Amber Talks Virtual Speaking with Halina St. James
by Amber Mac on April 12, 2021
I was recently had a great chant with Halina St. James, a former international report turned speaking coach, at an event organized by the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. In addition to discussing some great interview opportunities I’ve had (from former FBI Director James Comey to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau), she wanted me to dig into what the past year of virtual keynoting has taught me. Here are a few excerpts…
“Amber Mac… Toronto-based bestselling author, award-winning podcast host, blogger, and keynote speaker, is a leader in digital innovation. A big problem (with virtual presentations), she says, is that people’s attention span in online encounters is quite short. People can get up and leave at any time. It’s not like the physical space, where the audience is glued in their seats.
Virtual presenters, she says, have to work harder to keep people’s attention, and to do that they have to be more engaging. For her, online communication should be as dynamic as watching a television show. As a performer, you have to bring the sort of production values you would expect on TV.
At the end of the day, it’s really about being able to engage the audience. The best speakers out there are able to really connect with their audience, whether it’s virtual or in person. And just remember, there’s someone at the other side of the lens. Try to connect the best you can.”