It is a feature of our new reality that we are increasingly communicating through disembodied means (I’m talking web rather than Ouija board here) and this can cause problems for conference speakers. As a whole, we are a breed who likes to use our feet and get moving around, however this is a big challenge when talking to a webcam! So what are the alternatives as I see them?
David Beckham, Principal Consultant, ChuDo Consulting. This summer, David will be presenting two courses via live streaming on the subject, ‘Improving Your Presentation Skills‘ 7-8 July 2020 and ‘Developing Breakthrough Communication Skills‘ 14 July 2020
David will also be speaking at the Business Analysis Conference Europe 21-23 September 2020, London on the subject ‘The Mythic BA‘; the conference will be available via live streaming and face to face.
David is a member of the BA Conference Europe 2020 Advisory Board.
First option: invest in tech
Ask yourself if you wish to stump up cash for better kit, such as lighting, wide angle cameras etc to allow you to stand up and present. You may also find software to help with this but you also may need a bigger room/house!!
You could also consider using some of the interactive tools out there such as Mural etc if you are thinking about some interactivity with the audience. Building a mind map or other artefact could be a powerful way of getting the audience’s attention and would make your session more memorable. But you need to be confident in using the tool first otherwise your session might be memorable for the wrong reasons!
Second option: invest in yourself
Consider whether you could investigate/invest in any specific training that would help. There are some online resources available here
that may be useful in terms of presenting from the neck up!
Public speaking courses could be useful or other online learning, possibly even acting classes to increase your range of expression/intonation if you feel that is right for you.
Third option: invest in your material
It could be argued that if you can’t physically be interesting maybe your slides could be…? Whilst I don’t dismiss this suggestion, I would advocate some caution; concentrate on engaging design and photographs rather than flashy animation. You may also wish to consider the use of props of some description that may make your presentation more engaging, although this again should be used with caution. Some online meeting applications have various gadgets such as customised backgrounds etc but these are probably limited in application and more suitable for social use.
At this point I think all I can offer is that online presenting requires more vocal work then physical work. I am sure that as we adapt to and use this technology more often there will be things that we will develop to enhance presenting using this media. So watch this space!
David Beckham has spent his career working in Financial Services, initially at Norwich Union then subsequently with Aviva. His career began in policy administration then moved into IT and he has been a Business Analyst in different guises since 1995. A founding member of the Business Analysis Practice he later had two terms as the Practice Lead. He worked on numerous large change programmes and was heavily involved in building the capability of Business Analysis within the organisation over the last decade. He has regularly presented at the European BA Conference and has had several articles published on Business Analysis topics. Despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2010 at the age of 43 David continues to be a passionate advocate of the profession and the benefits it gives to organisations everywhere. Since 2015 David has regularly spoken on the positive power of change both on a professional and personal basis. David left Aviva in 2019 after 33 years to start his own consultancy.
Copyright David Beckham, Principal Consultant, ChuDo Consulting.