Whether you’re an aspiring speaker or a leader who has been asked to speak at a virtual event, how you plan to be the best possible speaker is key to your career success. Even if you’ve spoken at hundreds of in-person events and conferences and think to yourself, “Well, this isn’t my first rodeo, I’ll be fine,” it’s critical to invest some time preparing for this new method of speaking if you want to be the best! So, our EBA team has gathered five tips we think have the most impact on virtual event speaker success. Follow these, and you’ll become an exceptional event speaker in no time!
Ready to take some notes?
You’ve probably heard the famous Benjamin Franklin quote, “By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.” In the world of virtual events, this couldn’t be truer. You’re not going to have an on-site audio-visual team to mic you up or troubleshoot if your connectivity goes wonky. You are the audio-visual team, you are the event manager, and you are the speaker all in one for a virtual event where you’re logging in from home. For this reason, preparation is KEY for success and impact.
Here are some areas you’re going to want to prepare:
Ensure You Have the Right Equipment
As we said, you are your audio-visual team here. We give each of our Eventistry by Alecia client’s a tech checklist for their speakers to ensure they have the right equipment for ultimate success. It includes things like type of microphone, video cameras, wired internet or WiFi speeds, etc.
Check Your Lighting
No one wants to learn from a creepy dark figure on a screen. Get a ring light or ensure your natural lighting is perfect at the time of day you’ll be presenting!
Test Your Tech
This is perhaps the most important part of being a virtual event speaker, because without the tech, you have nothing. Test your microphone, speaker, internet connection, and most of all…
Run Through Your Presentation
Make sure your presentation works! While this is part of checking your tech, we think it’s important enough for its own callout.
Please, please, please, we beg you, do not read right off your slides and act like you’re talking to a wall. Yes, we know you’re literally talking to the wall in most cases with a virtual event but be vibrant, and excited! Use your body language to express yourself an stay connected. And prepare parts of your presentation specifically to drive engagement. If you don’t, you can bet that you’re going to have a lot of people hitting that red “Exit” button at the bottom of the screen. Here are a few things you can do to add to your engagement (plus, we have a blog with ideas if you want to check it out for more inspiration):
Add Polls & Gamification
Everyone loves a good poll or quiz or scavenger hunt! Make it fun with interactive components added throughout.
Make Your Presentation Actionable
To keep attendee’s attentions, you need to give them something to do besides listen. When you make a presentation actionable with tips, tricks, suggestions, and prompted activities throughout your presentation, they’ll be more likely to be engaged from start to finish.
Create an Experience
To be a great virtual event speaker, you have to be memorable! How can you create an experience not just a presentation? Include video, provide them with an opportunity they can’t get elsewhere, share personal stories, bring in a special surprise guest. There are so many ways you can make your presentation unforgettable.
Encourage Questions & Chat Engagement
If you’re able, survey participants beforehand to figure out what they’re interested in learning and infuse those questions into your presentation. Plus, with a moderator at your side you can encourage chat engagement for live questions and a better way to read what the audience wants live!
If there is one thing our EBA team has learned over the past year and a half of managing hundreds of virtual events, it is that you can’t predict when technology is going to decide to have a bad day and you can’t control everything around you. No matter how much you want to. You can be uber prepared, but sometimes, the WiFi isn’t going to work, your neighbor is going to decide to do a renovation project, your dogs are going to see a squirrel and lose their minds… you can’t predict what’s going to happen, but you can try to control your environment as much as possible and be flexible, with backup plans for your backup plans to ensure your presentation goes smoothly despite external circumstances.
Be Professional, But Be Yourself, Too
Business on top, party on the bottom has become the trending attire for the virtual world. Stick to this if that’s what makes you comfortable but remember that speaking at a virtual event is about your reputation. So, present yourself well, speak clearly, dress the part, don’t fidget, and be confident! Virtual event speaking can feel uncomfortable, as you’re not staring your audience in the eye. It can be easy to try to just speed through the slides and move on since you may feel like you’re talking to no one. Just be yourself, have fun, and realize you’re making an impact, even if you can’t see the faces on the other side of the screen!
Be Willing to Learn
We’re going to be frank here. You’re probably not going to be the next Tony Robbins on your first try. It’s just facts. Practice makes perfect and if you look at every virtual speaking engagement as an opportunity to learn, you’ll be the best virtual event speaker you can be in no time. Be willing to look critically at the recording of your presentation and see where you can maybe make tweaks to perfect your audience experience. Do this, and you’ll be booking speaking engagements left and right after word gets out!
Follow Eventistry by Alecia for More Virtual Event Tips
The world of virtual events can be daunting at first. But they’re here to stay and the more you know, the more you’ll be able to leverage this type of event to build your brand, your business, and your career. You can follow Eventistry by Alecia on Instagram @eventistrybyalecia or Clubhouse @aleciamay to tune-in to virtual event tips weekly that will help you master the world of virtual events. Hit “Follow” and get ready to level up!