The skills I have gained from Worthing Speakers since we went into lockdown have been extremely useful in my professional life. I have now given over 50 online presentations at work since March 2020. These are some of the points that I have learnt:
- It requires different skills
Presenting on Zoom and other online meeting platforms is quite different to ‘in person’. I have learnt so much from Worthing Speakers Club this last year. My learning has certainly been accelerated by being part of the club. We are fortunate to have members who have excellent IT skills already – which helped us all move onto Zoom quickly and relatively painlessly.
- Be prepared
As with any presentation. With online meetings more so, you can lose peoples attention if you are not ready. I try to ensure that I ‘arrive’ a few minutes early. I have any notes carefully placed, so that I don’t have to look down too much.
- Your audience can get distracted
I often find myself looking at the speaker’s background. I try and have not too much ‘clutter’ behind me, so that they can concentrate on what I am saying.
Also, people may have their phones on/doorbells ringing/dogs barking, so try to involve your audience if you can. I recently discovered menti.com and really like it for engagement.
- Cameras on is best!
At a recent Toastmasters online event I heard that in a regular meeting, about 50% of people can remember the last thing that was said. By video (camera on) this drops to around one third; with cameras off, it goes down to about a quarter.
- It is fun and inspiring
Even though it can be challenging, we have a lot of fun in our online meetings. Our committee constantly reviews how the meetings are going and what we could do differently; for example we introduced a ‘virtual cuppa’ so that people could talk more easily for a short time in a small group.
I am constantly inspired by fellow members and guests. Whether it is those overcoming technology issues to join or seeing our new members grow in a short time and produce incredible speeches!
I am so thankful that I found this club and I have probably learnt more in the past year than in any other year I have been a member. It has proved so useful and I have had helpful feedback which in turn has helped me in my career.
Do come along – you won’t regret it!