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Virtual Speaking is Here to Stay!
Frank DiBartolomeo --  Presentation Coach For Technical Professionals Frank DiBartolomeo -- Presentation Coach For Technical Professionals
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Centreville, VA
Sunday, May 5, 2024


“What’s the most important message you want to leave your audience with—and why should they care? Every listener instinctively wants to know one thing: What’s in this for me?”

– Oprah Winfrey, American talk show host, television producer, actress, author, and media proprietor

Summer 2020 – In-person speaker events were being canceled, speakers were trying to figure out this new virtual platform tool called Zoom, and we were all wondering when we would get back to in-person speaking.

I spoke to a couple of speaker friends during the Summer of 2020. I asked them what they were going to do. They both told me the same thing. They were just going to wait until in-person speaking came back.

In-person speaking did eventually come back. But the genie was out of the bottle. Virtual speaking was here to stay and has only gotten stronger since 2020. A speaker who doesn’t have a healthy amount of virtual speaking in their speaking event palette is “leaving money on the table.”

In this article, we’ll explore the advantages of virtual speaking, its disadvantages, and its future.

Virtual Speaking Advantages

Speaking virtually allows you to reach anyone with a computer and an Internet connection (i.e., billions of people).

People who cannot afford the cost or the travel time can still attend a virtual event. Depending on where they are, the in-person virtual event may not be convenient from a time of day perspective, but they can still attend.

Virtual events have no venue rental fees, catering expenses, or speaker travel costs. This is an enormous advantage if you are a solo speaker entrepreneur or run a small speaking business.

Virtual speaking events also have significant advantages for attendees – no time away from family, sleeping in your bed, a sharp reduction in costs of attending, etc.

There is also much flexibility in virtual speaking. As a speaker, you can pre-record your presentations or record them when you are live and make the recording available as part of an asynchronous course.

In the case of an asynchronous course, this makes it much easier for people, no matter where they are, to view the recording at a more convenient time.

Additionally, virtual speaking can incorporate various multimedia elements, interactive features, and engagement tools to enhance the overall experience for attendees.

Even with these advantages of virtual speaking, there are disadvantages.

Virtual Speaking Disadvantages

Virtual speaking depends heavily on technology.

If you speak virtually, you need high-speed, reliable Internet. It is not a big deal if an attendee’s Internet goes out. However, as the speaker, it is a big deal if your Internet goes out.

I recommend having a reliable WIFI connection and an Ethernet cable connection between your modem/router or Internet extender and your computer. You will be glad you did.

Audio can also become an issue. Use a high-quality microphone and ensure your computer is set to use this microphone. Again, if an attendee’s microphone goes out, it’s no big deal. But if yours goes out, it is a big deal.

Have a backup plan, such as changing the internal microphone on your computer. Practice changing microphones before your event to ensure you can change microphones quickly.

Another disadvantage of virtual speaking is that non-verbal cues, easily observed in in-person speaking, are severely limited. Non-verbal cues from attendees are vital for knowing what the audience is thinking and, therefore, knowing when to change something in your presentation to re-engage your audience.

It is hard to pick up on these non-verbal cues by looking at tiny video boxes. This could lead to misinterpreting your audience’s communication.

When an attendee is in person, it is easier for you to notice when an attendee is distracted. When an attendee is present during a virtual presentation, there are many ways for the attendee to be distracted without you knowing.

These distractions could include construction outside their window, the attendee multitasking, and the attendee browsing the Internet. You will likely not notice these distractions in your virtual speaking. However, when speaking virtually, these distractions will significantly impact whether you communicate your message to your audience.

At the beginning of your presentation, you can request the attendees to turn off their cell phones and resist the urge to multitask. However, the bottom line is that attendees may or may not follow this request.

So, virtual speaking has many advantages and disadvantages. You should amplify its advantages and reduce its disadvantages to the greatest possible extent.

So, what will the future bring for virtual speaking?

Future of Virtual Speaking

Three future capabilities of virtual speaking are (1) enhanced immersive experiences, (2) interactive engagement tools, and (3) customized personalization.

With virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), virtual speaking could offer highly immersive experiences where participants feel physically present in the same space as the speaker.

This could include realistic simulations of conference rooms, auditoriums, or exotic locations, creating a more engaging and memorable experience for attendees.

Future virtual speaking platforms may incorporate advanced interactive tools that enable real-time audience engagement and participation.

Features like live polls, Q&A sessions, interactive quizzes, and collaborative activities could foster more significant interaction between speakers and attendees, leading to more dynamic and engaging presentations.

Virtual speaking platforms may leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms to provide personalized experiences tailored to the preferences and interests of individual participants.

Speakers could use data analytics to understand their audience demographics better and adjust their presentations accordingly, delivering content that is more relevant and impacts each attendee the most.

This article has explored the advantages and disadvantages of speaking virtually and what the future of virtual speaking might look like.

The one constant here is virtual speaking is here to stay.

Embrace it and exploit it for the benefit of your audience!

Call to Action

  • Seek out opportunities to speak virtually

  • Use technology afforded by virtual speaking to do in your presentation what you could not do delivering an in-person presentation

  • Seek out new ways to make your virtual speaking more engaging for your audiences

“Your number one task as a speaker is to transfer into your listeners’ minds an extraordinary gift—a strange and beautiful object that we call an idea.”

– Chris Anderson, British-American businessman who is the head of TED

Frank DiBartolomeo is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and award-winning speaker, presentation and interview skills coach, and Professional Member of the National Speakers Association. He was awarded Toastmasters International’s highest individual award, Distinguished Toastmaster because of his outstanding work in public speaking and leadership.

Frank formed DiBartolomeo Consulting International (DCI), LLC (www.speakleadandsucceed.com) in 2007. The mission of DCI is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence their colleagues and other technical professionals by improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence. Reach Frank at frank@speakleadandsucceed.com and (703) 509-4424.


Don’t miss Frank DiBartolomeo’s latest book!

“Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”

Available now at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Frank DiBartolomeo, Jr.
Title: President
Group: DiBartolomeo Consulting International, LLC
Dateline: Centreville, VA United States
Cell Phone: (703) 509-4424
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