Alfred Poor is an expert in helping speakers and companies create successful online events. His years of experience as a keynote speaker and event producer have led him to become a consultant for those who need to pivot to online communications yet don’t want to either waste time and money on expensive equipment or learn complex technical skills.
In this interview, Alfred explains who he helps and how he helps them. Plus, he gives a simple tip for looking better online when you’re presenting from a laptop.
We also had some fun with props and explaining why you can’t walk around when you’re presenting online.
Below the video, you’ll find a text summary of the interview.
Summary of Alfred’s interview
1. Who do you serve, who are your clients?
I’m looking to help anyone who has to speak for their job, including professional speakers and business speakers speaking internally or externally. It could include trainers, coaches, and entrepreneurs. I can best help people who are past the starting point in their speaking journey.
2. What is their problem, their need and what are the symptoms of that problem?
The big problem is the pandemic. Most speaking gigs were canceled. Events have pivoted to online. I’m helping them to be better online presenters, to be more effective in a virtual setting. Meeting planners now know they don’t have to pay for travel, can get people from all around the world, and save money, so virtual events are here to stay.
3. What are the common mistakes people make or obstacles they face when trying to solve that problem on their own?
A lot of experienced speakers have done really well on stage and then they try the same techniques on the virtual stage and it doesn’t work. In fact most of what speakers have learned is wrong for a virtual setting.
4. What is unique about your solution that helps people avoid those mistakes or overcome those obstacles so they can finally solve their problem?
I can help people with both the mechanical things — lights, cameras, wardrobe — and also the delivery and how you structure your presentation. The key problem is how to keep your audience engaged. Having made most of the mistakes myself, I can help speakers avoid those mistakes.
The techniques that work on stage aren’t necessarily the things that will work on the virtual stage. There are a number of things to learn about how to frame your face, body movement, etc.
5. What is one high-impact free action, such as a tip, that you recommend that the audience can implement that will help them solve that problem?
The first thing to do is to raise your camera so it’s about your eye level or a bit higher. A lot of people use laptops but it’s hard to get the laptop camera high enough. So I recommend getting a stand-alone webcam that you can adjust.
6. What is one valuable free resource that you can direct people to that will further help with that problem?
When the pandemic was shutting down live events, I gave a lot of free webinars to speakers and that has developed into the Speaker Springboard System. So every month on the 4th Thursday of the month, I’m giving a free demonstration of the system. It’s solid information and practical tips. Go to SpeakerSpringboard.com/demonstration.
7. What’s the one question that I should have asked you that would give great value to our audience?
I guess it’s why I know about this stuff. I’ve done a lot of speaking over the years but I also have a strong technology background. I wrote for PC Magazine for over 20 years. I was their Display expert. I understand this from a broader and deeper perspective than many others but I’ve also lived it speaking on stage and online and helped others with it.
Check out Alfred’s demonstration of his Speaker Springboard, which is especially for speakers who need to shine online.
How about you?
Leave a comment with your questions or frustrations about speaking online, either your experience speaking yourself or what you’re seeing when others speak.
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Our business has pivoted online too and we turned to online speaking and presentations. But how do we make sure that our audience is really listening to what we’re saying and not dozing off for example (which can happen in a live event or seminar before especially when there’s a large audience). If the same audience are in your webinar, what ways can you do just to check that they are really “present” and not “dozing off”?
How about online presentation where I don’t show my face at all? I just show them my slides? Is that okay too? Or would you rather that I also show my face?
Lisa, the more interactive you make it, the more your audience will pay attention. Ask THEM questions and request an answer in the chat. Change slides, if you’re using them, at a quick pace. Do polls and then show the results. Do an exercise with them. Really, the same techniques that work in person work online; you just need to use them more when you’re speaking online.
Gary, personally, I recommend that you show your face, just as you would if you were speaking in front of a live audience. It helps — a little — to keep their attention. It reminds your audience that you’re a real person, not just a voice. You can use hand gestures (maybe tell them that you’re doing so, so they notice) and facial expressions.
Lisa, I agree with everything Ellen said. For me, it boils down to this; whether you are on stage or online, the people in the audience want to be “seen”. They want to feel that you are connecting with them somehow, and that you’re acknowledging their presence and participation. If it weren’t for this, they might as well be watching a video recording of your presentation. (And I can tell you from firsthand knowledge, the engagement and impact of a recorded event is much, much lower!) There’s no one right way to do it, though. If your audience is small… Read more »
Gary, I can envision a scenario where you don’t show your face at all, but I think you’ll have to work a lot harder at it. For example, documentaries can tell compelling stories without the narrator’s face ever appearing on the screen. And people didn’t go hear Stephen Hawking speak because of his dynamic delivery. So yes, it can be done. But I would not recommend it unless you have a really strong presentation. People want to connect with you. One of the most important points about an audience is that they want you to succeed, whether you’re a speaker… Read more »
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