Communicating Virtually with Impact - Some tips from Ger Lally

Learning Waves Skillnet recently facilitated a one-hour workshop with Ger Lally from Ger Lally and Associates on ‘Communicating Virtually with Impact’. 

Lally started the session by highlighting the main concerns around communication, around having to present in any format and the most common concerns we all have about communicating with others are the following :

  • How can I get people to listen to me?
  • Why am I so nervous?
  • How can I keep their attention?

In the virtual world that most of us are now communicating in, we must be much more focused, time is less, we have to prepared, focussed and concise, our style needs to be much more direct and much more focussed.  In this, according to Lally, there is a big opportunity for you to strengthen your communications, for you to build your strength by doing this, and in doing all of this you will master your virtual executive presence. 

Ideally when we communicate we would like to inspire the people we are communicating too, to have a presence about us, to give the right information, to lead when required, to motivate and to ignite action as the final outcome of our communication.

Lally points to the common mistakes associated with virtual communication :

  • Too much information on slides
  • Not being able to see your audience as you are presenting
  • Not having a call to action
  • Not having a very simple message
  • Not having a clear focus
  • People constantly checking devices
  • Eye contact – position your laptop, your device so that you are maintaining eye contact with your audience, like you are sitting across the table from them
  • Book-ending badly, most important parts are how you start and finish your presentation
  • Unprepared and not asking any questions at all, make sure you have question, push yourself, take the risk and speak out
  • Not switching on your video, it has become much more important now that it had been at the start of Covid 19. 

If you express yourself simply and with assertion, it inspires confidence.  You need to make sure you use eye contact and maintain eye contact with your audience.

Some notes for the Host :

If you are the host, make sure you mute everyone, try not to have too many meetings, listen to the questions that are asked, always make sure you look behind so you know what people are seeing, speak clearly and slowly, be concise, have a cheat list(include the key things you want to get across to your audience), don’t drift and pay attention.  The great thing about virtual calls is that there is a time limit.  

3 key areas to focus on :

  • Preparation
  • Focus
  • Delivery

 

Preparation

The first question you always need to ask yourself, ‘are you prepared to deliver your best and how can you constantly improve’.  A good presentation has an objective, it is created with intent and triggers an action,

Things to think about when putting your presentation together :

  • what do I have to say,
  • what do I want to share,
  • what do I want my audience to know and how am I going to present it. 

As a presenter you should always strive to tell a story in your presentation, the best way to be interesting in your presentation is to tell a story, e.g, how the sponsorship worked on the Breakfast programme

Good preparation will allow you to :

  • Know who your listener is
  • Have your 3 main facts prepared
  • Understand why your listener will be interested in your presentation - the So What factor
  • Have a call to action for your audience

In relation to slides, Lally recommends that the number of slides are influenced by how many it will take to best represent your message.  In this regard it is important to remember the Rule of 3 – people are most likely to stick with you if your presentation is broken down into 3 main parts, e.g. 3 reasons why you should sponsor the breakfast show.  Your first and last slide are the most important.

Focus :

  • Make sure your message is simple and clear and Don’t bore us – get to the chorus
  • You should always give your audience the best bit first, remind them again at the end and have a final WOW slide, not a thank you or Q&A slide.
  • Grab the attention of your audience, avoid too much information
  • Your messaging should be measured, careful and simple.
  • Avoid too much information and communicate very simply, very directly and in a very open and transparent way.  This will create a healthy atmosphere and trusting culture in your organisation. 
  • In relation to delivery, Lally once again used a quote from one of the all time great writers, W.B Yeats, ‘think like a wise man but communicate in the language of people'.  In essence make sure your audience understands your message.

 

Delivery :

The delivery of your message involves your message architecture which includes :

  • Your Eyes, we are using our eyes more than ever now in this virtual world
  • Your Facial expression should match the message you are trying to give
  • Your Gestures – using gestures brings a variety to our voice, gestures naturally lift the voice up and down

In terms of making an impact on an audience, you must be aware of the words you use, the way you deliver those words and your body language.  In terms of making an impact on the audience you are presenting to, the breakdown is as follows :

  • 55% body language
  • 38% non verbal
  • 7% of the language you use will be remembered by your audience

Your voice is really powerful, you can influence people, you can inspire people, you can persuade people. Power and strength is hugely important when using your voice.  A strong voice is a confident voice, confidence equals knowledge, equals trust thus indicating that you are the right person to be talking too.  A really important aspect of your voice is your pace.  The most common feedback given by Lally to people is to slow down, to stop, not to go so fast. Lally advises people to stop, to take a breath, to take a drink of water, indicating a natural pause in your presentation.  This gives your audience an opportunity to take in what you have said, to absorb the information, to ask questions and to engage with you.  Remember to emphasise what is important, repitition is a key to making sure your audience remembers the key points of your presentation, the key messages you want to give to your audience.  Tone brings the colour, the energy, the passion and the enthusiasm to your presentation and you can persuade, influence and inspire people by the tone of your voice.  Think about your enthusiasm, your passion and your conviction.  Make sure your message does not get diluted, display expertise, own your content, share it, show passion, be coherent, confident and have a conversation with your audience.

 

To conclude Lally invites you to :

  • Be the very best version of you. 
  • Some tips, place post it notes on your screen, follow up your call with a ‘thank you’ for attending
  • Be clear, be concise and be confident in the material you are presenting
  • Have a clear focus about what you are presenting
  • Get your participants fully engaged from the start, ask them questions etc
  • Let people know what to expect from you from the beginning
  • Start with a spray of perfume, it will make you feel good and that will reflect in your style and confidence!

Always remember :

  • Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.

Ger Lally can be found at www.lallyandassociates.ie

Posted 27th October 2020



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