Updated: Nov 19, 2021
Zoom fatigue continues to be an issue. Here is what you can do to have people paying attention to you during online presentations
Claudia S. Herrmann
CHF Consulting Group, LLC
After almost two years where we have been forced to interact mainly online for business, work and social purposes, and even when we are back to meeting people in person again, many people continue to be “zoomed out”. From social gatherings where people continue to broadcast themselves from their beds in their pajamas, to endless work-related meetings with people continuing to interact with their colleagues while at the same time having to mind their children’s online classes, to educators feeling frustrated at the lack of engagement of their students, to constant bad news coming from the media, zoom fatigue is very real.
Online presentations, classes, and social interactions have come to stay. To avoid your audience from disengaging, here’s what you need to do:
Don’t cross your arms thinking that better times will just materialize. Don’t let your financial and personal wellbeing in the hands of others or leave it to variables that you can’t control. But it is you who needs to make it happen. Write a business plan for your life and then one for your new endeavor. Take your online presence to the next level by learning how to adjust lighting, lens height, microphone settings, using neutral backgrounds.
The ongoing turmoil is forcing us to adapt in previously unimaginable ways, so it’s likely that what you have been doing until recently probably won’t work anymore or won’t work as well as it used to. Technology is your greatest ally, use it to assist you in your new endeavor. This means investing in better hardware with greater computing power to avoid screen freezes and other tech glitches.
Invest in yourself
Learn, learn, learn! In today’s world it’s amazingly easy to acquire valuable knowledge with little or no money. Think of all the online training you can get at websites such as Coursera and even from videos posted on YouTube. Uncle Google is your best ally in finding those information resources you need for your new endeavor. Become a trainer too! You're good a something, so you can monetize it. Online courses are popular and growing exponentially. Learn how to speak in public, whether it's an online or a live audience.
Research about your new business
Almost all human activities can be monetized. Human creativity is virtually limitless. There’s a good chance that somebody has come up with the same idea as you have, or something close to it. Do your homework and learn what others have done. Compare your ideas to others’ existing businesses (do your benchmarking), write down what you would improve if it was your business, write your business plan, get a mentor and closely review your resources. Think big but start small. If you’re rightfully concerned that mistakes can be very costly, look for a more structured alternative to start your business. Franchises and MLM businesses are very good options, as they take much of the risk of committing errors out of the equation. Franchises offer a more elaborate structure but are pricier. If you consider becoming a distributor of an MLM company, make sure it’s a reputable company with excellent products and a solid educational system to support you.
Regardless of the business, plan on giving online presentations and prepare for them.
Change your background
Zoom allows you to change your background, so make sure to use this feature if you don't have an uncluttered office setting behind you. Just make sure that the background doesn't compete with your face and torso and creates distraction. Simple neutral backgrounds are best and they add a new dimension to your online interaction. If you are promoting your business, channel success by picking a beautiful luxurious location.
Life presents enough challenges, so take on the lighter side of it during your online interactions. If you’re approaching a serious topic, schedule in some laugh breaks. Tell a funny story about yourself or tell a joke. Laughter is contagious and it’ll change your and your audience's mood instantly.
Show genuine interest in your audience
Usually, people start a conversation with the question, “how are you”. If you use this phrase as an opener, make sure you’re really interested in the answer. Listen actively, that is, remember what your audience shared. Make poignant questions. When you show you really care how someone is will help you to build rapport and have a great interaction.
Ask your audience to mute themselves and turn on their cameras. My experience is that Latinos are especially reticent to do this, but I insist on it, so I can have a genuine interaction. Make your audience participate by answering questions and turning on their cameras when they do so.
Whether you are the presenter or a member of the audience in an online meeting, arrive a few minutes before. There is a chance somebody else is already there, so you have a fantastic opportunity to strike a short conversation that can continue after the meeting is over and bond with other people. Share something personal and make it funny to get in a cheerful mood before the meeting starts.
If you are the presenter, start at least 15 minutes early to check your settings and making sure your tech works. This includes setting up your PowerPoint presentation and making sure it fires up. This rule applies to any presenter you invite to give a lecture, class, workshop, or seminar.
For more information on how to give riveting online presentations, click here Slow Blink Training Program | CHF Consulting Group