“I had it everything planned, how could it go wrong?” You tell yourself at the end of an online presentation. After spending days enhancing your material, preparing your visuals, rehearsing, researching well your audience, the glory fell apart because of one unexpected factor: your voice.
Nowadays we can hardly escape a day without virtual meetings, and if you are active as a speaker most of your talks are indeed virtual talks. Unlike some people think, speaking remotely is harder than in front of a live audience. Most professionals put all the money and effort in the video: buying a fancy camera, learning to use backgrounds, etc. which is absolutely necessary. But not enough. You must invest on the sound of your voice. So how can you sound great on virtual talks?
Why you don’t sound good in virtual talks and meetings
There are many reasons why your audience doesn’t hear the best version of your voice. Some of them are:
• Issues with network connection and the video conferencing tool
• Quality of the microphone
• Monotony, lack of melody
• Weak sound of your voice
How to sound great on virtual talks and meetings
Let’s analyze the top five strategies to sound great on virtual talks and meetings.
1. Stand up
When people are sitting, it’s hard to maintain a straight position for a long time and this is why we tend to curve our bodies. Such curved posture is like having our lungs on a tight cage which leaves very small room to produce a strong sound. In contrast, when you stand up, your lungs enjoy free range thus your body is in the position of producing a richer and stronger version of your voice. Try now, stand up, inhale, and notice how you can easily fill your lungs with air.
The other advantage of standing while speaking is that you will feel more dynamic as you can move your whole body (e.g. using your arms, legs, core) to express yourself better.
So whenever you have to talk, stand up.
2. Use a quality microphone
If you want to sound professional, upgrading your microphone is a must. Built-in mics from a laptops or phones are not enough. Similarly, a cheap headset will not help too much. Those two options are fine for chatting with friends and family, but unacceptable for someone who is leading a meeting or talking with customers.
A first good option is an external microphone such as Blue Snowball or Jabra Speak series.
If you prefer a wireless option that has earphone and mic on a single product, make sure you invest in a good one. Cheap Bluetooth headsets are troublesome when pairing devices, lose signal quality when you move far from the paired device, and the battery runs out too quickly. Invest in a good one if you choose that path.
All modern external mics have the advantage that on top of digitizing your voice, they also process it and adjust your loudness to a level that is suitable for online video conferencing tools.
3. Beware of your speed
In every conversation, both in person and remote, speaking calmly is a sign of confidence and always gives a good impression. On conference calls, speaking slowly and clearly is even more important. Due to delays and occasional short disconnections, a speedy speaker will be lost by their audience sooner than later. Also, speaking fast can lead you to feeling nervous and out of control. Speaking calmly will lead you to the opposite feeling: relaxed and in control.
If you are pre-recording locally, instead of speaking live, then you can speak at faster tempo as there is no risk of losing words in the transmission.
4 . Enhance your melody
In virtual events, your audience will be more distracted than in a real event, take it for granted. However, no audience can ignore a speaker who speaks with energy.
Speaking with melody is the opposite of being monotonous, flat. Melody will ensure that your words come sharply and people feel the stress you make in certain words. Ultimately, if there are connection glitches that a few words hard to catch, speaking with melody will help your audience recognize those words as they will match your expression. All in all, your audience will follow you more if you sound dynamic.
5 . Warmup your voice
Already for many years we have been living in a world in which text communication is dominating. It’s not rare that the first time you speak to someone is in the afternoon, many hours after you woke up and started working. As your voice hasn’t warmed up enough, it will sound inevitably weak. That is why warming up your voice is very important.
Find and learn some vocal exercises and practice them regularly. Even if you don’t do it daily, when the day of your virtual talk comes you will have ready-to-do exercises to ensure the power of your voice is back just in time for the action.
To sound great in virtual talks and meetings, you need a bit of technology, change some habits and naturally a lot of practice. Virtual talks and meetings are a very different way of communication we are not used to, so don’t underestimate it. Following these five principles, you will not only ensure success, but you will stand out of the crowd. Enjoy your new voice!