No one is immune to nerves when presenting. It is essential during these times to be able to communicate effectively which comes down to a few different factors.
In this episode, Video legend Arabella Macpherson from Resonate Communications gives her perspective on how to keep your remote team engaged through the likes of Zoom video conferencing.
Arabella Macpherson is the Director and Communications Coach at Resonate Communications that focuses on Creating outstanding leaders, engaging speakers, and influential communicators. Resonate Communications has been trusted by over 500 executives worldwide. From beginners right through to politicians and CEOs. Improve your ability to become influential, present with impact, and inspire through leadership.
Have you ever felt nervous about presenting?
Yes, I felt nervous. I remember presenting to a sales team and one of our top tech companies about 10 years ago. I was shaking backwards and forwards as I was coaching them on confidence. So that was a that was 13 years ago, a long time ago. I learned straight away what it was like to feel nervous in front of an audience. What you need to do in order to change that. Thankfully, coming from an acting and opera singing background, that meant that I’ve often been in front of an audience standing up.
My first opera was when I was 14 at the Opera House with Baz Luhrmann directing. So I’ve been on stage a lot. But it changes depending on which stage you’re on and the audience you’re dealing with. It also depends on the content you need to deliver and how confident you are with that content. So yes, I have felt nervous. In fact, sometimes I get nervous if I’m not nervous because I get worried that I don’t care enough. Could also be I don’t have the adrenaline or the nerves to help me connect with my audience because those nerves can be a good thing.
What is one of the most significant moments either good or bad that you’ve had in your whole presenting career?
It happens only just before lockdown. So about five weeks ago, I was asked to speak at a conference. In fact, we were offered a 10-minute pitch section and I applied for it. I was able to pitch alongside nine other people. We had 10 minutes to convince the audience of our worth so that we could win an $850 bottle of Grange red wine. It was one of the most exciting times because I thought I’ll give myself 10 minutes to put this whole audience in the deepest trance possible. And guess what? I got the Grange
No one is immune from nerves when presenting, how do you have a combat?
It comes down to a few different factors and one of them is preparation. I know that you guys are very strong in preparation as well. This doesn’t mean that you have to know everything before you get up in front of that group of people. What you do need to know is the process. So you do need to know how to interact with your audience. Regardless of whether it’s your best man speech at a wedding or whether it’s presenting in front of the board or pitching a new idea. You really need to know what is my process? Because we all have processes, don’t we?
Let’s have a look at the product overview video of Arabella and see how good was she presenting on camera.
What does the future look like for public speaking now?
I remember as an actress when I first started out as an actor, I would set up my video camera in the sitting room and I would have it on all day as I would make my breakfast, my lunch, watch TV, do whatever I do, because you need to get really comfortable with the camera and see the camera as another person or see the camera as your friend. Using the camera as as a tool is really important because whether we go back to face to face meetings, if you’re really good at using the camera, then you’re going to be phenomenal in face to face meetings. So it’s about nailing that element.
We are scared of two different things. The first thing is we’re scared of not being good enough. I’m not competent enough. I’m not accepted for who I am. Lots of different reasons why we don’t feel good enough. The second fear is that if I’m not good enough, then I’m going to be rejected. Because we’re tribal. We come from tribes, and if you weren’t, if you were rejected from your tribe, then you couldn’t survive. So that primal brain is making a lot of our decisions for us.
We have to have a conversation with our unconscious brain and say it’s okay. It’s actually not about that. It’s all about the other person, can I help them? What do they need right now? What are their biggest problems, issues and questions? And if I answer them, then they’re not gonna care if I’m tall, short, skinny, French, Japanese, they don’t care. All they care about is can I help them?
Will people change the way they perceive you with the technical preparations you have?
Absolutely. If we go back to the unconscious brain, it picks up on so many things the conscious brain isn’t even aware of. Even if people are forgiving about the sound, or the picture or the lighting, and sometimes it can be a way of building rapport with the other person because they might also have a child screaming in the background or dogs barking or all sorts of things happening. However, over time, it starts to impact your personal brand.
As a communications coach, that is why I took that leap and invested in Ridge Films DIY Desktop Studio, because my brand is really important to me. I don’t want people to be caught up in, can I hear them? Why do they look like that can’t see them properly, I want them to be able to shift and change from where they are to where they need to be. And for that to happen on an unconscious level without all the extra stuff going on that might distract or prevent them from accepting that information in that moment
What advice would you give to keep your remote team engaged?
The advice I’m going to give is, is quite controversial. It is to stop doing so many meetings, and to shift out your meetings to more of a written format. So putting all of your ideas and your thoughts in long form writing it, and then sending it to the other person or group of people who need to communicate on that so they can then think, reflect and respond. Now it does take maybe two or three more days, but the decisions that are made are way better.
If you are getting on camera, it has to be short, succinct and well prepared. I just use the rule of three – short, succinct, and well prepared. That’s what you want to be doing is thinking of what are the three main things that I need to get across right now, using huge amounts of empathy, which is one of the greatest emotions for building rapport. Also making sure that you are so clear on what you want your audience to think, feel and do by the end of that conversation. Because if you’re not clear, then no one’s going to be especially when you have to get past that video lens to connect with the other people.
There is a growing trend of ‘Video Marketing’ but where start? Shoot, produce, campaign strategy and what about implementation? The learning gap is vast and most people obsess over ‘how’ they should be producing video content instead of ‘why’ they should be producing videos. ‘Video Legend’ explores the emotional connection of video that ultimately leads to positive outcomes for small to medium-sized businesses. Outcomes that result in their audience thinking differently about their brand, product or service, and actual connecting and taking action. This podcast aims to explore the life of content after video production and what it has done for growing businesses.
Hosted by Chris Schwager and Brendan Southall from Ridge Films.