Are we in the new normal? We usually attend meetings in a conference room, at a restaurant, giving pep talks to staff and other employees, up line and downline. We listened to presenters and traveled out of town for conferences, trade shows, seminars, forums, and summits. However, since the dreadful and fast-spreading Coronavirus COVID-19 runs rapport worldwide, we adhere to the advice and direction from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the Health and Human Services Dept. State and local emergency orders are issued instructing the public to Stay-at-Home, Shelter-in-Place, and entire jurisdictions are on lockdown.
Yet, you still need to give speeches, make presentations, and provide positive assurances. All of this is done via virtual conferences, online meetings, and other two-way visuals thanks to Zoom Video Communications, Twitch live streaming, and others in the business.
In December 2019, I wrote an article on my website titled what’s Ahead for you in the New Year? In the piece, I said: “There are various opportunities to display public speaking prowess.” It didn’t occur to me that in April, most Americans and employees throughout the world, for that matter, would become remote personnel.
Same for another article on this site: The Many Occasions for Public Speaking, where I asked the question: “What are the different kinds of events which call for one or more speakers?” Little did I know that in-person conferences, networking events, and other public speaking events would be canceled during March, April, and maybe beyond.
Lastly, the one I wrote: Challenges for Hospital Supply Chains is applicable today. “Hospital supply chains are at the forefront and face the brunt of many challenges to health care.” The shortage of ventilators, medical masks, staff, and lack of bed capacity is confronting every major health care facility nationwide.
Working remotely, or is it Working from Home? There’s a difference; this explanation is regarding the work situation caused by COVID19 and attempts to halt the onslaught of people infected, including social distancing. Remote work (from your home), done by employees who usually perform work at the office or other onsite areas. These days they are working at home. Freelancers and independents typically work at home anyway. Therefore, working from home isn’t new to them. Use whichever terminology your manager or supervisor prefers to use – At Home, From Home, Telecommuter, mobile work, etc. is acceptable.
I offer suggestions for making your life easier as you deliver speeches remotely.
- Organize the speech and have a concise and clear message you want the audience to takeaway. Rehearsing is part of planning. Record yourself beforehand and be mindful of verbal filler words such as ah, um, uh, and other space fillers.
- Deliver the speech in a quiet closed-door room; this will keep away distractions and reduce background noise. If a bookshelf is behind you, the books should be in tidy and neat order, not messy or disheveled.
- Spend time thinking about what you want to say (related to number one) and wherein the speech should it be said; and what your live stream audience reaction might be. Speak in a clear, slower voice than usual. Instill voice inflection, intonation, and pauses.
- Remember to look at the camera. Looking sideways, down, or at the ceiling is not only a distraction, it tells the audience that you lack interest in speaking or lack forethought.
- Be mindful of your appearance. While public speaking from home, speakers still need to dress neat and clean. At home, it doesn’t mean t-shirts and shorts. If shirts need pressing, please do so. Hair combed or brushed, give yourself a manicure if required.
- If a Q and A included, keep shorter than in-person; and toward the end, not at the end. After the q and a session, conclude your speech with more information, and refer to a question asked.
These are challenging times for public speakers, event planners, and organizers, for large, medium, and small businesses. We’re in this era for weeks, maybe months. But I have a vision that this tough time will pass. And public speakers will once again deliver words to live audiences, all together in one assembly.