Engage Your Audience During Zoom Meetings | Jarmila Oškerová | Skillshare

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Engage Your Audience During Zoom Meetings

teacher avatar Jarmila Oškerová, English Tutor and Neurolanguage Coach®

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (51m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. What Makes a Great Communicator

    • 3. Listen and Link

    • 4. Use the RAP Method

    • 5. Direct the Spotlight

    • 6. Sequence Your Speech

    • 7. Ask Questions

    • 8. Unlock a Quiet Audience

    • 9. Class Project

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About This Class

Engaging your audience is not only necessary for speaking in public, but it is also a key leadership attribute. The first step is to understand the complexity of your audience and thoroughly analyze what they
need. From there you can develop effective strategies to get them involved and keep focused on the task at hand.

In this class, we will first have a look at the communication process. You will learn how to deliver your messages efficiently.

Secondly, you will learn to listen and link, creating an atmosphere of trust by connecting your message directly to your audience.

Next, we cover the RAP method (recognize, affirm, and participate) - a key method that will help you make your messages have a strong impact on your audience. You will also learn to smoothly transition
from one topic to another.

During this class, you will also learn some useful engagement strategies on how to open a quiet audience by asking suitable questions.

What are you waiting for? Go watch it now:)

Meet Your Teacher

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Jarmila Oškerová

English Tutor and Neurolanguage Coach®



Hello, I'm Mila

I’m a language specialist and Neurolanguage Coach®. I come from the Czech Republic and I’m based in Spain.

I’ve been teaching English since 2012 and have worked with thousands of clients from 6 different countries. I blend language learning with neuroscience and coaching. Since 2018 I’ve been teaching 100 % online and have more than 9000 classes under my belt.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Philology and Economics and a Master’s degree in Translation and Interpreting. During my college studies, I taught English in Egypt, Spain, and China. After my graduation, I moved to Spain where I got my CELTA certificate and worked at an English language academy.

In 2018, I started teaching online for a ... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hello and welcome to my class. My name is Mila and I am an English Communication Coach for recruiters. Before I tell you what we are going to do in this class, let me ask you a question. How do you feel about Zoom meetings or meetings in general? How many meetings do you have every day, every week? Maybe you will say they are boring, or there are too many of them, or they're useless? Yes, most of them are. But let me tell you one thing. They don't have to be. Today I'm going to show you how to engage your audience, your listeners, during any Zoom meeting you might have on any topic. So what we are going to do in this class. First, we will talk about active listening and linking. How you should connect your message to your audience so that they listen to you. Then, I will show you a very useful method that you can apply in your next meetings. Then I will show you some useful language for transitions, when you need to move from one topic to another, how to do it mostly. And also I will show you how to deal with anxiety that you might get it when you are the center of attention. So we will learn how to deal with it, what to do about it. We'll also have a look at different types of questions. What questions you should ask, okay, in different kinds of situations. And we will finish with dealing with difficult audience. An audience that doesn't want to participate. Okay? So you can watch all the topics one by one, or you can just choose the one that interests you the most, okay? They are not really related to each other, so you can skip the topics that you think are not for you, but let me tell you they are all for you. You can learn a lot in every single part of this class. So that's it. And let's get started. 2. What Makes a Great Communicator: What makes a great communicator? Have you ever wondered why some people are excellent communicators? What magic do they have? Why do people want to listen to them? If we were to find just one word, one reason for that, It might be connection. Think about the last time you left a meeting or a presentation or conference and said: Wow, that was great, that made sense to me. I enjoyed that. If that happened, then you felt connected to both the communicator and the message. So as you can see here, the essential components of any communication. Any communication, are these: speaker, audience, and message. So all these three components need to work flawlessly. They need to become interconnected. Now. So how can we do that? Look, first, we need to think how we want our message to be received by our audience. So we need to organize the sequence of information. So are you sharing information? Most of the business meetings fall into this category. So when you are sharing information, some facts, all the key details should be announced upfront. And you should signpost. You should prepare your audience to what you are going to say next, okay? They should expect what's coming. It needs to be as clear as possible. But look at this: persuading. Are you persuading your audience? Well, in that case, the key points should be at the end. Okay? This will give you a chance to show your audience the benefits of whatever you are trying to highlight, or sell, or whatever. Are you telling a story? Stories usually have a surprise ending, right? So the structure of a story is similar to the structure of persuading. So you should structure your story as a murder mystery. All the details should come at the end. And your timing needs to be precise. You want to surprise your audience, or even shock them. So these are the three main structures. In all of these cases, You need to use examples, real-life examples, scenarios and stories that are relatable to your audience. You have to make them part of your presentation. They need to feel connected to what you are saying. They need to relate. It needs to be close to them. Yeah? Because if it's not close to them, if they cannot relate, they will just zone out. They will stop paying attention because it's boring. Yeah? So this is how to deliver audience centric communication or audience centric message. Now, we will dig a little bit deeper into the connection between you and your audience. So let's continue. 3. Listen and Link: In this chapter, we are going to talk about listening and linking. So first, let's talk about listening. You know that most people do not listen with the intent to understand. They listen with the intent to reply. Usually. and it happens to most of us, that, when we listen, we tend to formulate our answer in the meantime. So some key information might escape us. We don't listen fully. Do you notice this? So if English is not your native language, you might actually have an advantage here because you listen closely to others so that you can capture the essence of a message. Native speakers, on the other hand, can casually formulate their ideas while others are speaking. So if you are a non-native English speaker, and there's a great chance that you are great, you're good at active listening. Now. Listening. Active listening is the best way of connecting to a person or a group. It doesn't matter whether you are agreeing, disputing, persuading, or just sharing information. You need to develop trust and expand your influence. So how can we do that? So when you actively listen, you try to understand your counterpart or counterparts. Every single thing they say needs to be understood. And if you don't understand what they're saying, you can paraphrase. It means you can say, you can repeat what they are saying in a different way. In different words. It's a form of asking for clarification. You can say something like: If I understand you correctly, you are saying that: and now you repeat what they said. Did I get that correct? Is that right? Another technique, you can ask for more specific information. For example: Can you tell me the criteria that you use? Could you give me more details? You can also seek a better understanding. How did you come to this conclusion? You can ask some probing questions. Could you tell me a little bit more about that? What impact do you think that will have? How do your ideas tie into the bigger picture? Now, we need to understand that active listening does not challenge the communicator. It helps us understand the key message. It also shows that we are engaged, that we really listen to them, that we pay attention. Now, the second part of this method is linking. Linking means connecting your message to your audience. Now, the thing is that for most of us, when we present information, when we stand in front of our audience, we are the center of attention. We get nervous, anxious, right, and we tend to focus on ourselves. You know, we focus on ourselves, on our message. And we just want to get over with it as soon as possible and just disappear. So this is where you as a non-native speaker might be at a disadvantage. Why? Because of vocabulary. We need specific phrases to create links with our target audience. We call these links connectors. Look, the good news is, I've got you covered. Here you have some examples that you can use when you work with an individual. If you have a one-on-one session meeting, you can use these. I would like to share something with you. This is a great way of connecting to your listener. You will enjoy this example. Again, everybody loves examples. I remember how you once told me... This is an amazing way. Because you let them know that you remember what they once told you. Everyone loves to be recognized. Let me share something with you. I appreciate your point of view. I disagreed with your opinion, but I respect it. Now, if you'll work with a group, you can use some of these. Here's the benefit for all of us. These examples relate to you because... Please, feel comfortable to push back as it will help us to sharpen the perspective. Together let's explore. We should take a look at what it means for us as a group. So these specific phrases will help you demonstrate that you do understand those around you and that your messages are designed for them. Now, when you are not attuned to your audience. When, as I said before, when they feel disconnected, you can easily lose, sorry, they can easily lose focus, and then you lose the attention of your group. So try to practice these phrases and these phrases and try to make them part of your everyday language. Try to use them, try using them during your next meeting. Let's see. If it helps. 4. Use the RAP Method: Let's talk about the RAP method or RAP method. This method is from the book Leading in English by Vincent Varallo and I find this method, this approach, super useful. I use it all the time. RAP stands for recognize, affirm, and participate. And this is the method that you can use throughout your presentation that it will help you to keep your audience interested and connected to your message. So let's talk about each part. Recognize. When you recognize your audience, you let them know they matter. How to do this? There are five ways of recognizing your audience. First,use their names. Second, identify all the departments. Three, link two or more participants. Four, acknowledged different languages and cultures. Five, discuss your background in English. Now, we will talk about each technique in detail. Let's start with using people's names. This tactic seems super easy, and it is easy. But most of us are so focused on our message, right? On the delivery of our message that we forget. We forget to use people's names. So how to do that? You might say something like: Thanks for taking the time to see me, John. Or: This is Christina, one of our consultants. Does everyone know Mary Norman? Jeff, could you please read the notes? Okay? So, one note, okay? Don't overuse people's names. If you say someone's name five times in two minutes, that's weird. So just try to find the balance, okay? Now, if you are working with a larger group and using names is not practical, then you can recognize the departments represented. You can say something like: Today, we have our sales department here, as well as the HR department. In a very large conference where it's not even possible to mention the departments. Tried to mention various industries, where the audience members work. Now, link two or more participants. When you do that, people will feel valued and respected. You may say something like: Lu, what you are saying now directly relates to the work Jonathan is doing. Or: Susan, Kim and I were discussing this earlier. Or: Mercedes, Jorge and Adrián, you did such great work as a team. Acknowledge different languages and cultures. At the beginning of your meeting or presentation, define that the shared language of the group will be global English, not native English. This seems like a weird distinction, but it's very important to make this distinction. Because if your meeting participants come from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, everyone has a responsibility to ensure message clarity. Let me repeat it. Everyone has the responsibility to make sure that the messages are clear. Not only non-native speakers. Native speakers as well. Okay? So when you do this, when you acknowledge different languages and cultures, you give everyone the opportunity to be heard. Not just the naturally dominant voices. Similar to that, discuss your background in English. Yeah. Discuss your tendencies to speak quickly, slowly, softly, loudly. Make sure that every participant gets the chance to share their thoughts and concerns. You know, during global meetings, you might have participants that have a hard time understanding different accents. Maybe some people struggle with the British accent. Some people might admit that they tend to mumble when they get nervous. Some people might struggle understanding native speakers when they speak too quickly. So this is a signal for native speakers to slow down, maybe simplify their vocabulary, don't overuse idioms. As I said, it's a global meeting. It's not only non-native speakers that need to adjust to native sneakers because native speakers are no more the majority of all English speakers. So the next part of the RAP method is called affirm. What does that mean? Your audience wants two answers. They're asking themselves two questions. Why should I be listening to you? Why is this important to me? So you need to provide answers to these questions. Okay? Sometimes it's called affirmation, sometimes it's called value proposition. What is the value they get from the meeting? If they don't get any value, they will be bored, they will be disengaged, they will zone out, they will not listen to you. So here are three phrases you can use. Okay? You can say: Here's why this is important for us as a team. Please note that this message impacts us greatly because... What this means for your group is... Now, participate. You want to share your message, but you also want your audience to participate, right? You want them to share their thoughts, their concepts. Why? Because we want their input, right? So the key here is show, don't tell. Allow people to draw their own conclusions. Let them share their stories and ask questions. So what is visualization? Visualization is you allow your audience to imagine something. So let me give you an example. Let's say that you and your team need a new software program. Okay? So you say: Oh, our current program is too slow. We need a new one if we want to be effective. You say it like that, and then your audience says: Okay, she thinks we need a new software program. But if you show them that the current software program is wasting their time and that a new one can save their time, you allow them to visualize it. For example, you say: Has anyone noticed that the ABC program that we are using is really slow these days. People will be like: yeah, yeah, it's not loading. Oh, it's buffering for a long time. Say: what should we do about it? Or what do you suggest? Then they will think about it. They say I think we need a new software program. They visualize it first, and then they come up with their own idea. As a group or as individuals. They come to the conclusion themselves. So by giving them the space to think, to reflect, and to visualize, you let them create their own conclusions. And when you draw your own conclusion, it's much more powerful than being told something, right? Just imagine your teacher telling you, okay, in this class, we will do 1...2...3. Or you setting your own goals. I want to learn 1...2...3. So then, if you set your own goals, you have this ownership, you are the owner of the goals, and you have bigger motivation to work on your goals and achieving them much bigger than a teacher telling you, okay, you need to do 1, 2, 3. So that's the same, in every situation, not only at school. So, also, you need to ask questions as we said, and we will talk about asking questions in the following chapter. And of course, give them space to ask questions. Okay, here, you have to be careful. When do you want to give them space to ask questions? After you finish a segment, a topic, or at the end of the meeting, You need to be conscious of your time. You need to think beforehand. Maybe you already know your audience. You can assume, or you can guess if they will have questions or not. If you know they will have a lot of questions and maybe you won't have that much time, just leave it to the end of the meeting. If you think they won't have that many questions or that it's really important to understand each topic before moving on to another topic, then ask them after finishing every topic, before you move on to the next one. 5. Direct the Spotlight: Public speaking interactions with native speakers can make you feel like you are in the spotlight. Maybe you are a running virtual conferences, facilitating meetings, presenting information in front of groups, or leading discussions. Do you feel like everyone is watching, waiting for your next move? Does it make you feel anxious? Well, let's shift the mindset. Don't think of yourself as the center of the show, but rather as a director. You control this spotlight and you rotate it in three directions. First. You sometimes do put the spotlight on yourself. It's necessary. Other times, you focus the spotlight on your content. And also, and this one is the one that most people fail to do, you must shine the spotlight on your audience. When you rotate the center of attention, you become the director and the information flows, and you connect the information to your audience and your audience to the content. So let's break it down. You shine the spotlight on yourself when you built credibility. For example, you say: Recently, I had the opportunity to have dinner with the CFO of our largest client and have some interesting insights to share with you. This is how you build your credibility. Or you can say: Getting the certification was intense. I'm happy it's finished. Now, I can tell you about some of my takeaways. You also do like the spotlight on yourself when you share your opinion. For example: I feel we should pursue this opportunity even though it might bring us over budget. Here's why. Also, you direct the spotlight on yourself when you persuade your audience. You can say something like: I fully understand you, but this is not the direction in which we should head, allow me to explain. You want to shine a spotlight on your content. You direct the spotlight on your content when you share critical information. For example: Everyone, please take a look at this spreadsheet and notice... Also, when you prepare your audience for discussion: I have sent everyone the proposal from our new client. Please have that handy as we will focus on the pros and cons of this approach. And finally, you shine the spotlight on your content when you focus on specific information. For example: As you can see in this picture... Or: Look at the third bullet point. You need to shine the spotlight on your audience. This is the critical one, okay? We do that to connect with our audience, to thread their ideas together and to allow them to push back. So for example, if you want to connect with your audience, you're going to use some of the techniques we already discussed before, right? In the chapter Listen and Link and the RAP method. So you can say: Before the meeting, John shared an idea that I think is important for all of us. Or: I'm thrilled to see the HR department is here. Then you shine a spotlight on her audience to stretch their ideas together. Your comment ties directly back to what Johnny was saying earlier. Let's stay with your comment and dig a little deeper. It is at the center of this discussion that...Also you need to shine the spotlight on them when you want to hear their opinions. What do the rest of you think? I'm glad you have brought up this idea. While I do not agree, it allows us to sharpen this discussion. So the key takeaway from this chapter is to remember that you are not the center of attention. You are just one third of the center of the attention. Don't forget to shine the spotlight on your content and on your audience. 6. Sequence Your Speech: Let's talk about sequencing your speech, organizing your speech, and transitioning, moving from one topic to another. Your speech or your presentation should have introduction. Then yhe middle part, where you will need to use some transition phrases and then the conclusion. So, introductions. When you start your speech, you'll have a chance to outline your agenda to your audience. It is also the best opportunity to connect your audience to the content. Transitions. We use transitions to move from one participant to another when we want to extend an important thought or if we want to move from one topic to another. And conclusions, you'll use your summary skills to signal that you are nearing the end and go through the key points. Now look. Introduce. Here we have some ready to use phrases. You can use this or this, or I always suggest my students make your own. Make your own phrase that feels great for you and that you feel comfortable using and try to use it as much as possible. Transitions. Here you have some suggestions. This or this, or make your own. And the same with conclusions, how to conclude your speech. 7. Ask Questions: Asking questions. The most popular way to engage a group is to ask them questions. If we are lucky, they are energetic and willing to participate. However, all of us have had the experience where we ask a question and then get silence. It feels strange and uncomfortable. The inexperienced presenter feels compelled to fill the silence, sometimes by answering the questions themselves and other times, moving on with the agenda. We can prevent this if we know what types of questions we should ask. When exploring what type of questions you should ask, you need to determine what type of answer you want to get. To do that, you need to understand the four main categories of questions. Number one, specific questions. We want specific information. For example, what are the benefits of blah, blah, blah. Number 2, opinion questions. We want to know their opinions. What do you think this is a good decision? Number 3, analysis questions. We want to analyze situation. Break it down. How can we break this down? What is involved? Number 4, comprehension questions. We want to make sure everybody has understood. What are the key takeaways? Keep in mind that all these examples are open questions that require a detailed response. Moving on, here, we have some useful techniques. You probably know that in English, there are two main types of questions, open and closed. Closed can also be called yes or no questions. We use open questions to establish report with our audience, to create focus, and to expand our ideas. We use closed questions to get specific responses, to get agreement or disagreement from our audience and to find out some factual data. Now, here we have two useful techniques. Start with a closed question and then move to open questions. When we want to frame the topic or lead a discussion, okay? For example, you can say: Can we afford the new software program? That's a closed question. You'll get responses and then you continue: What exactly are our next steps? This is open analytical question. So we go from close to open. And the second technique is to go from open to closed. This will help us to guide the audience or stay on topic. You start with open questions. For example: What are some of the benefits of having this new equipment? This is an open question. And then when you get some comments, you follow with: Can we afford it? Yes or no, right? This is a closed question. Then, at the end of the discussion, it's useful to ask some comprehension questions to make sure we are all on the same page. 8. Unlock a Quiet Audience: Let's talk about dealing with a difficult audience. An audience that is quiet or doesn't want to participate. There are three main steps that we should follow. Open, extend, and transition. Let's talk about each one of them in detail. Open. How to open a discussion? Start with closed ended question. Okay? So yes or no question. For example: Do you think we can meet the deadline next week? Then you'll get a yes or no answer. And you'll follow up with an open-ended statement. And this statement serves to extend the conversation. Please, explain a little more about your question or: Please, share a bit more. A note about when you ask the audience for questions. The thing is, almost everyone uses the closed ended structure. Do you have any questions? So the audience can think No Nothing for me. I don't have any questions. And nobody says anything. Everybody keeps quiet. You don't get any answers. You don't get any questions. So instead, use an open-ended structure. Ask: What questions or comments do you have? Now, remember that at this point, the silence is your friend. Don't be afraid of silence. Be patient. Wait them out. Okay? Your audience is giving you silence, so give it back to them. And finally, when someone asks a question or makes a comment, what you, not only you, me as well, I think everyone would we tend to do is to go ahead and answer that question immediately because we are so happy that somebody asked a question. But if you have a quiet group, much better approach would be to extend to the statement or explore the question. Let's have a look at how to do it. So how to extend the question before you answer it? Let's begin by validating the person, Okay, who is contributing? The person who has asked the question. You can say something like: Thanks for sharing the question, Adriana. And then you can turn to the group. Okay? So don't answer the question yourself. Ask your audience. You can say something like: Interesting question. Please explain it a bit more. Let's stay with that statement and dig a little deeper. That's an important question, let's talk about it. Let's put your question to the group. Tell me more. So now you've opened the conversation and you've extended it, the conversation, okay? Now what we need to do is to get others involved as well. This is the transition part. You can say: Thanks Jen for your input. Now, what do the rest of you think? Or: Interesting point Carl. Let's hear from some others. You may also need to transition to help keep the agenda focused. So quiet audiences can put pressure on us to keep the agenda moving because takes a long time to open and extend the group. So transitioning from one point to another is critical. Here are some examples. We've made strong observations about this idea. Now, let's put the same focus on our next topic. We have time for one more comment. We could easily spend hours on this topic, so we will revisit it, but our next agenda item is equally important. That's it. 9. Class Project: Let's talk about a class project. You can download an editable PDF down below and complete the exercises. Then, upload your class project and participate in the discussion. I can't wait to hear your thoughts. And if you have any experiences, please share them. Because this is the best way to learn by listening to other people's experiences and learning from them. So that's it. Thank you so much for watching this class. I hope it was helpful. Here are my details. If you want to get in touch with me, please do. I will be very grateful for that. Okay. Have a wonderful day and see you next time.