My father is deaf, and struggles to be engaged in conversations – particularly virtually. Therefore I have become aware of the importance of how to speak clearly virtually, to ensure he is able to respond. Here is the British Deaf Association website which highlights the challenges deaf people have.
11 million people are deaf or hard of hearing in the United Kingdom.
8 million of these people are over 60. And one in ten adults suffer from tinnitus, which impacts their ability to hear clearly. This plays an impact in people’s ability to engage and be included in business conversations.
Why am I highlighting these figures?
There is a strong possibility that someone in your team has some hearing loss, or tinnitus, resulting in them struggling to hear conversations. And this is more extreme in virtual meetings where other facts could be making it more difficult to hear conversations. I was therefore delighted when
How can we ensure our teams can all hear and how can we ensure everyone speaks clearly virtually?
The tips above are extremely valuable to all attendees of virtual meetings and presentations. Both the organisers/facilitators/chairpeople AND the attendees all need to be aware of speaking clearly and doing the above things you in order to include everyone in the conversation.
Facilitators and Chairperson of a virtual meeting
- check if anyone needs specific assistance before the meeting
- There are features in many platforms where subtitles can be generated as people speak. Although they are in real time and therefore not 100% accurate, they do provide some assistance.
- Agree to have someone on the call that summarises everything in real time on chat for anyone who experiences hearing loss, so they can keep up to date with any discussion
- Agree certain rules, such as being muted when not speaking and not interrupting
- Everyone switches on their videos so lip reading is easier
- check everyone understands everything on a regular basis
- Provide the space for anyone who has hearing loss to ask questions and for anything to be repeated to ensure they are fully involved in the conversation
- if you are hard of hearing or deaf, make sure you warn the organiser and the other attendees, so they can ensure they include you.
- Speak more slowly and speak clearly
- Say your name before you contribute within the conversation
- If there is background noise where you are located, mute until you speak
- As with any virtual speaking, keep all content brief and straight forward. You can always send more detailed information for everyone to comment on
- Switch on your video screen and look at the screen when you speak
- Be lit up so everyone can see your face
- Check your sound: is it clear or might you need to purchase an external microphone to make it clearer
We have an excellent CPD accredited online course Speaking to Engage where you discover how to speak more clearly. This is a great course for anyone who speaks in virtual meetings and wishes to make a positive impact virtually.
In the end, it is important to know how to speak clearly virtually; you make more impact when you speak clearly in virtual meetings. But more importantly, you are making it easier for people with hearing loss to listen and understand you. A very good thing to consider.
If you would like to work with Superstar Communicator, why not book a call with us here