There is no question that these are extraordinary times when it comes to business communications.
If you are one of the millions of people currently working from home then chances are, you are regularly trying to engage your audience via telephone and video conference
Here are a few tricks and tips that will help you to engage your audience, keep their attention, and be more successful in your online negotiations and meetings.
Engage Your Audience With Great Vocal Presence
As we take our meetings and communications online, great vocal skills and techniques are more important than ever. Why? Our attention span is pretty short. If you want to engage your audience and keep them listening, you need to keep their ears busy.
Use the power of pause and give them a break every now and then.
We can’t take in too much information at once so pause take a breath, and then move onto the next piece of content. This way your audience gets bite sized pieces of information they can digest and process more easily.
Slow down and to engage your audience and keep them with you.
It’s so easy to start motoring through your information so you can get it over with, and move on to the next call or meeting. But remember: If you lose your audience because you’re going too fast, they won’t hear most of what you’re saying.
Speak clearly and use articulation to emphasise key power words and phrases.
When you speak clearly, you will engage your audience more easily and come across as smarter. It’s one of those psychological phenomena. When you articulate your words, you are perceived as more intelligent. Bill Gates demonstrates this in his recent Zoom TEDtalk about the Corona Virus.
Why Your Physical Presence Matters
Online meetings follow the same presence rules as face to face. Remember,you are still having a conversation so be just as clear and confident physically as you would in the office or around the conference table.
How you stand, sit, and use your body effects not only how you look but also how you feel and interact with your audience. When you’re on a video conference call people can see how you are sitting and they can see your body language. This effects how you engage your audience.
Sit in a grounded and centred way
Sitting in a grounded, centred way will help you to both feel and look more alert, awake and professional. This in turn tells the audience you are ready to listen and respond. Remember it’s all about the audience! So, make them feel like the most important person on the call with a strong, open, grounded posture.
Make eye contact and use your hands too
Use your hands when you talk, as you would normally in a conversation. Eye contact, use of hands, and movement are ways you can engage your audience by making an emotional connection.
Know Your Tech To Engage Your Audience
There are lots of online tools used for business communications these days but my personal favourite is Zoom. It has sharing and screen options that make it perfect for calls where it’s essential to engage your audience. It’s worth mastering what ever tool you use before you those high stakes meetings and negotiations.
Prepare Your Screen Self
- Make sure you are framed properly on screen and have a clean, neutral wall behind you.
- Are you wearing a colour that contrasts with your background or blends in?
- Do you get lost amidst clutter and lots of busy colours behind you?
- Are you lit properly so the camera can see you?
Show up prepared, polished, and professional and you’re more likely to engage your audience and use everyone’s time well.
Prepare Your Tech
- Test out your sharing toggles and make sure you have any slides, word files, or videos cued up before you go on the call.
- Be prepared, set up your visuals, and practice with the Zoom tools before you go into the meeting. This way you won’t waste time or be fumbling around for files while you’re on the call.
- If you’re hosting the meeting then login ahead of schedule so you are ready for when people join
- If you are joining a meeting, join ahead of time or be ready to jump in as soon as it start
Make sure you click ‘leave meeting’ and/or ‘end meeting for all’ at the end of your meeting!
There have already been many videos posted of disastrous (albeit hilarious:) results when a video conference meeting finishes and people leave their camera running by accident. Don’t become one of them!
Be Your Own Best Teacher
SO. In this online and virtual business world that many of us have been thrust into, take up the challenge to engage your audience and practice a few basic skills that will help you stand out from the crowd. Learn and implement physical and vocal skills that will help keep your audience’s attention and master the basics of Zoom.
A little practice goes a long way. Learning and implementing online meeting skills that engage your audience will set you up for success in the present and in future online communications to come.