The Unseen Audience

For some strange reason, public speaking is one of a human's greatest fears.  Not so much for me; I rank sharks as much scarier than getting up in front of a bunch of people to talk.  Actually, making someone face jumping into a tank of sharks, but at the last minute giving them the opportunity to skip the sharks if they'll give a twenty minute speech could possibly cure anyone of their fear of public speaking.

But I digress.  Naturally, a conference call is much less terrifying a medium than an auditorium, simply because there's no one looking at you.  However, those "eyes" are still there—only now they're ears.  I found some great tips from The Eloquent Woman blog about speaking to an audience you can't see.

Stand Up – Even though you're probably by yourself during a conference call, put on your headset and walk around.  You'll sound more energized, and the better alignment of your diaphragm will make your voice more powerful.

Talk Visually – Like nodding to say "yes" over the phone, a lot of gestures and such can't be seen by the audience.  Tell them what you're doing, holding up, or picturing in your mind.

Outside Help – Have a friend listen in on the conference call.  Ask them to send you instant messages telling you to speed up or slow down.  They can also tell you if you're doing well—encouragement is always a good thing.

Raised Hands – When giving a presentation to an unseen audience, you can't see the puzzled looks.  Enable lecture mode so that people can "raise their hand" by indicating they have a comment.  Also, tell people to use twitter to send you quick questions or comments mid-lecture.

Which do you prefer, speaking in an auditorium or on a conference call?  Tell us why in a comment.

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