Tips on Virtual Speaking

Whew! I just finished my first virtual reading last Thursday. It was a fun time with other great authors (see flyer below). Plus, it even raised much-needed money for a Minneapolis nonprofit & an amazing bookstore.

After this speaking experience, I tweaked some advice for typical real-time readings and learned to:

1) Look at audience
When speaking to a live audience, it’s definitely good to break contact from the page and visually connect with listeners. A few of the other authors did a great job reading from their story and making sure to pause and look at the audience. I tried it as well, but got a little thrown off because when I looked up…I saw myself on the screen!

Final verdict: If you can glance up once in a while without getting distracted by your online self, go for it!

2) Enunciate
Since people aren’t reading the page along with you, it’s always best to enunciate and slow down in presentations. I definitely tried to do this, particularly since there’s no feedback from the audience during a virtual reading. I want to make sure they’re able to understand all my words.

Final verdict: Go slow and go bold! Make sure to have headphones or earbuds, too, since they’ll help with the sound.

3) Do the voices
Act like it’s storytime at the library. It’s important to be able to differentiate between characters. I tried to do this by varying speech pacing, word vocabulary, and complexity of sentences.

Final verdict: Let the inner actress shine! It’s hard enough to convey emotion on a stage, but with extra tech bumps and glitches, you must differentiate the dialogue. At the very least, it’ll look like you had fun, and that positive impression will stay with the audience.

Do you have any other tips/observations for online events, casual conservations, or formal presentations?

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