“Remote speaking or how to break the screen”, Interview by Charlie Clarck, co-founder of Whistcom

Remote speaking is an exercise that everyone must undergo during their professional life. However, few can claim to master the codes to break the screen or bypass the phone filter. Also, more and more managers and managers are taking the time to train themselves to speak. In public or remotely, the approach differs to adapt to the context but the expectations are the same. Capturing the attention of the audience, getting the messages they want, creating a link with your audience. With the health crisis forcing telework, remote meetings are multiplying. As a result, more and more managers feel cut off from their teams and are experiencing the demotivation of their troops. To better understand the challenges of speaking at a distance, BORDEAUX Business spoke with Charlie Clarck, co-founder of Whistcom.

First of all, what is Whistcom’s business?

Whistcom is an oral strategy firm. He accompanies the leaders, the leaders of tomorrow, the companies in communication technology for all oral situations. Individual interview, telephone call, team meeting, press conference, videoconference… Whatever the format, every speech is intended to convince. Bent to this exercise, everyone seeks to be seen, heard, understood. This is the challenge of speaking out,whether it’s remote in public.

To train these speakers, we offer At Whistcom a toolkit for speaking and have a training center at Les Invalides. There is a theatre, a TV set, a videoconferencing room, a meeting room… All this to adapt to each situation and context of public intervention. We then transmit a simple, structuring method and above all usable on a daily basis in the company. At the exit, everyone will have discovered and really realized that the body is an indispensable tool in speaking, as much as silences… All of this meets rules other than writing. We have to try to be more boarding. We are therefore taught how to get teams on board, both in public and remotely.

charlie clarck founder whistcom took distance speech
Charlie CLARCK, founder of Whistcom, oral strategy agency

What kind of profiles, situations is coaching in speaking?

For coaching in speech, there are two cases of figures. Either the applicant has an event to prepare. In this case, one helps on the merits with the development of oral strategy; and form to master speaking. That is, and this is often the second option, Whistcom is called upon for continuing education.

For good reason, managers and managers often know how to do many things but they never really learn to speak. In concrete terms, we note that in French culture, we have an educational system that values the written word much more. Oral is the prerogative of talent and intuition. However, the most important situations to value his work, sell his ideas, embark his teams, it is almost all the time of the oral. They therefore need to master the art of public speaking, including remotely.

How is Whistcom’s activity with the Covid-19?

We’re pretty lucky, we haven’t had any slowdowns on the contrary. In reality, the first containment stopped us completely at first. But since June, there has been a strong demand for better dialogue with employees.

The requested formats, on the other hand, have changed. Now there are two ways to train to speak. Either always physically at The Invalides, or via our remote route “crack the screen”, specific to video conferencing and remote speaking.

videoconference company speak from a distance
Speak remotely via videoconferences to maintain the link between managers and teams

Today, teams need to trade more remotely, including with us. So on form, we have a lot more training Zoom and Teams. In substance, there is also a significant change. Before the leaders wanted to convince, now they want dialogue. We tend to say that we go from “better saying” to “better exchange”.

In short, it makes perfect sense. Companies are now dealing with broken employees, who lose contact with each other. In this context, managers need to create binders. This requires motivating managers.

Specific requests at a time when there is a greater need for remote speaking?

At Wistcom, there has been a marked increase in demand for our “Crever the Screen” training course. This is our 100% distance route. It is suitable for all types of employees. However, at the moment, the demand comes less from managers and more from managers. Which are mainly looking to learn how to lead teams from a distance. There are also demands to train salespeople,who now have to sell their products remotely. This training in remote speaking allows even in videoconferencing to recreate a form of humanity in the exchange.

In addition to the traditional rules of public speaking, there are also tools to warm up the conversation. We pass on the tips on how to use the coprs, the gestures, the looks. How to structure words for video conferencing in particular. It is a very specific offer related to the situation we are experiencing at the moment. It is also valid for remote events and virtual events.

In fact, we can see this when we look at the curve of our business. In September, there was a bit of a slump because people were expecting to return to life before. Then it came back to the realization that the situation would not change right away. We had this effect again in January when, for want of a decision, the managers and managers remained waiting. Then, in the last few weeks, we are witnessing an upsurge in these courses because everyone realizes that we will continue for at least another year like this.

How is it different to speak from a distance to take it at an event or physical meeting?

The two types of speech are not much different. In reality, what is different is that you have a camera. Otherwise, the toolbox is much the same. But the use will be different to fit the camera.

speaking distance screen image camera
Mastering your image, posture and voice during a distance speech

In practical terms, we start from the basic premise that we do not speak for ourselves but that we speak for the person opposite. The central question is simple: what does the person opposite mean? What does it hold back? That’s also true in video. Except in this case, we have a new vector: the camera, the screen. Therefore, the question must be added: what relationship should I have with the camera and the screen? In fact, this implies real change.

In video, your interlocutor is no longer the person, it is the camera. Except, most of the time, the employees turn it off. We don’t know how to handle this relationship on camera. Our own image is often uncomfortable to us, it disturbs us.

What tips can you share with us to make a good distance speaking?

In a remote speech as in public, one must always control one’s image. But in the context of remote speaking, it is always more delicate. You have to manage your position in relation to the camera, master the lights, the sound…

Once the image is mastered, you have to master the sound: the voice, the rhythm, the volume… And always keep in mind that silences are important. This is the basic rule that Whistcom. In fact, we are first and foremost an agency to learn to be silent. In video, restoring silence also means restoring comfort in the conversation. It’s going over technical problems. It is taking the time to talk, to exchange, to understand.

Inevitably, video conferencing has its drawbacks. It’s a more volatile, less engaging format. Thus, you never really know what your interlocutor is doing while you are talking to them. That’s why we have to master the words, the story we tell. The shape of the story is changed to make it catchy in videoconference. Often this means starting on a shorter format, more spoken sentences, a more direct style.

The observation is that when leaders speak out, it is often indirect. They talk to employees but they talk about third-person collaborators. This choice automatically creates distance.

Concretely, for a remote speech, as in public, it is necessary to respect the 3 V of the speech: visual, vocal, verbal. To be good in video is to align these three dimensions but adapting to different tools.

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