Remote Presence: How to Project through a Screen

by Alba Villamil

One of the challenges of online speaking is having “stage presence” without being in the same room as your audience. It’s much harder to command their attention when the audience can’t see or feel your energy. So here are three strategies I use to help me project through the screen. 

Strategy 1:  Annotate your speaker notes to signal vocal delivery. When your audience can’t see your face or body movement, your voice becomes an even more important storytelling tool. I put cues in my notes to visualize how I should deliver a line for maximum impact. For example, if I want to convey the gravity of a fact or argument, I bold my font. This reminds me to slow down and deepen my voice when I get to that part of the talk.

Strategy 2:  Treat your remote workspace as a stage. I sound more energetic when I’m on my feet so I use a standing desk as a podium. I also dress as if I’m on stage even if the audience can’t see me. That bright red blazer that makes me feel confident? I’m wearing it.

Strategy 3: Start your talk with a bang. You have at most a minute to grab the audience’s attention at the beginning of a talk. Instead of introducing yourself right away, kick-off your talk with a funny example or provocative story–anything that signals to the audience that they should sit down, close any other windows they have open on their computer, and focus on you. 

Idea for Action: Brainstorm three ways that you can treat your own remote workspace as a stage. Can you rearrange your office, or put your laptop on a higher surface so you can stand? Can you wear something different? What else would help? Then, pick one idea to implement today.

About the Author: Alba Villamil is an independent Design Researcher who specializes in the social sector. She has experience researching disadvantaged or vulnerable populations such as refugees, low-income families, and domestic violence survivors.

Connect with Alba Villamil at LinkedInMedium, or Twitter.


Train up speakers at your company Prepare high potential employees to speak about their work on behalf of your company at conferences and public events. Our workshops equip new speakers with the tools and confidence to propose, craft and deliver compelling public talks. Contact us to learn more →

Connect with a Community of Speakers

Our private online community provides a space for new and experienced, women and gender non-binary speakers to ask questions, offer advice, and share upcoming speaking opportunities.

Request to join →