Speaking virtually

Speaking virtually

Speaking virtually has never been more relevant or more rewarding, especially if you make your mark as a memorable presenter. Virtual events come in all varieties. There are virtual conferences, product launches, networking sessions, buyer meets, focus groups, awards ceremonies and more besides.

But virtual presenting is not easy. It’s different from speaking in front of a lively group of delegates that can be seen and heard.

In this post, I highlight some key things for you to consider when speaking virtually.

Understand your audience

You have to understand what the audience wants from you. Why are they going to invest their valuable time (everyone is busy after all) to come and see your presentation? Do you understand enough about your audience to be able to provide real value for them? What are you providing that is different or new? What nationalities are you presenting to? Is there a need for translators and how you can deliver your content in a way that gets the message across regardless of the language attendees speak? Think about what you are seeking to do as an outcome of the presentation slot and then establish whether that will work for your audience.

What is your content?

What is your content, what is the message that you want to get across? Remember you cannot sit in front of virtual attendees and just make it up. Not that you should ever do that with in-person speaking. But the big difference and it’s a big one is that with virtual speaking you are much more under the microscope than at an in-person event. In person events have other distractions going on.   That is not the case with virtual presenting. You are the only focus.

The engagement question

How much or little engagement do you want? There is absolutely no point in putting engagement into a session just for the sake of it. You could be using up precious time which is so critical. And engagement activities have to be well planned so that they run super smooth and don’t detract from the value of the session. If they get in the way then you are losing a great opportunity.

A matter of time

Time goes fast with virtual speaking, it just does. Being part of a virtual event means you are part of a programme that cannot be held up or stopped. Virtual, delegates are waiting for your content. Your session is in their schedule and they have moved other things around to be able to see your session. It’s important that you deliver on time and to time.

You have to rehearse

Failing to allow time to rehearse is a recipe for failure. You need to know what you are going to say, whether you are including any exercises and how long it all takes. At that point you can crack on with rehearsing. Rehearsing means doing everything as though your session was live. Are you positioned correctly, is the light making you look good, have you closed unnecessary browser windows etc. Imagine you are about to go live and then your rehearsal will be better.

Don’t stress about the tech

Let the tech people stress about the tech. You need to know which buttons to press for your part but other than that, let them sort everything else. Don’t let your content suffer because you make assumptions about tech not working. It will and if it goes wrong the tech team will sort it out. Be clear on what you want to achieve and the tech folk will help. They want you to look as good as possible.

Now go on and enjoy the virtual speaking experience. Remember it is a different experience to speaking in person at events. There are many opportunities with virtual presenting and they are yours for the taking.

Good luck.


Paul Cook will be moderating a panel on The Future of Venues at IBTM World Virtual this year as part of our IBTM TV content stream.

Find out more here.

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