As speakers, we’ve been speaking in the virtual world for a little more than two years. In the beginning speakers were trying to navigate their way on the virtual stage. It was new for both speakers and audiences. Now, two years and still speakers are still struggling to speak in the virtual arena. Here are the three most common mistakes made when speaking on the virtual platform that can be easily avoided.

Mistake 1: No Rapport

Speakers don’t know how to build rapport in the virtual world. Why is this so important? No rapport, no connection, no sales. It is critical for speakers to build rapport with their audience and connect with them.

Here are a couple of ways to build rapport on the virtual stage:

One of the best ways to build rapport in a live audience is by calling people by their name. People love to hear their names. In the virtual world, speakers miss this. Yet, the attendees’ names are right there on the screen. Sometimes it seems as though speakers can’t even see past themselves on screen.

Often a speaker will hide behind their own PowerPoint presentation. It’s not bad to use PowerPoint. It’s good to use it in the virtual world because it breaks things up. However, if you’re going to use PowerPoint and still want to build rapport with your virtual audiences, first begin your presentation by being with your audience without your slide deck. Be present when you share your story, talk to them, and call them by name.

If presenting over Zoom, don’t ask to be put in spotlight view. You won’t be able to see anyone, and this makes it nearly impossible to build rapport. Instead, ask the host to keep you in gallery view. Then you can individually connect with them and invite someone to join you on stage. Once on stage, this would be a great time to spotlight the two of you and you can build incredible rapport with this one person. Then go back to gallery view.  Be creative.

Use the spotlight feature for panels of two or more people. When you build rapport with the panel or small group of your audience, you build rapport with the entire audience because the audience will experience rapport vicariously through their actions and words. It’s really cool to watch.

Lastly, when a speaker hides behind their PowerPoint slides it affects who listens. If the speaker is not watching their audience because they are so busy with their PowerPoint, they are giving their audience permission to multitask, turn off their video, and not pay attention. If the audience doesn’t hear at least 80% of your presentation, chances are they will not take action at the end of it. If you are going to use  PowerPoint, always check in with your audience.

With a virtual audience, you need to be with the audience at least 75% with the audience. 25% of the time you can use spotlight and PowerPoint. Don’t use a PowerPoint presentation more than 25% time. If you reverse this advice and have the PowerPoint on 75% of the time, your sales will reflect it.

Mistake 2: No Energy

Why is this a problem? Too often, speakers sit behind their desks and deliver their presentations. When we sit our body is relaxed and we have no energy. It’s like we’re in a boardroom. It’s a whole different vibe.

Typically, if you are the speaker, the audience sits down and the speaker stands up. How do you stand up as the speaker on the virtual stage? Get a stand-up desk. There are some that you can put right on top of your desk for a couple of hundred dollars. That’s what I use. And every time I speak, I stand up. Why? I want to have more energy! Also, I may want to move around and grab props.

Props are a great way to boost the energy in the room and keep your audience’s attention. Try using props in your next virtual presentation. Select the right props for your topic, speech, and your audience. I use props that are fun like clappers, signs, or pompoms. Be creative, have fun, and feel the energy rise.

Mistake 3: No Invitation

No invitation or call to action. Yes even in the virtual world speakers need to provide a way their audiences can get more. It is our duty as a speaker. There are several invitations that can be delivered in the virtual world. You can invite your audience to email you, grab a free gift from a landing page, schedule time with you, purchase tickets to an event, or even buy something from you. Either way, invite them to take action. Any action is better than no action.

Your invitation needs to be well thought out and well prepared. If your invitation is to offer a strategy session, then have the link to schedule that session copied from your browser and ready to paste into the chat when the time comes. Don’t just have it on the PowerPoint. Give them a live link in the chat. Live links start with https://, otherwise, it won’t clickable. You can do the same thing with a link to a free gift or another offer.

If the host directs you not to put anything in the chat, then simply tell people “I’m on social media. I’d love to talk to you. Reach out to me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.” Another way to invite them to connect is to say, “If I’ve moved you in any way, please reach out to me on social media.” Make it exciting so they want to come and talk to you.

Yes, there are plenty more mistakes speakers are making when speaking in the virtual world. These are the most common mistakes that will affect your speaking results the most. And they are the easiest to avoid! Happy speaking.

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