Refresher Tips for the inevitable return to in-person messaging.
A year! Maybe even more than a year for some of us. Virtual everything-meetings, presentations, media interviews, recorded zoom videos, internal and external virtual communications, the list goes on and on. And what started as a much needed learning curve for most of us is now second nature. Staring into your computer camera has become a part of daily life and will continue to be to some degree. However, at some point in the very near future, we will be back to some amount of in-person messaging and working, if not already. I know I am looking forward to the day we can all work together in-person again as I think we can all agree that virtual meetings/trainings/presentations are just not as personal or impactful.
With that in mind, some simple refresher tips to get you back in shape for the real deal coming soon.
Over the past year, I don’t think I’ve seen a single Zoom presenter standing. Makes sense. It’s easier to frame up your computer camera while sitting. But in this lies danger. How many in-person meetings or presentations have you led while sitting? How comfortable have you become sitting in front of your laptop? It’s easy to do but could set you up for less than stellar in-person performances. My suggestion-start doing at least some of your Zoom meetings while standing. This is easier to do from a laptop, where you can position it high enough on a book shelf or tall stand. The biggest benefit you will get from doing so is retraining your body to use your hands and arms and entire body while speaking, which subsequently, will get you more physically ready for your first in-person presentation.
The Eye Contact Problem
Remember the old presenter tip-make eye contact with your audience! Well, that went away with virtual meetings where the only visual contact point of reference is the tiny dot at the top of your computer screen. There are some benefits to this. The next time you do a video interview where you are asked to look directly into the camera should not be as uncomfortable as it once was for many of us pre-covid. However, all of us will need to be more aware of an actual live audience again and retrain our eyes to make those direct eye contacts.
Newer computers have come a long long ways when it comes to video and audio capture quality. I do use a Jabra to improve sound quality playback and microphone while on virtual meetings and presenting virtually. The biggest thing I’ve noticed though is you don’t need to speak loudly at all, even the built-in microphone is able to pick up fairly clean audio. But the downsize to this is that everyone begins to look the same and sound the same because of the canned, artificial nature of virtual platforms. All of us are going to need to be reminded of what makes for a great in-person speaker. The nuance of tone, inflection, pace changes, as well as varying volume will all need to be relearned as we venture back to in-person messaging.
We’ve been through a lot over the past year. I know we can overcome these simple communication hurdles!
Rich Dubek is a two-time Emmy award winning TV news reporter with more than twenty five years of news media experience at the local and network level. He is President of the Dubek Media Group, specializing in expert media training messaging, and on-air coaching, and full service video production. The Dubek Media Group is based in Tempe, Arizona.