For sales, marketing, or success in meetings, you need to be good at speaking virtually. Here's how to improve your vocal energy for speaking on Zoom!
People have been telling me lately that they don't have enough energy, and they're not happy about it.
Not overall energy, you understand. Speaking energy. Specifically, contributing to meetings or presenting on Zoom. It's a feeling that has accompanied the Covid-19 epidemic.
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It's actually a helpful development. The age of Statues Delivering Data may finally be over. Let's look at two ways we can help it on its way.
Get Yourself in the Performance Mindset
So how do we get more energetic and dynamic in Zoom meetings? Well, it starts with understanding that we're always giving a performance. Day in and day out, we respond to the people and situation around us, and we act (and speak) accordingly.
You've heard the saying, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do?" That's what it means. Without any premeditation or planning, we adjust our persona based on what we think is in everyone's best interest. In fact, we don't even think of it that way . . . it's just part of being human. Think of the difference between the "you" at home with your family, and on stage giving a keynote at a conference. Or for that matter, indulging in baby-talk with your family pet!
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This is fundamental when it comes to presentations, or in any scenario where you speak to others. It means, for one thing, that you don't have to do anything special—including becoming "better" than your present self! It's always just a case of performing at that moment, and in that situation. But it should also remind you that others are counting on you to contribute to the occasion. Remarks that look and sound dull in a Zoom call just don't make the grade these days. If that scares you into giving more of yourself (i.e., being more energetic), that ain't so bad.
Here's another thought, this one from acting: when the "curtain" goes up, a whole new level of energy is required of you. It's why the adrenaline begins to flow; why you get butterflies; and why you know you're challenged to do your best. Your curtain is the webcam . . . when you hit the video button, you're on.
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Give Your Content a Breather, While You Connect!
The other reason people often don't feel energized enough in Zoom sessions, is because they don't collect any raw energy to work with. We all understand that if we don't put gas in our car's tank, we end up sitting in the world's biggest doorstop. Why would your own energy generator (or internal combustion engine or whatever you want to call it) be any different?
In your case as a speaker, your audience is the ultimate energy source. By now, 10 months into the forced use of online meetings, we've gotten much better at functioning in the virtual environment. But we often still make the age-old mistake of relating more consistently with our content than with our audience.
The whole point when you speak is to connect with listeners concerning your topic. It isn't to cough up information, appear to have prepared diligently, or look good. The more you try to connect with listeners rather than deliver information, the more successful you'll be.
Consider this: your information isn't going anywhere. It's still at your fingertips, in whatever form you've prepared it. Your primary task now, in the oral arena, is to talk to others and share what you got. Think about it. When you decide to really try to get through to someone—your spouse, your kids, an old and dear friend who is in distress—doesn't doing so energize you in terms of how you speak?
Aren't you a different person in those moments? You are. Focus with the same determination on getting through to the participants in this online meeting. You'll be energized, all right, and a lot more dynamic.
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Gary Genard is an actor, author, and expert in public speaking training and overcoming speaking fear. His company, Boston-based The Genard Method offers live 1:1 Zoom executive coaching worldwide. In 2020 for the seventh consecutive year, Gary has been ranked by Global Gurus as One of The World's Top 30 Communication Professionals. He is the author of How to Give a Speech. His second book, Fearless Speaking, was named in 2019 as "One of the 100 Best Confidence Books of All Time." His latest book is The Online Meetings Handbook, now available on Amazon. Contact Gary here.