Here’s the secret to great business presentations: Stop giving speeches. No, really. Speeches make you nervous and they bore your audience. Discover what to do instead in this guest blog I wrote for the amazing Dan Ram. It was an honor to collaborate with him.
In a Zoom meeting, you’re always on, even if you’re only a silent attendee. Unlike an in-person meeting, you can’t hide out in the back row. There’s a loss of anonymity. Everyone is in the front row and it feels like everyone is watching you.
That visibility causes you to be on your guard and to adjust constantly. Sit up straight. Change that goofy expression on your face. Fix that wrinkle in your dress. No scratching your head. No nothing that might cast you in a less than favorable light. Oh, and be sure to make eye contact by looking at the camera lens, constantly.
The Cause of Zoom Fatigue
We spend an excessive amount of time looking at ourselves in a typical Zoom meeting. All this self-awareness is exhausting and I believe the primary cause of Zoom fatigue.
One solution would be to turn off your camera, but then we lose much of the human connection in an environment already starving for connection. Of course, turning off your camera makes it easy to lose focus on the meeting and start multi-tasking. And finally, the meeting presenter and others speaking can’t see and react to your facial expressions and body language. We’re simply not being good audience members when we turn off our cameras.
Here’s another option that I’ve recently adopted. Leave your camera on, but right-click on your image and chose the option of “hide myself.” That way, you aren’t seeing yourself constantly, but the speaker and others can still see you. Think about it this way: in an in-person meeting, you don’t carry a mirror around to look at yourself, but you are aware that others can see you. So, knowing that you can be seen by others, you act appropriately, but you don’t obsess over yourself.
Try hiding yourself on your next Zoom meeting. Be a good meeting participant and be good to yourself. Most of all, be human.
Phoenix Public Speaking owner and founder Paul Barton presents new perspectives and strategies to move forward in 2021 at the Maricopa Corporate College Virtual Impact Breakfast. He covers tips on how to spot emerging opportunities, how to manage remote work teams, how to approach training, and how to manage employee activism.
Vocal expert Sharon Marrell sits down with Phoenix Public Speaking owner and founder Paul Barton to talk about how to use your voice in public speaking and business presentations to engage your audience.
Join us from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27, for a free virtual breakfast webinar featuring business communication strategist Paul Barton who will present new ways of looking at the year ahead and ideas about how to keep building on the lessons we learned in 2020. Paul is the owner and founder of Phoenix Public Speaking and is a Certified Virtual Presenter.
The webinar is sponsored by Maricopa Corporate College (MCOR), which delivers high-impact training and development solutions for the business community, government, and non-profit organizations.
The breakfast is an annual event but is being held as a virtual event this year for the first time.
How do you speak in a structured, conversational way, stay on point and on time, and do so without a script? This video unlocks the simple but powerful secret that can supercharge your public speaking and business presentation skills. Give it a tumble and let us know what you think.
A lot of tips have been written for Zoom hosts and presenters, but what about participants in the audience. You can’t hide in the back row like you can at an in-person meeting. Watch this video for some participant pitfalls to avoid during a Zoom meeting.
In communication, especially personal communication like public speaking, credibility is everything. Want to know the fastest way to blow your credibility as a public speaker or business presenter? This video will tell you the pitfalls to avoid when making presentations.
Here’s the fastest way to become an expert on any topic that you need to speak on – research. Yes, solid research can give an immediate boost to the credibility of your business presentation or persuasive speech.
Pick credible sources for your research and be wary of advocacy groups that have a clear bias. My general rule is: the more controversial your subject is, the more credible your research sources need to be. If you do choose an advocacy group that is clearly on one side of an issue, make that clear and consider having a counter opinion from someone on the other side of that issue.
You don’t want to give a full citation in your presentation because, well, that’s just plain boring. However, you do want to mention the research you gathered in a conversational way, such as “According to the Centers for Disease Control …” or “I think Bob Burg had it about right when he said …”. This casual mention will let your audience know that you’ve done your homework.
Meanwhile, you do want to have the full citation at the ready in case members of your audience ask about it after your presentation has concluded. You may get a skeptic who wants to validate your source. Or, you may get someone who is excited about the citation and wants to share it with their colleagues.
Finally, consider this: A presentation with good research data but without a story to illustrate your point lacks emotion and makes it more difficult for your audience to connect with your point. The audience may be numb from all the data. Does that sound like any business presentations you’ve sat through? In contrast, a presentation with colorful personal anecdotes but without research data may lack context and may strain credibility. The audience may be left thinking “that’s your story, but what about everyone else?”
So, what’s a poor presenter to do? Here’s the winning combo: Combine your research data with personal anecdotes. It might go something like this: “So, now that you’ve heard my story, you may be wondering how this issue affects people nationwide. Let’s look at the data.”