Griggs: The battle begins: Zoom vs, in-person

You can’t Zoom forever. There comes a time when you have to stand up, speak up and sell your ideas with in-person public speaking.

The old style of hammering prospects with a message has run its course. There is a new way to connect with people who have just “dodged-a-bullet.” The next time you stand before an audience it will not be your pre-2020 group of people. Your audience is weary of technical details sabotaging entire virtual meetings. They are tired of watching others mute and make dinner and pour a drink on camera while you struggle to remain attentive.

An invitation to a Zoom meeting will forever carry a subtle whiff of isolation, eviction, foreclosure and half a million deaths. Harsh, but meet your new audience — they’ve changed and they’re watching your motives. Many will swear they’ve had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD (or Susto) and remain quite cautious about health matters. A large percentage will forever grieve the loss of family, partners and fellow citizens. 

Most of us have taken a hit with our social skills. This above all will impact both speaker and attendee. Some will hesitate to grab the bull’s horns and continue to peek at the world from a small screen. Others will test their speaking skills in person and forgive themselves the inevitable gaffes, stumbles and amateur mistakes. Like a boxer coming back from retirement we’ll need to scrape off the rust and accept the slow climb back up the learning curve — we’re human and we’re ready to test ourselves.

I’m guessing new audiences will have little patience for thin self-promotion above the reader, the viewer or the live audience. They want you to do something for them not for you to show off or push your podcast, website, page, video or poster. I know well the exigence of doing what you must do to stay in business. I’ll be favoring my humanity that connects to the humanity of my audience. My goal is to have an Internet and social media presence that allows my readers, prospects and clients to breathe easy because they know that this Griggs guy genuinely has their best interest in mind.

Post-pandemic speaking tips

Rehearse — Learn the difference between amateur and professional speakers. The amateur thinks he or she is ready after a couple of practice sessions. The professional knows the value of rehearsing four different ways. Rehearse in front of a mirror, while standing, while seated and while holding a microphone (real or fake).

Run from the Zoom monster — At least for now give it a break and make up for the previous year by getting out (when it’s safe) and meeting people and sharing your world. Let’s go back-to-school on socializing. I’m convinced this lack has harmed our collective mental health and can be a major tool in rebuilding it. Those who push themselves to socialize tend to be better speakers.

Dial back on tech — Stop believing that it’s your PowerPoint, props, videos, life-size banners and polished giveaways that will move an audience. They want to see your humanity — especially now. After that they’ll know whether or not they should believe you. When they see your “humanness” they will know if you’ve gone through the “trial-by-fire” that makes you an honest person. Honest people tell honest stories and run honest businesses. All the other things are needed and helpful, but it’s a core connection that moves an audience — not the technology.

Like others, I’m pulling the curtain back on the Internet and social media: Most people have little to say, but they’re good at saying it. Some keep saying (or posting) it. The entire world got a concentrated year of tweeting, Zooming, posting and messaging. Did it work? As soon as we can, let’s give that human touch another try.

Rick Griggs is a former Intel Corp. training manager and inventor of the rolestorming creativity tool. He runs the 10-month Leadership Mastery Academy. rick.griggs83@gmail.com or 970-690-7327.