Engaging Large Groups on Video
Engaging large groups on video is seemingly more difficult than engaging them in person.
Or is it?! Consider this…
Have you ever been watching a TV show or a movie and felt like the actor was addressing you personally? Of course they’re not just talking to you. In fact, there could be hundreds of thousands of people watching them at that very same moment as you! Add to that, they obviously can’t see you. And yet, as I was watching Deadpool, there were moments when I felt like Ryan Reynolds was speaking just to me. So much so that I perked up and paid a little closer attention through the rest of the movie – just in case he singled me out again!
The Secret to Engaging Large Groups on Video
Film and TV actors know the secret to engaging large groups on video, and the business community has yet to catch on. And that is this:
There is no such thing as talking to a group of people when you’re on video.
Video is a very personal medium. Actors know that when they are the only one on camera, each person is having their own individual – and personal – experience and connection with them. By looking directly at the camera and placing their focus on “one person” everyone benefits.
Unfortunately, this is the opposite of how most large virtual meetings are conducted. Presenters and speakers attempt to talk to the entire group of people all at once. It may be very obvious by the way their eyes wander across the screen, or slightly less obvious when they look at the camera but seem oddly disconnected and impersonal to the audience.
The Power of One
Eye contact is only part of the secret, because here’s what happens when you have in your head that you are trying to talk to a large group:
- Your eye contact is less focused, and more impersonal
- Your movements are often more presentational and formal
- Even your language tends to get less personal.
Because your face takes up so much of their screen, your audience will feel the difference, even if it’s on a subconscious level.
When you are (or imagining you are) speaking to an individual:
- Your focus is much tighter
- Your gaze more intimate
- Your body language and your words are more specific and less performative.
This personal level of eye contact is precisely how Ryan Reynolds or any of your favorite actors who talk to the camera manage to make millions of people feel like they are engaged in a private conversation with them. And it’s a powerful experience.Engaging large groups on video is not more difficult when you know the right techniques. Why not learn from an industry that has spent decades honing skills for connecting with virtual audiences? Check out my book below, or any of my professional virtual communication workshops.