Ready for the way business communication will be conducted from now on?
If you answered yes, you probably realize that video will be part of that future. Or if not video, then webinars, podcasts, or online learning. In other words, some form of virtual engagement for your business or other pursuits will increasingly be part of your professional life. And that means learning the art of speaking virtually.
The Future Is Here. Do You Recognize It?
The world of business, nonprofits, and government is constantly evolving—and one of the most important changes today is communicating in the virtual environment. Increasingly, then, you will be called upon to conduct your business virtually.
That may mean an array of applications, from webinars, teleconferences, video conferencing, or video appearances where you speak to audiences in front of the camera. You will need to be both an informed consumer and a provider of the product in some or all of those cases.
Video in particular will be a key driver of personal and organizational success. In fact, it already is. Consider the following:
The average American adult spends an average of 19 hours per month viewing online videos. Sixty percent of videos viewed are consumer products videos. Fifty-two percent of people say those videos helped them make a decision.
Are you ready to offer the videos you and your organization need to join this stream?
The Virtual You
You may have read articles or books on preparing an online or virtual presentation. But have you given any thought to how to speak in those settings? If you’ve participated in webinars, you probably realize that the spoken performance in these offerings rarely matches the content being delivered.
To conduct business in the 21st century, then, you need the awareness and skills of an effective performer. That’s good news on two fronts: first, these are the same public speaking skills you’ve heard about all your professional life; and second, you can draw upon these techniques without learning something new and exotic for the videotaped and virtual speaking you’ll be doing.
The World of Virtual Business
If you accept the fact that your customers, colleagues, and the rest of your industry will increasingly receive information virtually in the 21st century, you’ll be poised to learn how to speak in that world.
One way to do so is by strengthening your relationship with your virtual audience. And that means performing effectively in that environment. Tools to do so include vocal dynamics, body language, use of language, and “speaking visually” (painting word pictures in listeners’ minds). It also means keeping your audience’s attention when distractions compete for your listener or viewer’s full engagement.
Another essential skill in the virtual environment is leading your online audiences through your presentation. Have you participated in webinars where you don’t know where to look on the screen while the presenter is talking? Instead, tell your viewers where to look on your slide, since you’re like the camera in a movie that directs the audience’s gaze exactly where it needs to go.
One Last Word: Video!
If you’re not convinced yet that video is in your future, consider this fact: Videos are 53 times more likely to get indexed than text-only content. (And you have to have a ‘big pop’ in the first 15 seconds, because that’s when a significant drop-off in viewer interest occurs.)
You can tap into the video universe in different ways: on a website, in a blog, on online video sites, in social media, email marketing, online advertising, and embedded in QR codes. If the performance skills you need aren’t in your DNA, a good speech coach can help you learn them. What matters most is that you get your mind in the right place, knowing both that the future is here, and you should be a part of it.
 Source: Presentation by Melissa Albano-Davis, “Video Marketing and Optimization,” at Constant Contact event, “Get Social Media Savvy for 2014,” Waltham, Mass., December 10, 2013.
 (Albano-Davis, 2013).