7 December, 2020

Zoom performance anxiety? Follow these expert tips.

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Checklist to deliver better presentations on ZOOM.

Perform better on Zoom with these expert tips.

- How to prepare your script
- Body Language
- Using a teleprompter
- Directing your attendees to take an action
- Organizing your desktop
- Adjusting the camera setting

Prepare your script

- Write for speaking, not writing.
- Short paragraphs of no more than two sentences  
- Sentences should be on the shorter side with pauses for breath
- Use active voice over passive voice. Example.
- Passive voice gets boring because it jumbles up the lively sequence of subject, verb, object found in active voice writing: “Jimi Hendrix shredded the guitar” sounds more alive than “the guitar was shredded on by Jimi Hendrix”, passive voice has the rock, but active voice has the rock n roll.
- Use action verbs: Instead of saying “The Big Lebowski is requesting that you just call him the dude”, try using an active verb “The Big Lebowski wants to be called the dude”.
- Use the present tense. Instead of saying “Cher presented to the class earlier today”, try “Cher says that it does not say R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty.”
- Source: University of South Australia

Body language

- Keep hand and body movements to a minimum.
- Stay relaxed and use open gestures with your hands rather than holding them close to your body.
- Don't tilt your head while speaking as they are only perceived positively when you are listening to someone else.
- Reduce nervous behaviors. Take a deep breath and steady yourself by placing your feet firmly on the floor and your hands palm down in your lap or on your desk.
- Don’t touch your hair or your face when speaking.
- If there is a lull, silence is better than saying “um” or “uh”. In fact, no one really notices a brief silence, they may enjoy a slight break, but people do notice and judge and “um” or “uh”.
- Tips on using body language to present better.

Use an onscreen teleprompter with your ZOOM presentations to stay on script and pace yourself to the time available.

Use a teleprompter

Don't 'wing' an important presentation. Have a script and use a teleprompter to make sure you stay on script, pause for emphasis and pace yourself to the time available.
- Avoid the distraction of looking away at your notes with an on-screen teleprompter such as the free(mium) BigStage Teleprompter app.
- Deliver more persuasive appeals by never looking away from your audience. Online viewers are easily distracted as you look away to refer to your notes.
- Upload your script into a teleprompter that displays your script scrolling in a window above your ZOOM (or WebExGoogle Meet or Microsoft Teams) presentation.
- Adjust the speed to your presentation style.
- Pause the scrolling script to answer questions from the audience.
- Check the BigStage documentation on how to set up your event.
- Tips for looking natural while reading from a teleprompter.

Format your teleprompter script to emphasize your key points and maintain eye contact.
- Add in a stage direction (IN ALL CAPS) at the start and end to remind yourself to look at the camera for five seconds before your start and after you finish speaking
- Capitalize words you want to place emphasis on
- Indicate a slight pause between paragraphs or sections by using dashes
- If you are leading a zoom with other people, designate who is going to say what by typing their name in all caps, surrounded by brackets.

Use call to action buttons to direct your audience to the action you'd like them to take while they watch your presentation.

Calls to action

Direct attendees to take the action you want without disrupting your presentation. Use a free app like BigStage with interactive buttons above the Zoom window. Direct participants to click on the appropriate call-to-action button while they continue to watch your presentation.
- Urge participants to click on the appropriate buttons during your presentation.
- Verbalize the call to action in your script and give participants time to open the links after you mention it.
- Added dashes to your script for pauses while your attendees click on the button you suggested.
- Tips on making better fundraising appeals

Organize your desktop

- Only have two to three windows open on your screen at a time.
- Drag your Teleprompter/ Script/ Talking Points window to the top of the screen, just below the camera, next drag the Zoom/BigStage window below it, followed by any other necessary window to the side of the Zoom window.
- Mute all other applications, especially ones with notifications.

Camera settings

- Maintain eye contact by looking into the camera.
- Position your laptop camera is at eye level once you have adjusted your posture and are sitting up straight.  
- Position your computer by lowering the camera so you don’t have to tilt your head back to gaze up at it.
- Keep the teleprompter at camera-eye level to look natural while presenting.
- Square your shoulders and keeping your head straight especially when speaking
- Keep your arms uncrossed and your feet flat on the floor.
- Push your chair in and get comfortable.

Takeaway: Present like a pro with this checklist and try the free BigStage app.


Image credit: Anastasiia Kamil on Unsplash

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