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Friday, March 20, 2009

4 Tips for Webcast Public Speakers Using Their Computer As A Teleprompter

No More Lecturn. Use Webcam and webcasts to capture a global audience.I just got some exciting news.

Laura Nortz, director of instruction and training, got double-booked for next Thursday and Friday. She’ll be down in Columbus doing one of our short programs and she tapped me to take her place in the coming High Impact Presentations program that is also happening next Thursday and Friday, March 26 and 27.

Laura was scheduled to work the review room where instructors get to work with individuals in reviewing their video presentations. I like working the review room because not only do we get to review the participants’ performance but we also get to address all kinds of cool things like how to translate those public speaking skills over to other areas of our business lives, such as video conference calls and webcam presentations.

Speaking of webcam presentations, if you’ve spent any time on YouTube, you will notice a remarkably high number of regular people now posting their own videos for display. People like you and me, using an arsenal of consumer electronics including digital cameras, cell phone cameras, and webcams to record and display their life moments as well as their business promos so they can stream them from their websites.

Remember the blender that could blend anything from BlendTec?

Viral video business product promo.

Vince Offer’s Shamwow and his SlapChop?

Now an online sensation and entertaining pieces of salesmanship.

And while these were probably created using professional video equipment, the type of media used (video) along with the content (effective public speaking sales promotion) are the same things that we can use to promote ourselves and help us get a job, advertise our small business or just plain old shameless promotion for our website.

Wait a minute… Using a video presentation as a resume to find a job?

There was a time when putting a picture on your resume was frowned upon. Who would have that video would be a factor in your favor?

So how do you know what to say and how do you say it well? That’s where the public speaking part of it comes into play.

Someone sent me a video email the other day and here’s what I noticed:

  • Everything that he did was noticeable. I’ve been told that the camera catches everything. Actually, I think it focuses our attention. If you consider that the field of human peripheral vision is almost 180 degrees, then when you are a speaker, you have to work extra hard to bring your audience’s attention back to center on you and away from all of those wonderful distractions happening around you. However, when you are boxed into a television set, or a 320X270 online webcam box, then the TV or webcam frame does a lot of that work for you. There’s nowhere for them to go without breaking out of the frame. So they’re focused on everything that you do and they see everything you do, including that strange lip tick that you were unaware of and all your eye movements.

  • We can see you looking at your notes. Eye movements are really noticeable now. Imagine having a face-to-face, one-on-one conversation with a friend. And while you are speaking with them, you noticed that they keep looking down and to the left. After that happens a few times, you begin to wonder, “Did I spill coffee on my sleeve? Maybe I didn’t clean up as well as I should have after my trip to the rest room!” Now consider what your audience will think when you keep looking off screen to consult your notes. Yeah, they probably think that you are looking at your notes. But, it’s still distracting. This is one of the things that I kept noticing about my friend in the video that he sent me. There were times that were really obvious when he needed to move his eyes down and off to the left to pick up more information from his notes. And it was distracting.

  • Reading your presentation from a script should be avoided. It’s tough. It’s unwieldy. It’s too easy to loose your place. And typically, the presentation comes across as stilted and stiff, not to mention the tendency to stutter and stumble as you run through your script. If at all possible, don’t read your script on video, unless, of course you are extremely skilled at using a teleprompter and you practice, practice, and practice beforehand.

So how do you stand in front of a webcam or a camera and give your presentation in a dynamic and engaging fashion without reading from a script and coming across as stiff?

Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Webcam position. Webcams are now installed in machines being built today. They are positioned right on top of the screen. Those Logitech units that you can buy at any consumer electronics store can be place anywhere. Don’t put your webcam off to the side - put it on top of the screen for better face access.

  2. Look into the light. Looking off to the side can be distracting to your audience. In order to come across as addressing your audience in a one-on-one conversation, you need to look at the little green/orange light right on top of your webcam. One way to minimize eye movements when reviewing your notes is to put your notes on your computer, not on a piece of paper on the side of your laptop or keyboard. You can do this with your favorite text editor, or you can use this online teleprompter. If you're creating a webcam video for loading into your YouTube account or doing a Google video chat, you’re probably already online. You can find the online teleprompter here or in the Usable Resources section on the sidebar at salesittech.com.

  3. Put your notes on screen. Eye movements will still be visible, even with our notes right below the webcam. So focus on putting your main points on the teleprompter and use those as cue points in your video presentation, just like you would for an in-person presentation.

  4. Don’t read or memorize your talk. In his writings and teachings, Carnegie advocated not memorizing your presentations in public speaking engagements but to gather as much knowledge as possible on your topic and to practice, practice and then practice some more. So if you are speaking in front of a webcam, or an audience of 500 people, you need to come across to your audience with excitement, enthusiasm and energy. That means speaking from the heart about something that you are passionate about, not reading it from your teleprompter.

For these and other ideas on creating a viable video presence to market yourself or your business, review the principles of platform presentation skills in Carnegie’s book, The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking.

And if you are in the Cleveland area, join us for an exciting two days with a new application for those public speaking skills.

Good Selling!

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