I’ll be honest, I’ve found it pretty hard to build momentum this year. I’ve got a lot of exciting projects and collaborations in the works for 2022, but very few firm dates for anything.
With all the Omicron uncertainty, it feels like folks have been reluctant to put things on the calendar.
And I 100% get it. I’ve been dragging my feet on all sorts of commitments.
There are flights to be booked, calendars to be coordinated, and plans to be made.
It’s all going to get done, but I’m finding every stage more effortful than usual.
And I don’t think I’m alone in this.
I’ve been hearing it from my clients as well. This winter, everything has just felt a touch more effortful than usual.
Returning emails. Keeping the fridge stocked. Finding time for creative projects.
Usually they burst into the New Year feeling wildly motivated.
This year, they’re feeling motivated, but they’re also feeling tired.
Which is why I wanted to keep this week’s blog nice and easy.
I’m going to share with you 3 tricks that will immediately improve your online presentations that require almost zero extra effort.
That’s right. Another day we’ll discuss some fundamental techniques that require effort and practice, but today I’m all about easy wins. Let’s get into it.
1. Lose the roller chair.
So many clients come to me claiming that they are incapable of sitting still during a presentation. They lament that they’ve “always been a fidgeter” and no matter how many times they mentally command themselves to sit still!, when they watch the tape back their presentation makes them downright seasick.
And while I’m all about checking in with the breath, and cultivating grounding techniques, and all that good stuff, my first question for them is usually,
“Do you own any chairs that don’t have wheels on them?”
Let’s start with the easy solution first.
If you have trouble keeping still, grab a stationary chair. You literally will not be able to move as much as you can in a roller chair.
Don’t beat yourself up for being fidgety. That’s exhausting.
Focus instead on removing some of the environmental factors that cause you to fidget.
Speaking of, let’s talk about how to effortlessly add some executive presence to your presentation by improving your posture.
(Spoiler alert: It’s not pilates. My suggestion is much simpler and dumber…)
2. Don’t leave room on your desk for your elbows.
I always laugh when I get compliments on my posture during meetings.
The truth is, I don’t have particularly good posture. Anyone who’s been to a movie night with me can attest to this. I will melt into the nearest couch cushion like a creature with no bones.
The reason I exhibit good posture over Zoom is that I’ve given myself no option of places to slouch.
My desk chair doesn’t have arms, which means I have no way to slouch side-to-side. (Unless I want to fall out of my chair, which would be a pretty good way to liven up a meeting…)
I’ve also moved my computer and monitor to the very edge of my desk so I’m not tempted to slouch forward with my elbows up.
Make your life easier. Instead of wasting mental energy fighting the temptation to slouch, just remove the environmental factors that allow you to.
That brings us to my final easy February fix, which is...
3. Move your notes closer to your camera.
In past blogs, I’ve talked about the benefits of learning how to fake eye-contact on Zoom.
When you look directly into the camera while speaking, you create the illusion of eye-contact for the person behind the camera, which can be a powerful way to connect with the audience.
That said, I know staring directly down the barrel of the camera can be a big ask if you’re not used to it.
Most folks find their eyes repeatedly drawn away from the camera as they turn their attention to the gallery of viewers or to their notes.
If that sounds like you, let’s talk about a simple solution that will get you halfway there.
Simply position the thing that’s drawing your eye as close to the camera as possible.
Are you constantly tempted to look at the audience?
No problem! Position the gallery of faces on the center of the screen and as close to your camera as possible.
The same principle goes for your notes.
Instead of printing out your notes and needing to repeatedly look down at them, have them in a Word document centered on your screen. As you scroll through your notes, try to keep the text you’re reading as close to the top of your monitor as possible. When you do this, you’ve essentially become your own teleprompter.
Both of these adjustments will keep your eye line close to the camera without you needing to fight your natural instincts.
Once again, we’re looking for the 20% effort that will yield 80% of results.
So there you have it! Those are my 3 top tricks for creating more stage presence on Zoom with minimal effort!
Could I have come up with 5? Sure.
But I’m going to take my own advice and try to cultivate some ease this February ;)
Till next time, wishing you lots of cozy ease as you step boldly towards those 2022 goals.
Sara Glancy is an NYC-based actor and public speaking coach and the founder of Speak Masterfully, a service that helps professionals take the stage with less fear and more fun!
Want to nail your next presentation?!
Apply this basic outline to any speaking engagement to feel twice as prepared in half the time!
Apply this basic outline to any speaking engagement to feel twice as prepared in half the time
(without hours of pointless memorization!)