An ocean of opportunity: my fun-fantastic online speaking journey 

Online public speaking: exploit the opportunity
Photo by Joel Vodell on Unsplash

Had you told me a few weeks ago that I’d be as enthusiastic about virtual presenting as I am now, I would not have believed you.

Going into lockdown here in Brussels in March, all physical trainings were immediately postponed. At the time, most clients weren’t ready to move trainings online. Understandably so, they had other things to worry about.

But what if they had moved trainings online right away?

Would I have felt ready?

The answer is a resounding “Yes but…”

The yes

The biggest obstacle in making a good presentation is good content. Your presentation has to give the biggest possible value to the audience. I haven’t given a training where this wasn’t so: creating the value is the biggest hurdle a speaker needs to take. And it’s the biggest help I give: a method that shows you how to create top notch content every time.

Online we have to overcome the same hurdle and more so: the online environment is even less forgiving if you get it wrong.

Moreover, as I wrote here, mastering your content paves your way to take the other speaking hurdles: there is no better way to boost your confidence than to know that you will give value. That, too, counts online.

So why the but? 

I’ve given webinars online, I’ve coached online. In fact, a lot of one-on-one coaching is online. But most of that coaching is not for online. It mostly prepares people to speak in the ‘real world‘. Yes, I’ve helped a few people to prepare for webinars but I wasn’t a go-to-person for virtual presenting.

And now?

I am.

What happened?

Once more in my life, Toastmasters gave me the opportunity for a deep dive.

With the Toastmasters World Championships being held for the first time in Europe this year (well, that’s cancelled now), I decided it would be fun to compete in the annual speech contest again. I won the first stages of the contest in front of a real audience! Great!

Then the contest moved online. Not great!

At least that was my first reaction. In my speech I share something private – it felt strange to say that into a lonely camera.

But then, thanks to a talk with my fellow Toastmaster Zsuzsana Corridori, I started seeing clearly. What a fool I was: here was the opportunity to get good at what I wanted to get good at and I was not to grab that opportunity?

No way!

Shoulders of giants

I did what my friend, mentor and sparring partner Daniel Mouqué always advises: when you want to get really good at something, find the giants on whose shoulders you can stand.Practicing my Toastmasters online inspirational contest speech

I reached out to those who master this medium. I asked them to coach me and I asked many others to help me improve my use of voice, gestures, words and I learned so much in so little time.

Last Saturday I won the English Online Belgian Speech Contest. I now have the honour to compete on international level with winners in other countries.

But more importantly, I feel so different now.


Beyond corona-circumstance lies the ocean of online opportunity

At first, I wanted to get good at giving online trainings because of corona-circumstance. Now I love the medium! I’ve discovered that speaking online is an ocean of opportunity. Not only can we have impact here. We can engage in ways that aren’t even possible in the real world. This medium has its own opportunities, plenty of them.

So yes, I’m excited and just in time as the first customers are moving trainings online now.

To be honest, I wish more did. Trainings keep being postponed. I understand that. But now I cannot help seeing the ocean of opportunity.

Am I ready to help people rock the online stage? You bet!


Photo credit goes to my fun-fantastic photographer and wonderful daughter Anna, 12.

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One thought on “An ocean of opportunity: my fun-fantastic online speaking journey 

  1. I always go back to our conversation even today. It was when you were coaching me over skype for my TEDxGhent talk performance on the stage and asked me to record our conversation in my mobile phone. I realise training for webinar/online performance is a must now!

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