Presentation Skills and Rhetoric – Becoming Visible

Sibylle Sommerer: Expert for Presentation skills and rhetoric
Speaking in front of an audience takes courage. An additional challenge are online meetings, where it is even more difficult to engage the audience. Sibylle Sommerer is the owner of Speak GmbH and gives tips on how to make a successful digital appearance.

The Messenger is the Message

Those who claim that only content counts are wrong. Sommerer explains that about 60% of attention is focused on body language, about 30% on the voice and only about 7% on the content – in online meetings even less! If the content is to be received, you have to repeat it often and also convince as a person.

Take up space

It is also possible to take up space in an online setting. You do this by using the screen space you have available. The screen you appear on is your playground. Use your hands. And if you stand, you have a more open voice and can move flexibly. In addition, a little walking can also loosen blockages: “In the event of a blackout, it often helps to take two steps back and two steps forward,” says Sommerer.

Keep eye contact

In online meetings, eye contact is difficult. It’s best to look straight into the camera, that way you appear to the audience as if you are looking them directly in the eye.

Vary your voice

Especially in longer speeches, and when you can’t see anyone, people tend to fall into a monotone voice. People who lower their voice at the end of a sentence and get to the point of their message are more effective.

Conveying emotions

“Believe in what you say and stand behind your text. A lot of emotions get lost in online presentations,” Sommerer says. But conveying emotions is important. Only then will you be convincing and appear credible and as an expert on your content.

Playing with presentation possibilities

Many people work with split presentations in online meetings. But there is nothing against using a flipchart or writing on a blackboard. “Analogue tools integrate well with online. Be creative and try out different options,” Sommerer recommends.

The right background

Blurry background or a beach photo as background? Better not, says Sommerer. The real background usually works best. Ideally, it should stand out from the person presenting the photo. If you are dressed rather darkly, a light background is recommended, and vice versa. Here, too, it’s about daring to be seen.

We would like to thank Sibylle Sommerer for her valuable tips and are pleased that she is designing the opening module on presentation skills and rhetoric in our CAS Leadership & Inlusion training.