How can you present virtually, brilliantly? RADA Business tutor, Charlie Walker-Wise, provides 5 tips if you're working remotely.
In response to COVID-19, many companies made quick adjustments to their working practices by shifting to remote working. In doing so, the ability to communicate clearly and to connect with others through digital means became more crucial than ever for business professionals.
Many managers have found it difficult to lead and communicate effectively while working apart from their teams, with research from our latest report, Thinking on Your Feet, suggesting that more than 1 in 4 (26%) senior managers find it hard to act naturally during video calls and 19% of those working at C-Suite level cannot relax during conference calls.
Fortunately, by building upon the skills and techniques that help actors perform well on stage, managers can begin to master the art of presenting and communicating effectively through virtual conferencing platforms.
Stretch to release tension
When getting ready for a conference call, take a moment to prepare your body so that when the time comes, you can feel calm and relaxed. Take a stand and loosen up your body, stretching to release the physical tension you may be feeling.
One at a time, stretch your arms high above your head and gently bring them back down to your side each time, a bit like you’re picking fruit high above you. Next, roll your shoulders back and then forwards a few times each, before slowly tilting your head from side to side, then forward and back to centre. Finally, give your limbs a good shake out before you sit down to begin your call.
Check your stance
Posture plays a big role in how we come across to others. Make sure to sit away from the back of the chair when you take a seat at your desk or table, with your legs uncrossed and your feet firmly planted on the floor.
Lengthen your spine and neck and sit tall, ensuring you’re using your sitting bones. Sitting this way will help you to feel more grounded, as well as demonstrating openness and a readiness to engage with others.
Try a vocal warm-up
In the build up to a conference call, try some old-school tongue twisters to warm up your voice, lips and tongue. This will help you to articulate clearly.
Trying some wide-mouthed yawning will also help to wake up your mouth and jaw muscles ahead of long calls where a lot of talking is required. Computer microphones, and even headsets, often aren’t great so clear speech is essential.
Before speaking, take a moment to focus on your breath and calm any pre-call nerves. Breathe out and then in, slowly and deeply. Allowing your belly to move freely with your breath will help to give your voice more power, with a richer sound.
Build pauses into your speech when you need messages to land, allowing time for your audience to take in what you’re saying while you prepare your next thought.
It’s all about connection
Video conferencing is a crucial tool for maintaining strong relationships with your team and clients. Though it can be easy to switch off both physically and emotionally from others when you’re not in the room together, make the most of the opportunities to connect.
On a call, try to avoid fidgeting and focus your attention in one place. Look directly into the webcam and not at your own appearance; if helpful, hide your self-view as this will prevent you from being distracted by your own image and allow you to focus on your audience, ensuring your messages are landing in the same way they would if you were with your team, in-person.
To learn more about RADA Business, including virtual courses, performance and coaching programmes, please visit radabusiness.com.