Master the Art of Virtual Impact

Master the Art of Virtual Impact

Why being clear, concise and full of credible passion is key

I don’t know about you, but it took me far longer than it should have to get used to this virtual working world that was thrust upon us 90 or so days ago. Even as video calls have become the norm, I still desperately miss working in a room with people face-to-face. I miss feeding off the collective energy of an audience, the natural flow of face-to-face conversation, the collaborative nature of face-to-face workshops and the ease with which I used to read a room.

Because let’s face it, it’s difficult to feed off the collective energy on a video call. It’s difficult to gauge the virtual room and change the pace accordingly. It’s difficult to make eye contact and to truly connect with people and it requires so much more focus and energy than face-to-face chat. Yet, love them or hate them, virtual meetings, virtual company updates, virtual workshops and virtual pitches are here to stay, even as lockdown starts to ease.

In an agency new business context, this presents a whole new set of challenges. Shoddy, poorly presented virtual presentations and pitches no longer cut it. How can you ensure you continue to make an impact on the virtual stage? How can you continue to build rapport without physically being in the room together? What needs to be done differently to ensure your ideas land and the client signs on the dotted line?

A good starting point for impact on the virtual stage is to focus on being clear, concise and full of credible passion. It’s about getting right down to the essence of who you are and what you want to say, both as an individual and as a team. The camera, from a TV camera to a simple webcam, loves people who are fully themselves and at ease, yet absolutely distilled. So how can we find that balance?

1.    Be clear

For virtual impact it’s more important than ever to get your thinking crystal clear. Authority on camera is about thought, rather than learning words verbatim. Learning a script and regurgitating it on camera results in a stilted, automated manner which lacks authenticity and sparkle. Instead, think your way through what you’re saying, even if it’s not the same words every time. Work hard to get your thinking clear ahead of the virtual presentation, especially any links from one thought to the next, and you should find you can speak clearly and naturally with greater confidence and authenticity.

2.    Be concise

Long, rambling sentences don’t cut it on the virtual stage. The trick is to be ultra-concise. You need your audience to pay attention. Be specific and don’t bore them with generic, rambling thoughts. Strip out filler words, use simple language and short punchy sentences so that you can project your thinking in a way that is engaging and immediately digestible. Short and simple is good.

On camera, voice energy is what matters. Drive the thought through to the end of the sentence to help your point land. Don’t start thinking about the next line before you’ve finished the words you’re speaking otherwise the energy tails off and the voice dies away.

3.    Be full of credible passion

Credible passion is about getting the balance right between credibility and approachability. Good newsreaders are full of credible passion – they get the balance between ‘take me seriously’ and ‘warm, compassionate human being’ spot on. In an agency new business context you want your prospective clients to respect you, to trust you and to like you, otherwise why would they choose to work with you? You need to find the mix of authority and likeability that works for you and be able to flex between the two according to the moment you find yourself in. If you can draw on credible passion it will allow you to be authentic and help you make a real impact on screen.

So yes, it may have taken me far longer than it should have to get used to virtual meetings, pitches and presentations, but I’ve finally managed to embrace this virtual stage. Now’s the time to help people improve their on-camera skills so that they can have an impact when it really matters. Striving to be clear, ultra-concise and full of credible passion is a great place to start.

If you're eager to elevate your pitching, captivate your audiences, and learn new communication skills to grow and succeed, let's talk.