A public speaking expert has published a list of Zoom tips for charities pitching virtually for funding, donations and general awareness.
Gavin Brown, who runs the coaching firm Speak With Impact, said while Covid restrictions had eased, working and business practices would move to a “hybrid” format.
That means more charitable organisations will find themselves making high-level presentations either virtually on applications like Zoom, or in a “hybrid” format where some people are in the room and others tune in remotely.
He said: “Traditionally charities would have made these pitches in the room, but because of the pandemic things have changed.
“You can already see across the business world more and more of these major seminars taking place virtually or in a hybrid format.
“The same will be happening for charities, and it’s really important they get these pitches right in order to secure funding and other aims they set for their cause.
“Conducting these presentations virtually involves a completely different set of skills and, while people might have been forgiving during the pandemic for mistakes and technical hitches, that may not be the case going forward.”
He has published the following Zoom Tips for those preparing a major virtual or hybrid presentation.
For more guidance and advice, visit www.speakwithimpact.com
1. Own the screen
One of the biggest Zoom Tips to take on board before connecting is to look at yourself on the camera and check everything is ok. There could be a distracting light or a ray of sun coming through the window obscuring your image. Perhaps the camera has picked something up in the background you don’t want others to see.
You should check these before your colleagues or audience can see you. Make sure you are in the centre of the screen and not too far from the camera, or you will appear too small. If in doubt, take a screenshot to see yourself as others will see you.
2. Raise your camera to eye level
Those in modelling and photography circles will know that people do not look their best when captured looking down at the camera. It’s a simple but effective zoom tip, but that unflattering view is avoidable. Placing your device on a pile of books can raise your camera to eye level, showing you more naturally.
3. Add VAT to your voice
When speaking on video, as opposed to in-person, everyone’s voice sounds about 20 per cent more boring. So add that back in when talking on Zoom by being more engaging, more charismatic and animated. I call it adding VAT to your voice. It seems unnatural and awkward at first, but you soon get into it, and others will note the impact.
4. Find the mute button
“Sorry, you’re on mute” became one of the catchphrases of the pandemic. It was funny for a while. But now, failing to understand or use the mute button properly turns people off. It’s also handy to mute it quickly if someone comes into your room unexpectedly.
5. Look at the camera, not the screen
The temptation on apps like Zoom is to look at the people on the screen while you’re talking, as you would if they were sitting in front of you. That’s a mistake. Instead, look at where the camera is on your device and focus there. That will appear to those looking on that you’re making direct eye contact rather than sheepishly avoiding their gaze.
6. Slides need to be online friendly
If you are sharing slides for a presentation, they must be online friendly. It means less information on each slide and no clutter. Try to restrict each one to a clear purpose.
7. Don’t be late
If you’re repeatedly late to connect, that will be regarded in the same way as if you were to do that in the office. Add in a buffer of a few minutes to give you a chance to connect properly. It is especially true when using any new platform.
8. Practice, practice, practice
There’s no substitute for rehearsing. If you’ve got a key presentation or just a couple of minutes to speak within a meeting, practice saying it on camera and recording it. If you do this a few times, in the same environment you will be taking part in on the day, there won’t be any surprises waiting for you, and you’ll be significantly more accomplished as a result.
9. Encourage interaction
Nobody wants to be bored during a presentation, and no speaker wants to speak in a vacuum. Take time to work out the interactive options for your platform, such as the chatbox, polls or the whiteboard. Use them at various points, and you will engage the audience far more.
10. A strong finish
The last contribution you make in a meeting or a presentation will be one that everyone will remember. Try and sign off with a strong finish leaving a positive impression on those at the other end of the camera.