Steve Adubato, Ph.D.
Communicating online or in a distance learning environment involves limitations that we need to understand and deal with. Consider the following tips and tools the next time you present to an audience that is not in the same room with you...
- Present as if your audience IS actually in the room, even if they are not. The key is to be as animated and engaging as possible. If presenting over the phone, don’t use the receiver. Instead, use a headset. Communicating in this fashion allows you to use your hands and your entire body to reinforce what you say. Energy matters.
- When you are presenting in this fashion, there is a temptation for audience members to become distracted or involved in other activities. Therefore, maintain your enthusiasm and passion. Remain totally focused. Make sure your door is closed, your desk is cleared and you have nothing else on your mind other than this important presentation.
- If using PowerPoint, make sure your slides are in order. Do a dry run before the actual event. However, be prepared to deal with the PowerPoint equipment malfunctioning and going with a lower tech version.
- During the Q&A, personalize your communication. Ask the name of someone you are addressing who you can’t see and then use that person’s name in your response. Be as conversational as possible.
The bottom line is communicating in a distance learning environment can be rewarding if you prepare and understand the limitations and the uniqueness of the experience.