Public speaking has changed over the years. It continues to evolve, morph, and change into the exciting medium it is today. In the past, however, public speaking was when a speaker delivered a speech behind a lectern, oftentimes boring their audience, and it would go on for what seemed like an eternity.
Today, speaking times are much shorter than in the past. As a speaker, we are lucky if we have ten to fifteen minutes to deliver a heartwarming talk. There are other changes too. The major one is that speaking has gone virtual. This created a multitude of new speaking trends, practices, and techniques.
New Trends in Public Speaking in the Virtual World
Let’s take a closer look at the new trends in public speaking:
The virtual speaking arena is gaining popularity. Today, 67.3 % of all speeches will be delivered on a virtual stage. It looks like the virtual speaking world is here to stay so it’s important to keep up with the virtual trends of speaking.
1. Speaker Responsibilities
In the virtual world, the speaker is responsible for their own stage. This includes their background, microphone, and lighting. If you have put off buying expensive equipment thinking that we will all go back to speaking live, think again. It’s time to invest and set your virtual speaking stage.
2. Connection with the Audience
When speaking in the live world it’s easy to go up to an audience member and touch them and look them in the eye. You can point them out and invite them to participate on stage with you. It’s different in the virtual world. It’s challenging to connect with your audience, but not impossible.
To connect with your audience, you need to use your energy and lots of it. You need to pump up the energy so high it feels like you’re coming through the screen. Most speakers have not been able to do this effectively. The simplest way to get your energy up is to purchase a stand-up desk so you can stand up while speaking just like you would on a live stage. Unfortunately, most virtual speakers sit down while delivering their presentations. This stops the energy from flowing and creates a relaxed environment. Don’t do that! You will have more energy when you stand up and deliver the speech as if you are on stage.
Also, if you want more audience connection, create ways to have audience participation. Don’t be afraid to call someone out since you can see them and their name on the screen. Get them to unmute and participate. This is a huge opportunity most virtual speakers miss. Think of it this way, If you were with a live audience you might ask them to raise their hand or bring them on stage to be with you. Most virtual speakers just talk at their audience with little effort to reach them emotionally. As a speaker, you need to find ways to open their hearts and not just their minds.
It looks like virtual speaking is here to stay. Over the past two years, it has proven to be a great way to reach and connect with more people all over the world.
Connecting at Hybrid Events
Think of a rubber band, after it’s stretched it goes back to its original size? When you pull on a worn piece of elastic that has already been stretched out it doesn’t go back? No. That is exactly what is happening to public speaking venues today. We are already seeing virtual, live, and hybrid events. Hybrid events are simply a combination of live and virtual together.
The hybrid event model offers its only unique challenges. During a hybrid event, the experience will be different for both audiences and the speaker. If the speaker is speaking at the live event with two types of audiences (live and virtual), the speaker will likely focus on the live audience members that are directly in front of them. This leaves the virtual audience with a subpar experience. This may create a feeling of being left out which could lead to them not wanting to come back to future events.
To adapt to this new hybrid model of speaking, speakers need to learn how to manage the two different types of audiences in a hybrid environment.
You can change where the physical audience sits. Ask the participants to move their chairs so you can see the computer screen behind them. Think of the screen as an extension of the live audience. As the speaker, you can then see both audiences at the same time. This will give the live audience the experience of being in the front row, and the virtual audience can see the audience and the speaker and feel like they are in the room too. Also, with the screen behind the live audience, you can focus in one direction without having to turn your head to speak to both audiences. This works like a gem!
How To Keep Evolving Your Speaking
Yes, the art of public speaking is constantly evolving and will be for years to come. What is important as a speaker is to keep up with new trends and to keep learning.
Also, watch other speakers. You can learn a lot from going to events and watching how top speakers work the crowd in the virtual, live, and hybrid worlds. The hybrid stage is a challenge for many speakers. That’s why you need to continuously evolve as a speaker and be prepared for almost anything. This will bring you the speaking success you desire.
How to Become a Profitable Speaker
These blogs will discuss more ways you can become a profitable speaker: