In this article we'll share some best practices to keep in mind when speaking during a virtual meeting.
Most speakers are comfortable speaking in any typical public setting. However, things can be a little bit different in a virtual meeting context.
The below tips will help you excel at virtual public speaking.
Before the meeting
Good preparation will prevent 90% of the potential hiccups you may run into during a virtual meeting.
Here are some of the things you can do before your virtual meeting:
- Make sure you are comfortable with the conference tool you will be using. Learn how to mute yourself, display or not your camera, and share your presentation.
- Ensure that your computer audio and video are working: This means that you hear the sound, your microphone is capturing your voice, and your camera can film you properly when using the conference tool.
- Practice makes perfect. Consider rehearsing a few times. Run your entire session from the beginning, unmuting and sharing your presentation, then muting and unsharing it at the end. Feeling comfortable with the process will help you successfully deliver your talk.
- Check how you look on camera. You want to ensure your light is neither too dark or too light – the audience wants to see you. Check this at the same time (of day) as when the actual meeting will happen. Also make sure that there is nothing inappropriate appearing in your surroundings. (for example private photos on a shelf, etc.).
- Pick a quiet place. A place where you know you won’t be disturbed during the meeting, and where you can’t hear other noises that could compromise the quality of your presentation.
- Speak straight to your camera. Your camera should if possible be at the same height as with your eyes. Consider building an ad-hoc stand-up desk – speaking while standing can help recreate familiar live-speaking sensations.
- Plan ahead the clothes you will be wearing during the meeting. Working from home doesn’t prevent us from dressing appropriately for an important talk.
During the meeting
Just before starting:
- Check your sound and camera one last time.
- Close the door, windows and make sure you won’t be disturbed.
- Keep a small bottle of water next to you.
- Switch your laptop to "Do not disturb" mode (on Mac or on PC).
During the meeting itself:
- When you are not presenting, make sure that you mute yourself and unshare your presentation. Depending on the context, feel free to stop your camera too.
- If anything fails, wait to receive some instructions from your colleagues. Don’t panic, they are used to recovering from potential connectivity or software problems, they will sort it out and get you back online.