How to Speak with Confidence to a Virtual Audience You Can’t See
Are you uncomfortable when you’re the only one on camera during virtual meetings? This is a common experience and it can make you feel vulnerable when you’re in the spotlight without being able to see your audience. Although we’re accustomed to speaking on the phone without seeing the person on the other end, speaking with confidence to a virtual audience you can’t see requires a different set of skills. And it’s very important to develop these skills to speak with confidence to a virtual audience because of the many benefits to you – and your audience – when you remain on camera.
Why You Should Have Your Camera On in Virtual Meetings
It’s more than virtual etiquette. Having your camera on – regardless of whether others do – makes it easier for your audience to connect with you and see you as an individual, not just another salesperson or a name on their calendar. When people can see your eyes it is easier to build a relationship and convey trustworthiness And seeing your face and body language gives your words greater impact and adds context, meaning and emotion to your conversation.
Yes, it can be initially uncomfortable and awkward to be the only one on camera in a virtual meeting, but it doesn’t have to be. Fortunately, actors are well-versed in connecting with virtual audiences and conveying authenticity and credibility. But it didn’t come naturally for actors either. It’s a learned skill that takes practice.
How to Speak with Confidence to a Virtual Audience You Can Not See
When you can’t see our audience in virtual meetings its easy to imagine the worst reaction from our audience. Without any feedback, thoughts like, “they’re bored, they hate this, or they’re distracted” race through your head. This causes you to engage in behaviors like, nervous over-talking, rushing through your content, avoiding pauses, or checking in 150 times. All this does it bring out the worst in you, often creating the very negative results you were trying to avoid!
As an experienced actor, I’ve learned that imagining a positive response from the audience is crucial for delivering a great performance. Instead of a static “head shot”, imagine a person sitting across from you responding – non-verbally – to what you are saying or doing. For example, if you said something funny, you would imagine them smiling, or perhaps rolling their eyes good-naturedly. Imagining the best possible reaction in your audience will bring out the best possible in you – and create a more natural, conversational flow.
There’s an entire set of skills built around talking to the camera with as much confidence as you do in person. If you’d like to learn more about communicating effectively with virtual audiences, check out my book, Look Me In the Eye, or click the link below and let’s have a conversation.