Darrell "Coach D" Andrews Virtual Motivational Consultant, Strategist, Speaker and Coach! at Darrell Andrews Enterprises
A few weeks ago, I had the honor of conducting a keynote speech for a summer summit hosted by the US Department of Education. They were not sure how many attendees would participate, but close to 2000 people registered. I conducted my keynote on ZOOM, but the Department had it set up to see USDOE leaders in the green room, but could not see the audience. After the presentation, one of the directors asked me, "How did you give such a powerful keynote speech, one that moved us all, to a computer screen?" My response was simple; "I was not speaking to a screen; I talked to 2000 people from the stage!" In my mind, I was on that stage-and many of the body gestures, mannerism, I used offline, I used online. The follow-up from the attendees has been non-stop. I was on a conference call with a group yesterday, and their director said she had never seen a speech like that in her life. What we have to keep in mind is--it was online! She said this about an online presentation!
The disruptive innovation (Innovation that forces you to change) resulting from COVID19 has hundreds of millions of people now meeting, educating, training, and teaching online. The challenge with this is many of these people were thrust into a world where they have no idea how to motivate their audience using online tools. Many were simply told, "Go home and do it." No training, no coaching-no nothing! Add to this working from home with a million distractions everyday-how can anyone effectively do their job online? Well, I have a few suggestions to help:
Teachers motivate their students.
Managers engage their staff.
Workforce Development professionals inspire their clients.
Anyone who now has to engage people online-engage them!
Strategy #1-See Yourself There With Them
This strategy is going to take a little mental manipulation. The mind will take what you give as real; that is why commercials' suggestive power is so strong. You see a pizza on the screen, and immediately you call Papa Johns or some other location and order that pizza. In your mind, you are eating that pizza, and it has already arrived, even though it is being delivered! You are putting the plates out, getting the cups ready for the drinks, and the pizza has not come as of yet. In your mind, however, it has. This is the same mentality we need to have when presenting online. We need to make people feel like we are there with them, even though we are not. Listed below are a few strategies to assist with making this a reality.
Strategy 2-Smile Often and Use Offline Body Gestures!
Not to sound arrogant, but I have a charming smile online:-) Ok, that does sound arrogant-but several of my presentation attendees have told me as such. What they don't realize is this is planned. Besides speeches, my team and I conduct full-day training programs and on-going consulting/coaching projects. I know that the person on the other end of my camera may have a million things going on in their home when I am presenting to them. I have to make them feel welcomed and appreciated. Nothing does this more effectively than smiling. A flat sort of static face is a killer during the long-term training events. To have to stare at a person spitting our information while I am on the couch at home is a killer. Also, use the same body language gestures you used offline to engage your audience. Laugh, use your hand when you are making serious points, take your voice up at the high points and down when serious. That leads me to strategy #3.
Strategy3-Your Voice Becomes More Important Than Your Body.
Your voice is powerful on stage, but if you have a commanding presence, you can get away with a few slip-ups here and there. Online, your voice is king. If you are monotone, nervous, or anything else, it is live and clear on the camera. In order to perfect this, one must practice online-like we would offline. Proactive voice inflection, telling stories into the computer screen like you were there, asking questions, etc. I will admit full-day training is brutal online, but I have been successful at them because of using the tools mentioned above. One recent series of training sessions we conducted went for 8.5 hours, and the attendees did not want to get off the web training. I had to tell them several times, with a smile on my face, it was over! We had them so engaged; they did not want to leave! It takes skill, practice, and yes sometimes coaching-to accomplish this goal. However, you will have to realize that strengthening your voice is critical because it is your most potent tool online!
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We have been empowering people offline for two decades. We now do the same online-and help others to achieve the same motivational goals with their audience, students, or staff.