Getting Your Message Across –

Communicating To Everyone In New and Effective Ways


We’re all having to find new and effective ways to communicate with our staff and volunteers at the moment and we are especially finding ourselves using more and more online platforms to help us. The ‘go to’ platform of the minute seems to be Go To (!), or sometimes Zoom, whilst the old favourites of Facebook, Skype or online webinars are still seeing lots of users.


Paul Marvell, Executive Head of the Battersea Academy recently attended a webinar on, ‘The top 10 tips for great online communications’ and he has shared his learning with us.


Tip 1 – Decide whether to do it live or pre-recorded. Pre-recorded can be useful for complex, detailed messages but obviously loses it spontaneity. You can still take live questions even with a pre-recorded film.


Tip 2 – Start and end on time. This tip emphasised the importance of preparation, and testing everything is working in advance of the start time. There is a ‘back room’ for speakers to converse and get on message before you allow participants to enter on most platforms. Keep things concise and punchy. Most webinars are 40 minutes so in this case allow 25 minutes for content and 15 for Q&A.


Tip 3 – Prepare. How do you want to come across? You need to really dial up your energy to at least 110%. Be enthusiastic, upbeat, positive be yourself.


Tip 4 – Think about the camera set-up,  the background (i.e. what’s behind you on camera) should not be too busy, e.g. a bookshelf might look scholarly but can be distracting as can family photos. A plain wall is perfect. Think about camera angles, the up the nose shot is not a great look! Ideal is slightly downwards angle and you should be in the centre of the frame not peeping from the bottom of the screen. If you’re using a webcam on your laptop, adjust the height of the laptop rather than the screen angle.


Tip 5 – Body language – BBC = bum in the back of the chair. FOF = feet on the floor. Smile.


Tip 6 – Voice. Make sure your voice smiles as well as your face so that voice is congruent with body language. Speak in a relaxed way at a normal pace and tone. Don’t speak too fast. Speak energetically with clear emphasis on key points.


Tip 7 – CARE – Compassion; Action; Reassurance; Example  – especially when communicating difficult news.


Tip 8  – Content – be clear, concise, on message, think about how you want the audience to feel, rehearse and practice. Limit the number of points you want to make. Use polls and quizzes to break up the presentation and to get feedback from your audience.


Tip 9 – Slides – keep any slides simple and visual (unlike the Chief Medical Officer’s slides!). Less is more. As a rule of thumb one slide = 2 minutes of content. Check spelling and format.


Tip 10 – Interaction – use polls/ quizzes. Allow time at the end for questions. End strongly.