How to perform at your best in online meetings

posted by Lyn Roseaman
24 August 2020

Taking your training session or other meetings online requires a different skill set from speaking ‘in the room’.

How can you communicate online with confidence, connection and a message that drives change?


If we have noticeable nerves our audience can  feel uncomfortable. Online, they may choose to abandon us and stop listening.

To ensure our listeners engage with our message we need to bring confident energy to the screen. This will help them relax and connect with us and what we’re saying.

How can this be achieved?

Look your best. Firstly your surroundings: What’s behind you that the camera will pick up? Are there people or sounds that may interrupt? Does the chosen space support your message?

On the small screen the camera picks up every detail. Is the light behind the camera (to avoid hiding you in shadow)? Is sunshine bouncing flare onto your face? Capture a screenshot to check before you go live.

Handling the tech

In spite of doing all the appropriate tech checks, things can still go wrong. What’s important is that you handle it calmly and efficiently, explaining what’s happening. If possible find someone to manage the tech for you.

Manage your body language

You can convey confident energy online with your non-verbals. For example, an open, stable posture is relaxed and assured. Steady eye contact and positioning of your camera lens at just above eye level helps you look open and sincere.

At conferences some speakers have a queue of people waiting to talk to them.  These speakers had connected, through the value they gave to the audience and the way the speaker made them feel.

Answer the question ‘What’s in it for me?’

As a webinar host you need to answer the all-important question ‘What’s in it for me’, as quickly as possible – so they keep listening. For this, you need to know what makes your participants tick and why they’re attending.

You-focused language

‘You’ is the magic word when it comes to being relevant and engaging online. You-focused language simultaneously creates inclusivity (you plural) and a personal connection with each individual (you singular).

Share a story

Storytelling comes into its own online. Relevant personal stories told openly and honestly, help our listeners relate to us. Stories are engaging and memorable, unlike endless bullet points.

Today, online webinars and conversations are our opportunity to remain visible.

Search engines tell us immediately what’s new and different. To stand out and keep our listeners interested we need to say something timely and on point. Identify your relevant message and incorporate only content that supports it.

Keep to the point

Online attention spans are short so keep to the point.

Make your talk easy to understand.  Consider a clear structure, such as a hero’s journey or pros and cons. Divide it into ‘chunks’ of around five minutes, topping and tailing each chunk with what you’ll be covering and a keyword to sum it up as you move on.

Review what you are doing before your next online webinar, keep improving your skills and you’ll shine online.

 Lyn Roseaman is a distinguished toastmaster at Toastmasters International

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