When we talked about resuming face-to-face meetings and presentations, my colleague mused, “I don’t know if I remember how to speak in front of a real live audience. I think I completely lost the ability to talk.
We laughed, but this exchange made me realize that communicators need to hone skills that we may not have mastered during the pandemic, especially since our past year has focused on written communication, website publishing, and continuous hours of daily work. Zoom meetings (puppies, cats can even tolerate goat Who sometimes ruin our meetings).
Our effectiveness as a communication strategist depends to a large extent on the ability to produce powerful language that resonates with the audience based on the body language, eye contact, and participation of the participants, as well as the ability to read the room. We can better advance our priorities by adjusting those carefully honed face-to-face skills to reflect the new hybrid, highly virtual world we now live in.
Unsurprisingly, the most recent Polls 2,000 Americans over the age of 40 found that “three-fifths of people said the pandemic has severely reduced the’art of conversation’…and 57% believe that engaging and beneficial conversations via phone or video chat are difficult Much.”
As many people return to their offices or new mixed work styles, this research strengthens the basic human need for personal interaction. The pandemic has expanded the channels we now use every day, but effective communication strategies remain the same.
We need to go back to practice. We can begin to re-enter by meeting in person with ready-made audiences: direct reports and close collaborators, who undoubtedly are also eager to advance the organization’s mission more fully, return to projects that have been put on hold in the past year, and engage in dialogue. It has nothing to do with the epidemic.
Follow the COVID-19 guidelines for your organization and gather in person to plan a year when the pandemic is fading away. Encourage rigorous debate and what sociolinguist Deborah Tannen puts it “Cooperation overlap“—Different from interruption—no need to raise your hand. Reconnect.
Getting together in a common workplace helps remind everyone that a common organizational mission and new face-to-face collaboration can lead to stronger ideas and better work products.
Talk about what each colleague has learned from the operation of physical isolation, which can be applied to the current working methods and methods of the team. Remote work brings together colleagues from different fields who may not have worked together in the past. By forming a new work “pod” to deal with the project, in order to establish new connections.
When we re-engage ourselves and adopt new ways of cooperation, we must plan to continue using online communication tools. Zoom will continue to exist. However, it can make individuals feel that they are talking rather than talking to them. We need to make it work for us.
Think about it, when you use Zoom, are your audience really engrossed in your PowerPoint presentations, or are they hiding behind pictures of kids and dogs and doing multiple tasks by catching up with emails and texting? Of course, you may have done this yourself.
At the height of the pandemic, many of us had to rush from Zoom to Zoom, and there was almost no time to get acquainted with the people we met. As we enter a new era of Zoom, let us make time for introductions beyond names and titles; let everyone describe their role and connection to the topic being discussed.
As hostsecond, We need to work harder to attract audiences. Let’s discard the 45-minute PowerPoint presentation with dense copies. Significantly limit the number of slides. Only include the main content with visual effects supporting the message. Then send the background and deck to the participants before the call.
Avoid reading your script—become so familiar that you can have a conversation and pause comments and questions. Remember to take a deep breath and let your audience absorb what you are saying. Open questions and chat for those who don’t want to interrupt the process (a great way to get timid participants to express their opinions).
Unless you really want to give a speech, resist the temptation to have a large number of attendees, or if you have a reason to hold a large Zoom meeting, plan a breakout session so that the attendees can focus on common topics.
Maintaining a group size that can compromise with each other is critical to participation-conducting polls during a meeting can achieve smooth, real-time responses and conversations, thereby increasing the value of participants.
Don’t just practice your speech in advance, but also make sure you can use technology and your positioning and framework are correct. You may not be able to observe the body language of the participants, but you can establish eye contact, animate, and change your facial expressions and tone of voice.
By improving our face-to-face speaking skills and adapting them to the new hybrid model, we can smoothly re-enter the pre-pandemic communication role and make the new tools effectively serve us and our audience.
Nancy Seidman Is the vice president A kindAcademic exchange and reputation leadership At Emory University.