As a result of the pandemic, everyone is now working from home and digitally. We are using Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and other online forms of communication. I was teaching remotely for the entire Summer semester.
Be aware of the space in your computer’s camera screen
You may want to try out where you plan to be presenting from. You want to make sure that the background does not have anything inappropriate in it. Additionally, you want to try out different lighting techniques. Is the window letting in too much light and blocking your audience’s view of you? Is the room too dark without having a light on?
Be aware of noise pollution
Unfortunately, a lot of my students struggle with this. I will often hear sirens going off in the background. You want to try and have as professional a background as possible. You want to make sure your family, television, music, etc. cannot be heard in the background, especially if you pause your speech.
Look at the camera, not your image on the computer
If you stare at the image of yourself instead of your camera lens it will appear to your audience that you are not making eye contact.
Make sure you practise with your device before hand
I prefer to use a computer when having to do anything professional. However, some people enjoy using their smartphones or tablets instead. Be aware how this may change the other devices you may need. If you are using a smartphone, you may want to put it on a tripod. If you are using a computer, you want to ensure it’s on a flat surface.
You want to make sure you are varying the pitch and tone of what you are saying. Certain points may be more important than others, so you want to ensure your voice is inflecting appropriately. Additionally, without using vocal pitch and tone variety, you have a chance of boring your audience. Ensuring the change in vocals will keep your speech lively and entertaining.
Do not expect to have effective online communication skills the first time. Zoom and other online communication platforms give the ability to have sessions without anyone else in them. This is a good way to practise different strategies for effective online communication skills.