Thursday, August 11 2022

Swati Rai

Over the past year and a half, we have witnessed virtual sessions of apocalyptic proportions. Whether it’s public speaking engagements or a select audience. As we gradually move from remote operations to hybrid working models and also working at full capacity, one of the learnings of 2020 has been to be able to successfully manage online presentations, projects, public speaking . As trainers and teachers, much of the learning from the past year through the delivery of such remote sessions could constitute a capsule course in virtual speaking fluency. Here are a few to adopt and adapt, depending on the speaking context.

Virtual Speaking Brass Tacks – Light, Sound, Camera, Action!

Before we even begin, we have a position to take for the device. Phone, laptop, desktop, whatever machine you choose, the correct angle of its placement will color most of your presentation, due to its angle of capturing your face. Placing it at the same height as your face or a little above would do the trick. Keeping it below face level is a strict no no. Just like keeping it too close or too far from her face. The rule of thumb here should be that anything distracting should go. Lighting in the workspace should also be considered appropriately. Too harsh or diffused light should be avoided at all costs. The soft and sparkling “Diva light” could be used to make the face clear and the expressions clearer. The room should of course be prepared to be soundproof, clean and professional looking. This would translate into simple practices such as checking the view of the room from your camera, making a selective choice of virtual background if necessary, ensuring a sacred DND (Do Not Disturb) hour for your class. Dressing for Zoom sessions usually involves “waistline” adornments and the rest might just be pajamas. However, there is no denying that dressing up stylishly can boost your confidence, making you feel less nervous until those kitten heels, which you could have easily overlooked. You are now ready to pass this class!

Humanizing technology

Living as we are, in the age of gadgets, it’s easy to get mechanical while delivering sessions on the computer with gaping human faces – flickering on and off on your screens like blips, from a distant planet. The essence of a lecture, lecture, speech, etc. lies in the connection with the public, also virtual. For this customization of the technology, a thorough familiarization with the tools of the virtual interface should be at the rendezvous for its judicious use, by asking questions, defining polls, looking for annotations on the collaborative whiteboard of the boxes individual and group discussions, etc.

Staring straight into that little black dot – your gadget’s camera – will make it look like you’re staring straight into the public eye. An upright posture, with the usual signs of positive body language, also applies to an online session. Extremely restless nature and rapid eye movement does not help anyone focus on your content. Relaxing your face, smiling occasionally, not squinting, using appropriate hand gestures is one of the ways to ensure full participation and attention from your attendees. Adding that extra laugh for the staccato delivery mode will also help.

Speech matters

Even when speaking face to face, speech modalities come into play. Effective speaking skills such as voice pitch, pitch, intonation and clarity of voice quality all come together. The voice cast, the enunciation of sounds, the clarity of speech in a virtual mode take on greater importance. Voice quality on the mic, tonal texture, pitch and decibel levels can be checked before initiating the speaking task. As well as recording your voice on the phone to listen for clarity in sound enunciation, word stress and intonation will help. Speaking slightly louder, without shouting of course, with a greater draw of each sound will help with clarity of speech. Also, saving a denser vocabulary for face-to-face ornamental speeches, etc., is a good idea. You don’t want to confuse listeners with a convoluted lexicon, sacrificing the meaning of your speech, to sound grandiose, especially when “Am I audible?” is a real refrain in virtual language!

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