audience (what’s good about it?)?
- What could I do differently and better to inspire my audience?
Keep their attention. One of the most common reasons webinars and other online public speaking fails to have impact is because people switch off. Think about it- you're on your computer listening to something, so what do you do? Check your emails, flick to Wikipedia, look at your phone....
To hold your audience's attention, ask them to participate in the 'conversation', even if it's a rhetorical question. Show interesting props on camera, play a video clip, or some music - do whatever you can to add freshness to your speaking, just as you would if you were speaking to a live audience.
When in doubt... record yourself on camera. Take a look at how you sit and if you fidget. Remember that just because you're using technology doesn't mean that you have to be "robotic". Utilize all the same tools in your toolkit for public speaking, modify them to fit on a computer screen and you will WOW using your webcam!
Curious about your current public speaking level? Take the Ginger self assessment quiz to learn about your strengths and weaknesses in 6 key areas of public speaking.Take the Self Assessment