One thing pros do when they present in a new environment is get a feeling for the space so they can make their energy work there. It makes a difference if it’s large and has a lot of reverberation (like a gymnasium) or is small and intimate.
Here are six quick ideas for making sure you bring authenticity and energy to your virtual environment.
Find a new physical space
In a world where cubicles are more common than discrete offices it is common for energy to be dampened by self-consciousness. If you don’t have (or can’t develop) a screw-what-they-think-of-me attitude, book the conference room down the hall.
Adjust for the bio-feedback you’re receiving
Whether using the telephone or VoIP, one thing’s different when you’re presenting virtually…you’ve got a headset on. (If you don’t, shame on you…speaker phones and computer microphones suck for your audience)
When you wear a headset you hear yourself differently. It may make what you hear more dampened or muffled, or your might hear your own voice in the earpiece. The biggest weapon against unconsciously changing your voice based on these changes in sensory input is situational/environmental awareness.
Speak from your lower-middle voice
You can’t change the voice you were born with, but you can how well you use the voice you were born with. Your optimum resonance may not sound like James Earl Jones, but you will be perceived as warmer and more authoritative.
An old phrase in customer service training is, “Let them hear you smile.” The 2012 webinar equivalent is, “Let them hear the energy of you standing up.”
Pick up the pace a bit
This isn’t an ad nauseum argument…you can’t go faster and faster to get better results. Two studies, however, (one of debaters and one of inside sales people) found that somewhat-faster than regular pace was judged more positively. The lesson for webinar, webcast, and virtual classroom leaders… don’t be another snoozer.
Record and listen
When pushing the record button in web conferencing requires no more technical acumen than answering a phone, there is no excuse not to record yourself and listen to it. Yes, you’ll hate the sound of your own voice. But nothing will help you learn about your delivery more quickly.
Get a tough-but-loving coach
Learn a skill or tactic for your next webinar, and you’ve got a new skill for life. Unlike listening to yourself, a good coach will hear you the way others hear you and give you appropriate feedback. Add a dash of tough-but-loving honesty to the equation, and they’ll push to grow into a better you.