Whether or not you have experience speaking on stage, it's important to understand that speaking at virtual events is very different from speaking to a live audience.
There are certain things that every public speaker needs to learn to help them become more effective when addressing a virtual audience.
This article takes a look at some of the best practices for preparing for, connecting with, and engaging an online audience so you can get your message across in the most impactful way possible.
So read on to discover the 9 marketing lessons that every public speaker should practice in the virtual world.
1. Keep the Content Easy to Understand
If you want to have an impact on your audience, always aim for simplicity in your content. Simple content creates trust. It's easier to consume and is more likely to be remembered.
When you add fluff, such as meaningless or irrelevant phrases or industry jargon, it almost always leaves a negative impression on your audience.
People have limited short-term memory and attention spans are dwindling. Studies have shown that people prefer presentations that are clear, concise, and to the point, otherwise they easily get confused and frustrated — and that's the last thing you need when trying to persuade them.
So in order to become a better virtual event speaker, always keep your content simple and easy to understand.
2. Know Your Audience
Before you can be an effective speaker, you need to know the types of topics that will resonate with your audience.
When you understand your audience's demographics, such as their general age, gender, religion, education, culture, etc., it makes it easier for you to tailor content that is relevant to their interests.
Audience analysis holds a host of benefits for the speaker. It allows you to carefully plan your message and adapt your speech to their interests so you can have a more powerful impact.
Here are some of the questions you can answer to help you better understand your audience:
How does your audience like to receive information?
What are their hot buttons?
Are they impatient or relaxed?
Are they big-picture thinkers or detail-oriented people?
What do they want, what are the ultimate goals?
What do you have in common?
What do they already know? What do they need to learn?
What is their mood? Is it doubtful, skeptical, frustrated, eager to learn?
What are their fears, doubts, and misperceptions?
Gathering and interpreting data about your audience is important to help inform the success of your speech. It can help you find ways to increase future conversions.
Whether you are presenting oral, written, or visual presentations, this type of audience analysis is crucial to your success as a public speaker in a virtual world.
One way to gather this type of data is by interviewing a small segment of your audience to find out their knowledge and attitudes.
Alternatively, you can use more advanced methods for analyzing audience demographic studies of any relevant groups. This might include sociological studies of different cultural groups, age groups, etc.
The bottom line is that there are many different methods for analyzing audiences, and whichever method you decide to use will help you gain a deeper understanding of your audience so you can make better decisions and ultimately speak in a more impactful manner.
3. Be an Expert on Your Topic
One of the main prerequisites for being a successful public speaker is that you be an expert on your topic.
You need to know what you're talking about as well as being able to express it to your audience in a clear and simple way.
Listed below are a few tips to help you become an authority on any subject.
Niche down. It’s easier to become an expert when you specialize
Make a complicated topic easy to understand (for both you and others) by breaking it down as much as possible
Teach in order to learn. And remember, if you can’t explain something so that a layman can understand it, then you don’t understand it yourself.
Publish a book on your topic to cement your credibility
Write well and plentifully on your subject, including guest posts, to market yourself and establish yourself as an expert
If you want to get creative, there’s nothing wrong with white labeling for yourself, a course that you’ve taken and trust implicitly. If it’s quality content, your value add is to share it.
4. Establish a Clear Brand
When it comes to success as a speaker online, it's all in the details. From your clothing to the language, tone, style, lighting, background, posture, etc., you need to establish a clear brand and maintain consistency in everything you do.
Your first step in establishing a clear brand is to define the general scope of your brand identity. Next, continue refining your personal brand until it's truly unique to you.
Although it might be similar to other speakers’ brands, yours should have aspects that are special to you only.
That's the sort of personal flavor that will make you memorable and refreshing as a public speaker in the virtual world.
Here are a few things you can do to help you create a unique personal brand:
Take professional headshots
Work hard on your social media presence to enhance it
Establish solid media relations
Guest post on authority sites in your niche
Be active in relevant groups and forums
Build a personal website
Having a clear brand identity is how you will establish trust with your audience, and it’s what will set you apart from your competition.
5. Provide a Strong Call to Action
Your call to action is arguably the most important aspect of your speech.
If you have been engaging and persuasive, by the end of your speech your audience will be emotionally invested, which makes it the perfect time to appeal to them to take the desired action.
Regardless of the particular action you want them to take — whether it's to purchase a product, attend a webinar you’re hosting, donate money to charity, etc., a well-crafted call to action can be the difference between your audience doing it or not.
As a speaker, you must provide a strong, clear, and direct call to action that will compel your audience to act quickly.
To make your call to action even more effective, make sure that you:
Lower the barriers to action, i.e. make it easy for them to do it
Focus only on the benefits for your audience, i.e. emphasize what’s in it for them
Customize your call to action for your target audience
When you can end your speech with a great call to action, you will not only make your speech more memorable and persuasive but you will also be able to significantly boost your conversions and take a giant step toward achieving your marketing goals.
As a virtual speaker, it's important to follow-up with your audience after your speech. One of the best ways to do this is by using email.
As part of your branding, you should also have a solid online identity so your audience can easily find you. This includes having a personal website and an active presence on social media.
Whichever channel you choose, make sure you continue to follow up with your audience and give them every chance to connect with you and interact so you can develop your relationships with them.
7. Repurpose Your Content
One way to get the most from your presentation is to repurpose your content when promoting yourself and your brand. This is something many speakers fail to do.
Always record your presentations so you can use the material in different ways later on.
There are a variety of ways you can repurpose your content. For instance, you can create a slideshow or infographic to share on SlideShare or LinkedIn.
You can also use everything you discussed in your presentation, including the ideas, problems, solutions, etc., and write an article for your blog based on that.
Alternatively, you can create an online course focused on those same topics and ideas.
Just be sure to be creative when repurposing your content. Do it in a style that is original so as to avoid repeating yourself.
Even better is to come up with something new to add to each different content format you will be creating.
8. Publish on Major Distribution Platforms
To reach a wider audience and maximize your impact as a public speaker, publish your presentations on multiple distribution platforms, such as SlideShare, LinkedIn, Instagram, your blog, and more.
For instance, you can create carousels with up to 10 slides to share with your audience on Instagram.
When publishing your content, always remember to get straight to the point. Keep your presentations short and engaging so that it's impossible for your audience to skip your content.
9. Always Ask for Feedback
Continually improve your presentation by asking for feedback from your audience. They are in a position to evaluate your performance a lot more accurately than you ever could.
Even more importantly, they can pinpoint any mistakes you made, and tell you whether or not the presentation was clear and easy to understand.
As a public speaker in the virtual world, your audience will also be able to guide you in producing relevant content by telling you exactly what they want to learn next, as well as what interested them but you might have missed during your presentation, and so on.
As long as you continually ask for feedback and act on your audience’s suggestions, over time, you will definitely be able to analyze and improve your performance.
Whether you are an experienced public speaker or you're just starting out as a virtual event speaker, the tips outlined in this article will make a massive difference between a successful and a mediocre online event.
Use them to improve your skills and prepare yourself for an outstanding presentation the next time you speak in front of an audience.
About the author:
Ron Stefanski is an internet business expert and marketing professor who has a passion for helping people create and market online businesses. You can learn more from him by visiting OneHourProfessor.com. You can also connect with him on YouTube or Linkedin.