Why Virtual Keynote Presentations Must Convey Raw Emotion & Empathy

Why Virtual Keynote Presentations Must Convey Raw Emotion & Empathy

Telling stories is central to what we do as keynote speakers. It draws us to our audience and makes what we teach and deliver within our keynote presentations memorable.

With the rise of virtual presentations, that crucial emotional connection has become harder to sustain and even more important. While at the same time, the future of virtual innovations such as augmented reality and virtual reality are all about reinventing how we convey virtual emotion. But sadly when most speakers, event teams and brands talk about virtual events or online keynote presentations that have a bad taste in their mouth thanks to webinars, “almost live” product demo’s and the random live streams of their neighbors cat that they’ve seen in their Facebook Live feed.

Way back in 2018, the National Speakers Association asked me to deliver a 10-minute keynote and 60-minute hands-on workshop at their Winter Conference to teach and inspire fellow speakers on how the next wave of technology will allow an audience to step into our shoes and interact, virtually, with the powerful emotions of a narrative.  I give NSA credit as this was not only an innovative way of thinking within the rise of offline events but it was also helping to provide additional revenue streams for speakers.

But for most speakers, when they thought about virtual experiences or the impact of online technology, they either associated it with innovations around augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence or linked it to the 30-minute webinars they’ve provided over the years. In my session at NSA Winter Conference which you can watch below, I worked hard at opening my fellow keynote speakers’ minds to having a new perspective on what virtual and online provided both on-stage and online. Here are a couple of the most tweeted quotes from that talk:

“Telling stories draws us to our audience and makes what we teach memorable, the problem is that because of the rise of virtual presentations, it’s getting harder to sustain an emotional connection with our audience.”  

“Relatability is the secret of online success, and live video is the gateway drug demonstrating participatory real-time interaction that will force us to rethink the power of virtual experiences

Virtual events, webinars and online summits don’t contain the same limitations as offline events which as speakers means our virtual event experiences have endless possibilities and the only real limitation is our imagination and willingness to think differently on what we deliver, how we provide and the technology we leverage to present our messages!”  

Forced Covid19 Pivot to Virtual

Fast forward to 2020, and the transformation Covid19 has forced postponing worldwide conferences and forcing not only conference but speakers to deliver virtual keynote presentations.  

Although the keynote below and the workshop were received very favorably by the NSA audience, I felt many linked my passion for virtual experiences and my desire to disrupt the virtual event space to the fact I was a millennial and had built my speaking business on the back of content marketing, social media and live streaming video.

“As speakers simply taking what we do great on stage at offline conferences and providing that online won’t cut it and will force you to lower speaking fees for #virtualevents and ultimately do more harm than good to your speaking brand!

Focus on shifting perspective and understanding the emotion your body & visuals are evoking!”

As the conference event industry and the professional speaker world point their attention, budgets, and brands towards developing and delivering virtual experiences the directions they can go are endless. I’ve made it my mission to do everything I can to disrupt and reinvent with those I coach, advise, and partner. Not only on the importance of reinventing what the virtual stage is but also the need to educate speakers, event professionals, and virtual event attendees on what is possible, what is expected, and the future we can ultimately create together! 

Give this video a watch and join me in shifting the perspective of virtual experiences and removing the limitations we have placed on virtual events. As I believe the only limitations that exist in the virtual world are within our own imagination.

For additional resources and to view the soon to be launched Virtual Experience marketplace click here.

If you’re looking to hire me to give a virtual keynote, MC or coach your speakers on being better on virtual please fill out the contact form and Michelle my head of events will get you all set up.

Top Live Streaming Video Software for Virtual Event Speakers, Teachers and Webinar Presenters

Top Live Streaming Video Software for Virtual Event Speakers, Teachers and Webinar Presenters

Live streaming isn’t new and in 2014 it drasticatly disrupted the marketing and social media world as apps like Meerkat took over SXSW, Twitter launched Periscope, Facebook went all in with Facebook Live and even YouTube, Instagram and Linkedin integrated live streaming.

Presenting at SXSW 2015 on Meerkat Live Streaming

For professional speakers and event planners’ live streaming was a “nice to have” for marketing and it did make the broadcasting of the opening keynote more accessible to a larger audience but it impacts truly was felt in the wake of Covid19 canceling offline conferences forcing everyone online.

Since 2014 I’ve done 3500+ live streams including launching live video campaigns for my clients on Facebook Live, Blab, Instagram, Periscope as well as webinars and online summits. But much how the world is changing to adapt to working from home so have the live streaming platforms and software in regards to functions, features, ability to multi-stream, custom overlays, multi-person integration and this is across a wide-range of solution types.

I’ve had so many questions about live streaming that I wanted to create a live stream showing the tools I use and what scenario is best for each… So if you are a virtual event speaker or running live zoom calls or wanting to make your live webinar more dynamic here are the tools I use…

I break the live streaming software into these categories:

  • Web-based
  • Mac encoder
  • Mobile manager
  • Zoom + live overlays
  • Multi-streaming

As I say in my most popular keynote program: PRESS THE DAMN BUTTON

As I stated in the video I do have a relationship with these tools but I also have a relationship with other tools that I didn’t show as these are my favorites for presenters, teachers, meeting leaders, and keynote speakers!

The tools I tested included Streamyard, Ecamm Live, Switcher Studio, Restream.IO, Wirecast, OBS, Be.Live, Zoom, GoToWebinar, On24, VMix and BrandLive.

If I misspoke or something has changed since I recorded this I will add updates in the comments of this post!

You can check out my Virtual Event Home Studio set up on my Amazon Store Here.

Live Streaming Your Virtual Event: 9 Questions to Ask Before Committing

Live Streaming Your Virtual Event: 9 Questions to Ask Before Committing

Live streaming video has exploded during these times much like it did in 2014 but what is it’s role in virtual events and how do we know when to use it versus pre-recorded video.

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Live streaming took the world by storm in 2015, and I for one was a major fan! I helped deploy live streaming initiatives for companies like IBM, the Superbowl and SAP. For a while, live streaming was my go-to strategy.

In the video above Brian uses Prezi Video to go live on Facebook Live. Brian answers the 9 most popular questions being asked around live streaming video and its role in virtual events in 2020.

As conferences move from offline to online they are looking for ways to create true virtual experiences and Brian believes live video is essential. But you might be surprised by some of these answers as there are many use cases where Brian doesn’t believe live video should be utilized.

Looking to create a successful virtual experience beyond just live video read “How to create a successful virtual event in 2020!”

The top 9 questions I get asked about live streaming for virtual events:

  1. Should all virtual events be on live video?
  2. Why should we #PressTheDamnButton with live video?
  3. When should we not use live video?
  4. Which platform is best for live video?
  5. When should a virtual event include: live video vs produced vs pre-recorded?
  6. How do I combine produced video with live video to maintain audience attention?
  7. How can we use live video to promote a virtual event before and after?
  8. How do we get the audience to interact and ask questions during the live stream?
  9. What should we do to limit the risk involved with live streaming on the day of the event?

1. Should all virtual events be on live video?

No, the entire event should never be fully live video. But yes, all virtual events should include live video segments before, during and after the event!

2. Why should we #PressTheDamnButton with live video?

  • Live video is participatory content
  • It shrinks the distance between the event and audience
  • There’s no better way to build trust or convey authenticity
  • Empowers the audience to help shape the direction of content and feel a part of the event
Home Studio Online Summit Keynote Speaker

3. When should we NOT use live video?

  • Live video will never replace production video and the power of editing can transform an average presentation into a great one.
  • If there isn’t a plan for active engagement or the presenter won’t see or adapt to the live conversation, live only adds complications. All of the moving pieces aren’t worth it if you are not going to live to its greatest ability.
  • When you want to have a unified look or controlled audio and video settings, live is not the way to go.
  • If you need more than one take or you’re doing a demo or you’re going aspects beyond the presentation might malfunction.

4. Which platform is best for live video?

  • There’s no one platform that is better than any other.
  • You must first determine what success looks like for your live video. Ask, who you are trying to reach? What format & style do you plan on creating? (Interview or mobile or vertical)
  • Understand the benefits and risks of streaming to multiple platforms at once
  • Have a plan to manage comments, questions and the live audience on the channels you are streaming.

5. When should a virtual event include: Live Video vs produced vs pre-recorded

  • Live Video: Providing access and leveraging the participatory component of the video!
  • Produced: Telling a story that must go beyond the presenter’s words and slides through things like b-roll, sound effects and story format.
  • Pre-Recorded: When you want to control and manage the audio, video and length of the video while doing multiple takes. Also if you want to add closed captions and mitigate risks involved with live video.

6: How do I combine produced video with live video to maintain audience attention?

  • Manage expectations at the start
  • Be Transparent with what aspects of the virtual event will be recorded vs live
  • If the speaker will be doing Q&A after a produced video tease that before and during the produced video session
  • Leverage live video before a produced video to add context and take questions teasing what is to come in the produced video
  • Balance the desire to have evergreen videos with live to provide the FOMO and excitement available beyond the produced videos you can watch later!

7. How can we use live video to promote a virtual event before and after?

  • AMA
  • Launch party
  • Q&A  with speakers 
  • Behind the scenes planning
  • Giveaways and contests
  • Influencer collaborations
  • Preview of the day
  • Daily Recap
  • Key takeaways to create FOMO for those that didn’t attend
  • Updates and changes to schedule or expectations 
  • Speaker access
  • Episodic shows

8: How do we get the audience to interact and ask questions during the live stream?

  • Teach & provide examples
  • Reminders and recommendations 
  • Seeded questions to influencers and ambassadors
  • Giveaways 
  • On video acknowledgment 
  • Ask direct questions with multiple types of answers
  • Focus on open-ended & personal over choices or true & false 
  • Empathetic connections more WE than Me
  • Crowdsource ideas and direction of content
  • Celebrate those that do comment 

9. What should we do to limit the risk involved with live streaming on the day of the event?

  • Create backup plans but don’t plan to fail
  • Create swim lanes & live video expectations rather than rules
  • Create pre-recorded filler videos as a backup
  • Allow the host freedom to stretch things out with direct communication with the host
  • Test, Test and Test and know that something will go wrong
  • Bandwidth, lighting and audio will be top priorities create best practices 
  • Use kit or standard equipment to limit variables
  • Leverage remote producers beyond the live video talent
  • Teach presenter to roll with the punches rather than expecting it to go as tested
  • Tweak, Test, Tweak again, Repeat

As we continue to push the boundaries of what we can do with virtual experiences I’ve enjoyed testing new solutions for presenting and interacting with the audience.

As you see in this video I used PreziVideo which is a new tool that allows you to create a template for your video then either record it or live stream it to Zoom replacing stale slides.

I enjoy disrupting and testing new tools and as I do I will be sharing all of the insights, links and use cases on my Virtual Event Resources page.

Looking for more on live streaming and how it should be leveraged with virtual events? Watch this video!