5 Public Speaking Secrets To A Sensational ‘Alternative Virtual Interview’
There’s a new kid in town since Covid. It’s called the Alternative Virtual Interview (AVI) and it’s been making the rounds in business for the last couple of years.
Gone are the days when Round 1 of the interview process meant meeting potential employers face to face. Chances are, your first meetings will most likely be on Zoom, Teams, or Whatsapp.
AVI’s are one step further. Potential employers are asking you to record answers to questions about yourself without them even being there. You’re basically pretending to be talking to them when it’s actually just you and the camera in the room.
Awkward? Just a little.
So, how comfortable you feel, look, and sound is key. It will make the difference between getting into Round 2 of the interview process or the ‘Thanks but no thanks’ email in your inbox.
Here are 5 public speaking secrets to knocking it out of the park and giving a sensational alternative virtual interview that will get you a second look.
#1 Choose Your Frame
Whether it’s an AVI or meeting on a virtual app, you have complete control over how you appear in the frame of your screen.
You are basically on TV so you’ve got to practice beforehand to see how you’re going to look on screen. So set up your laptop, tablet, or phone and schedule a mock session (Zoom, Teams, Meet, GoToMeeting).
The best frame to have is a ¾ shot, otherwise known as a head and shoulders shot. This allows people to see you from mid-section up and get a sense of your physical presence without going full length.
If you are sitting, make sure you can use your hands and not be anchored to the arm rests. If it’s a swivel chair, make sure you can lock it in place or else you WILL swivel around. It will come across as fidgeting choose your perch carefully.
Leave enough head space so your head isn’t cut off at the top. Move your chair back a bit if you need to.
Make sure your laptop is high enough so that you can be eye level with the camera lens. This will save you from looking like the camera is looking up at you.
Take the time to experiment and get this right. If you do, you will look effortlessly professional. Remember, the more homework you put in to your preparation, the better the outcome.
Virtual Hacks to Ace Your Virtual Meetings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INbX38WilnE&t=7s
#2 You Must Be Seen! Lighting and Background
How many times have you seen more of people’s bedrooms than you ever wanted to? Or struggled to see someone’s face because they are in shadow?
A few simple lighting tips and background tweaks can make a massive difference in how you are perceived and seen in your AVI.
Option 1: Natural Light
Most of you have somewhere in the house where you can sit in front of a window. Natural light costs nothing and is by far the best lighting for anyone. It’s soft, illuminates your face, and doesn’t require any plugs or artificial lighting.
The only catch is that you might only have an optimal number of hours to catch the light. And you may have to clear away anything messy behind you.
Option 2: Ring Lights or Umbrellas
These days it’s pretty cheap to buy artificial lights of professional standard. You can order ring lights of varying sizes off any number of websites. I have a large light for my home studio as well as a smaller, travel sized light when I’m on the road.
Umbrella lights are also an excellent choice. These are lights that have a small, white umbrella over them to diffuse the light and create a natural, soft lighting. I have two and use them all the time.
Whichever option you use, and I use a combination of both natural light and artificial lighting myself, make sure you text it out beforehand. See what combination of lights gets you which results. Preparation and practice, preparation and practice!
Get Better Results from your Virtual Meetings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INbX38WilnE&t=7s
#3 Have A Conversation
Recording an AVI is unnatural at first. It’s like asking you to bear your soul to a stone wall. It’s just weird. And yet, here we are.
So the trick is to get a bit more comfortable in an uncomfortable situation so your potential employer feels like you are having a conversation with them; not just reeling off information.
#4 Physical Presence Is Key To Come Across As Professional
Here’s where your vocal and physical skills come in. How you use your hands, your eye contact, and your breathing is essential to appearing and sounding relaxed, knowledgeable, and personable in your AVI.
If you don’t have physical presence skills in your tool box, then get them. If you have your go-to skills already but haven’t used them regularly, then dust them off, brush them up, and get practicing.
How to Get Great Physical Presencehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t110_TzpxmI&t=143s
#5 Great Vocal Delivery Is A Must To Keep Them Listening!
Your vocal delivery is just as important as your physical presence. Again, if you don’t have go-to vocal skills that work for you then find a coach and get some quality time with them.
How slowly you speak, how articulate you are, how much variety and colour you get into your delivery… these all make the difference between a mediocre performance and a memorable one.
Ace Your Vocal Presence On & Offline: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhjhL6vuN5o&t=42s
Now that you’ve got your go-to techniques that work for you, it’s time to put them into practice.
There’s no getting around this one. You MUST practice and prepare your delivery in order to look, feel, and sound natural, at ease, and excited.
Use any device you want to record yourself. All you need is 1-2 minutes at first. Watch it back. What’s working? What isn’t working? Tweak. Make changes. Record again. Repeat.
Be as specific as possible with each individual skill you practice. The more specific you can be, the faster and higher quality your results will be.
A Few Tweaks Go A Long Way
The devil is in the detail. When you take the time to get specific, pay attention to the little things, and plan to get the basics right, you can then focus on telling your personal story with energy, emotional impact, and effortless cool.
That’s the stuff future employers dreams are made of. The work works. So work it.
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