The need to transition to virtual speaking engagements is not easy for me. As someone who loves public speaking and delivering in person training, not being able to do so right now is very difficult. I struggle with staring at my screen talking to my camera as a teaching mechanism. I get asked all the time to speak at virtual user group meeting and online conferences but usually kindly decline. Now that virtual events are our only avenue to speak, I am forcing myself out of my comfort zone and trying a few on for size.
There are a several reasons why this is not my first choice in delivering content. First, I LOVE audience engagement. This is tough to accomplish via camera but can be done, it is just not the same. I am very much an extrovert and thrive on seeing attendees absorbing my content and engaging in conversation before and after my talks.
Two, I have a ton of distractions at home and I find it very hard to focus when I speak live. With two teenagers and cats roaming the house I am constantly dreading the possible embarrassing interruptions.
Three, I am worried about Virtual Conference\Computer fatigue. Now that everyone is working from home we find ourselves sitting at our computers for not just work but for outside social engagement such as Virtually Happy Hours, Family Zoom Calls, shopping, getting our news and anything we can amuse ourselves with while we are social distancing. That means we are or will be getting tired of being at our computers, when work is done, we want\need to step away. The motivation to stay there longer to participate in a virtual training event is getting harder and harder to do.
However, with today’s world as it is, I find I need to adjust if I want to continue to speak this year. So I’ve submitted to a couple virtual conferences and last week stepped out of my zone to deliver a live streamed session to 11,000 people at the C# Corner Public Speaking Virtual Conference on this very topic (I start at min 48). Several other speakers and I talked about the do’s and don’ts of public speaking regardless if you are a new or seasoned speaker.
One thing I’ve notice that the ability to reach a wider audience is a huge benefit of virtual speaking. I am able to deliver my content to others that would not normally be able to attend in person events. As a speaker it is really a great way to teach a broader audience and expand to international speaking. If you are like me and struggle with speaking virtually, I completely understand. I would challenge you to submit to at least one event and give it a try.