Whether you’re a professional speaker, salesperson, or team leader, the ability to keep your audience engaged in virtual environments is now more important than ever.
Screen fatigue and distraction are new realties in an online world, which means you need to adjust your presentation style. Stories have always been the best way to engage and influence an audience, but how can you optimize your storytelling for a virtual meeting?
Here are five key tips:
1. Keep it Short
As a keynote speaker and professional storyteller, some of my on-stage stories can last for 15 minutes or more. I love using longer stories to add drama, humour, and entertainment value to my message. However, in a virtual environment, keeping audience attention becomes a challenge. Not only are people likely to be more distracted than they would be in person, but the presenter’s energy can also be affected due to the lack of in-person engagement.
Keeping your key stories to about five minutes or under will speed up the pace of your presentation and ensure that your energy remains high.
2. Have a Clear Message
As a presenter, you should be telling stories that are both engaging and purposeful. After all, you want your audience to learn, do, or feel something that inspires action. Ensuring your story has a clear and powerful message not only keeps your audience focused, but also makes them feel that they are getting value for their time.
3. Make Your Story Easy to Follow
The most powerful stories tend to follow a typical story arc where you:
- Introduce the main character and describe what they want.
- Then introduce a problem that keeps them from obtaining it.
- Eventually, the character hits a turning point. They learn something, and as a result, their fortunes start to rise.
- The story typically ends with the character transformed, having overcome their obstacles because of what they’ve learned.
By following this clear and simple story path, your message will be easily understood by your audience, despite any distractions around them.
4. Use Visuals
Stories help you connect with your audience on both a rational and emotional level. That’s why when telling a story in person, you generally want all of the visual attention on yourself and NOT on a facts-based slide deck. When the focus is on you and the story you’re telling, there is shared energy between presenter and audience.
Unfortunately, a virtual environment can drain that energy. Each audience member is sealed in their own space, making it difficult to feel the excitement or hear the laughter of others.
By using photos to illustrate the emotional points of your story – such as tension, humour, or surprise – you can make it easier for people to follow not only the logic of your narrative but also the feelings that come with it.
If you follow these 6 simple storytelling steps, you’ll be able to engage and connect to your virtual audience in a way that will keep their interest high, while inspiring them into action!
The energy you convey while telling your story is extremely important. During my days in television news, we recognized that most news anchors were much more animated and interesting when they presented their content standing up than they did when sitting at a desk.
By following these six simple storytelling steps, you’ll be able to engage and connect to your virtual audience in a way that will keep their interest high, while inspiring them into action!
If you’re looking to improve your virtual presentation why not contact me for a free 20-minute session to see how I can help