Learning to Speak Like a Pro... Virtually with Rob Jolles

Learning to Speak Like a Pro... Virtually with Rob Jolles

By Karlyn Hixson , May 27th 2020

Speak Like a Pro... Virtually

Tips for improving your (virtual) presentation skills.

With the corporate world working from home creating a higher demand for virtual meetings and presentations, increasing your effectiveness as a virtual speaker is vital. Even as businesses start to re-open their doors and employees return to work, we don’t see this new demand and desire to work virtually going anywhere—and that means we’ll all need to be continuously improving our presentational skills for clients, partners, colleagues, students, and more.

Sought-after speaker and best-selling author Rob Jolles has been teaching clients, partners, and readers about how best to communicate effectively for over 35 years—and we are thrilled to have had the opportunity to speak with him about tips & tricks for improvement in the virtual setting.

“If you had to guess, what do you think is distracting people the most during virtual delivery? What are your clients’ or students’ biggest complaints?”

When asked this question during Rob's webinar, a majority of participants guessed WiFi connection—with weak audio and a distracting background coming in close second and third. However, a majority of people polled cited a distracting background as the most annoying and distracting element when viewing and participating in virtual events.

So, the big question is: where can you set up to ensure that you don’t have a distracting background? The importance of a clean, clear, and professional background is paramount—among many other important factors to consider when setting up your virtual home or office studio:

    • Background
    • Lighting
    • Webcam location (look that camera in the eye!)
    • Audio quality
    • Clothing (are you dressed professionally?)
    • Prop (have some coffee, stay relaxed)

Once your studio is set up, the focus is on you. What can you do to communicate effectively through the camera lens? Rob gives some suggestions:

1. If you want to emphasize a point, Rob says: “bring it right to the camera (get close and make eye contact)!”  

2. If you have three points, make sure you bring those hands up to the screen. Point out that you have “three” (three fingers to the camera) key points from today’s webinar that you hope everyone will remember. And always remember, per Rob, “If you emphasize everything, you emphasize nothing.”

3. Don’t fold your arms—this typically shows impatience or boredom. You don’t want to send that kind of nonverbal cue. Remember, you're on video—others can see what you're doing and become influenced by your actions.

4. Sit up and smile. Better yet, stand up. Do you sit down during a speaking event in person with clients or in the classroom? Nope! So why would you sit during the virtual event your client is engaging you in for their organization?


Thank you, Rob, for sharing your wisdom and expertise! Rob is the author of several bestselling books, including How to Change Minds, How to Run Seminars & Workshops, 4th Ed., and Why People Don’t Believe You... You can learn more about Rob here, and be sure to check out his new podcast, Pocket-sized Pep Talks, wherever you listen to your podcasts. 


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This post was written by Karlyn Hixson, Director of Strategic Partnerships & Editorial at BookPal. She is currently reading #EntryLevelBoss by Alexa Shoen.

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