What is public speaking?
Public speaking can be defined as the activity of speaking, presenting, or any other form of expression intended to convey a message or content to the audience of the speaker. People performing on stage must master many skills for their message to be appropriately received (Bursak, 2019).
Differences between online and live presentations
Performing online is different in many ways from performing live. Our silhouette is visible only from the waist up, because normally we sit during conference calls, which allows free access to the computer screen and keyboard. The perception of sound and image may also be different, as they may be distorted by digital processing and unstable internet connection. In online meetings, there is a rule that the microphones are turned off due to static and reverberation. For this reason, there is no auditory interaction with the audience (Harper, 2020).
Are video presentations and lectures effective?
In March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 88% of companies switched to remote work (Puls HR, 2020). The OECD estimates that about 58% of workplaces require stationary work in a shop, office, factory, etc. Of the remaining 42% of people who can work remotely, 12% of respondents wanted to continue working remotely, 14% have the option of a hybrid home office, and 16% would like to return to the workplace (Business Insider, 2021). The pandemic has also changed the way private information is shared. The boundary of socially acceptable behavior has shifted (Nabity-Grover et al., 2020). As shown by the Crabtree and Pillow (2018) research, sharing your private life online can help build a positive image.
The question here is whether studying and working remotely can be effective. Students who participated in anatomy classes positively assessed this form of education but found it less engaging and interesting than if real bodies were used (Klein et al., 2020). Alfadda and Mahdi (2021), in a study of the reactions of people who learned English using technology, showed a strong, positive correlation between the use of the Zoom platform and the attitudes and behavioral intentions of students.
In another experiment, students expressed their opinion about online education, which revealed that the five days of classes conducted by the Zoom application were a heavy burden for many, and the vast majority wanted to return to the classroom. Also, the advantage for the students was that the recording allowed them to repeat the material at any time (Roy et al., 2020). During the COVID-19 pandemic, the term “Zoom fatigue” was coined, which means exhaustion from participating in online meetings using various tools, including Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams.
In a study by Jeremy Bailenson (2021) conducted at Stanford University, it turned out that video conferencing can have a negative impact on participants in aspects such as the excessive need to constantly look in the eyes of interlocutors, which does not occur in live meetings. During virtual meetings, we can also look at ourselves and this involves constantly controlling our facial expressions and body language. What’s more, sitting in front of the computer makes us move much less, which makes our brain work less effectively. The inability to see the body of people we meet, and therefore limited gestures and body language, cause a more significant cognitive burden because it may be challenging to interpret the content without these elements (Bailenson, 2021).
Advantages of online meetings
However, there are also positive indications for online meetings. 74% of respondents believed that after the end of the pandemic, conferences should continue to be held virtually
or contain such elements. Online conferences give you more opportunities to participate in the event to people from all over the world, thanks to lower costs, without the need to travel and generate a carbon footprint. On the other hand, they make it impossible to create conditions for networking as before and make it difficult to participate in the case of living in a different time zone (Remmel, 2021).
How to do online presentations?
A person who performs in public must meet many criteria to be professional. In the case of online appearances, there are also aspects such as operating professional sound, listening, video recording equipment, and taking care of the space where the speaker is located. Therefore, he may feel a greater cognitive load (Boutin, 2020). Moreover, apart from the technical elements, the quality of the online presentation is mainly influenced by the movements of the head and upper body and the presenter’s gestures (Chakravarty et al., 2015). In the case of a video conference, in order to convey effective communication, technical preparation for a presentation lies with both the speaker and the audience, which does not occur during live speeches (Michels and Chang, 2011).
The factor differentiating online performances from live performances is the inability to interact directly with the audience. Remote presentations can also be rewarding, as shown by a study by Hamdan et al. (2021). Students who switched to distance learning in 2020 achieved satisfaction with distance learning when an element of interaction with other participants and interactive content were provided (Hamdan et al., 2021).
The cited research shows that online speaking differs in many respects from live speaking. Listening to speeches online can cause audience fatigue due to a higher cognitive load, which can affect how the speaker is perceived by the audience. People presenting themselves virtually may consider the different specificity of such speeches – background, interaction, equipment, to achieve the intended impression and effects.
- Alfadda, H.A., Mahdi, H.S. (2021). Measuring Students’ Use of Zoom Application in Language Course Based on the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). Journal of Psycholinguistic Research.
- Bailenson, J.N. (2021). Nonverbal Overload: A Theoretical Argument for the Causes of Zoom Fatigue. Technology, Mind and Behaviour, 2(1).
- Bursak, l. (2019). Szkoła mówców. Wydawnictwo One Press.
- Business Insider (2021). Pół Polski przeszło w pandemii na pracę zdalną? Rzeczywiste liczby zaskakują: https://businessinsider.com.pl/firmy/praca-zdalna-w-polsce-w-czasie-pandemii-ilu-z-nas-pracowalo-z-domu/c5rwvdm
- Chakravarty, P., Mirzaei, S., Tuytelaars, T. i Hamme Van, H. (2015). Who’s Speaking? Audio-Supervised Classification of Active Speakers in Video. Publikacja z International Conference on Multimodal Interaction. Seattle, USA.
- Crabtree M.A. i Pillow D.R. (2018). Extending the dual factor model of facebook use: Social motives and network density predict facebook use through impression management and open self-disclosure. Personality and Individual Differences, 133, s. 34-40.
- Hamdan, K.M., Al-Bashaireh, A.M., Zahran, Z., Al-Daghestani, A., AL-Habashneh, S. i Shaheen, A.M. (2021). University students’ interaction, Internet self-efficacy, self-regulation and satisfaction with online education during pandemic crises of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). International Journal of Educational Management.
- Harper, H. (2020). Coronavirus, and moving presentations online: https://www.brightcarbon.com/blog/coronavirus-and-moving-presentations-online/
- Klein, R., Rajaraman, G., Seymour, P., Tomassoni, Ch., Winchester, M., Eizenberg, N. i Sinnayah P. (2020). Students’ perception of online gross anatomy laboratory classes via zoom technology. Sprawozdanie z Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, s. 42.
- Michels, B.J. i Chang, Ch-W. (2011). Attending a Presentation at a Distance in Real-time via Skype. TECHTRENDS TECH TRENDS, 55, s. 23-27.
- Nabity-Grover, T., Cheung, C., & Thatcher, J. B. (2020). Inside out and outside in: How the COVID-19 pandemic affects self-disclosure on social media. International journal of information management, 55.
- Puls HR (2020). 88 proc. firm wykorzystuje pracę zdalną w czasie pandemii: https://www.pulshr.pl/zarzadzanie/88-proc-firm-wykorzystuje-prace-zdalna-w-czasie-pandemii,72240.html
- Remmel, A. (2021). Scientists want virtual meetings to stay after the COVID pandemic. Nature 591, s. 185-186.
- Roy, H., Ray, K., Saha, S., Ghosal, A.K. (2020). A Study on Students’ Perceptions for Online Zoom-app based Flipped Class Sessions on Anatomy Organised during the Lockdown Period of COVID-19 Epoch. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research 14(6).
Hi. Welcome to my blog 🙂 I’m a public speaking coach. I work as a trainer and Head of Speakers at TEDxZurich. I also help, among others, lawyers, vocalists, actors, lecturers and business people in preparation for their speeches in front of hundreds of people in the audience, as well as in conducting small meetings or presentations. For many years I worked on controlling the stage fright that kept me awake at night. I have always wondered how to manage the internal critic, not to worry about the opinion of others, and how to build a real sense of confidence on stage. Now I know the answer. Recently, I have given countless interviews, which made me aware of the importance of confidence in front of the camera. Having been involved in music since the age of 10, I know how stressful it can be to present to a wider audience. By combining my business and music experience, I can guide you through the process of changing direction towards your dreams. Based on my vast stage experience, I have gained the ability to provide adequate tools and methods of coaching that will support your development.