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Tips for public speaking in online classes

Speaking in public is an ability many want to improve and improving means practice. If your audience is on the other side of a computer screen, then there are some issues that you must improve for your message to reach it's destination correctly.

These are some techniques that help you keep your audience's attention and keep them focused:

  • If you are using a presentation, be it Powerpoint, Prezi or any other, it should be short and concise. Summarize and illustrate the main ideas for the audience. Remember, it is for the audience, nor for the speaker to read.
  • It is a common tip from professional speakers to start your presentation with some personal anecdote, joke, riddle, question or group game. It will break the ice and get the audience's attention.
  • Try to divide your presentation:
    • 10% introduction: Introduce yourself or other speakers. Also briefly introduce the main idea and concepts that you will explain later.
    • 80% explanation: Describe your ideas in detail. Provide arguments, data and sources.
    • 10% conclusion: Summarize everything and save a few minutes for a QA moment. Here you can also name topics for next presentation or provide the call to action for the public.
  • Conceptual maps are great to introduce subjects in a simple way or to summarize concepts. A great one, if you can manage it, is a single conceptual map that summarizes the entire presentation.
  • Talk slow and quiet (don't whisper, but no shouting either) and make sure you enunciate. A cosy room will help you to feel comfortable. Is also very important to practice the speech a few times before the actual presentation. It will help you feel at ease and that will be perceived by the audience.
  • Do not forget to greet the audience, smile and gesticulate, just as you would in front of a class in person.
  • Try to find some common themes or subjects among, event in an heterogeneous public, and use them to improve your examples.

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