Warwick Merry says mastering the art of online communication and presentations is an important key to success in investing and business.
For the certified speaking professional, effectively engaging and communicating with people is at the core of every aspect of life.
Warwick joined KnowHow founder Bushy Martin on the Get Invested to provide the tips and tricks to successfully presenting to an audience, especially when online.
Understanding your audience
The biggest mistake people can make when communicating or presenting is not taking into account the wants and needs of their audience.
“It’s really in that whole concept of, you got two ears to one mouth. So you need to listen twice as much as you speak. Now my wife has mentioned quite often how good at ‘mansplaining’ I am, and so it is about, what does my audience really need to know? I don’t need to tell them everything, and often it’ll be to my detriment if I do tell them everything because I’ll just be overwhelming and they’ll shut down,” Warwick said.
For Warwick, the best method is to ask questions and get the audience involved in the conversation. This creates dialogue, rather than a monologue.
“Really listen and ask better questions. I think if you can ask better questions, that makes such a difference because people don’t want a monologue, they want a dialogue. And the same could be said for presenting. That’s one of the reasons I love virtual presentations and virtual meetings because I don’t have to wear pants, but I look professional and I can see you in the eyes and we can have a great conversation.”
The Holy Trinity of successful presentations
Successful online presentations come from the ‘Holy Trinity’ – lighting, composition and sound.
“The first one is to make sure we’ve got good lighting. We need to be able to see you. And I’m not saying go out and buy studio gear, because I have an old lamp that I put a different light bulb in, a good light in the ceiling of my office, and I add a little light, like what you get at Bunnings, that I’ve just stuck up in the corner. And that’s just given me a nice spectrum of light. So lighting is important,” Warwick said.
“The second thing is your composition. Who is it that gets paid a ton of cash to have really good on screen presence? Newsreaders. So for me, the newsreaders have good composition. So the head’s close to the top of the screen, they’re typically centred, you can see the zoom level so there’s not a single person standing at the back of the room. And if they’ve got graphics over the shoulder, the camera slightly moves so the person’s to one side and the graphics there. So that’s the type of composition you need to have.”
Warwick explained that sound is the most important element, which is mainly influenced by the type of room you’re situated in.
“Now I will put up with dodgy lighting, and I’ll put up with a bad composition. But I will not put up with dodgy sound if I can’t hear you properly or if there’s crackling. So you got to get the sound right,” he said.
“And people will often say to me, what’s the best microphone? When it’s got nothing to do with the microphone. It’s got everything to do with the room that you’re in. For example, the room I’m in right now, I’ve got carpet on the floor, I’ve stapled some foam to my walls and doors, and this is the room I take my clothes in because I don’t have enough space in the master bedroom for my clothes. And these clothes are brilliant for absorbing sound. And in fact, a lot of podcasters record their podcast in their walk-in wardrobe because the sound there is so good. So those three things will make a massive difference to your communication presence virtually.”
The importance of being authentic
Being authentic and genuinely concerned and caring for your audience goes a long way.
“One of the big things nowadays really is authenticity. When you’ve got this authentic person who’s actually interested in your goals, not theirs, that makes a massive difference. And if you’ve got to present to someone who’s really interested in, how can we make sure that all of us get to where we want to go? That makes a big difference,” Warwick said.
“So therefore, you need to have some vulnerability about it. So you have to at least be yourself amplified. So bring your whole personality and just crank it up a little bit, not way over the top. Give it that little bit extra because, particularly if you’re virtual, they’ll take that energy.”