While we’re staying safe at home during the COVID-19 crisis, the way we communicate with one another has changed. Scotland is known for its warmth, warm welcome and wit, which now needs to be communicated virtually with our customers and teams or with the press and media.
We can all be great virtual communicators and to help, Pink Elephant Communications' team of TV and radio presenters have shared their tips for communicating remotely during COVID-19.
To be heard, seen and understood.
You are now representing your business personally. Ensure you're the well-lit, friendly face of Scottish tourism by considering:
- Lighting – Be sure to spend five minutes before the call to make sure you’re lit well on both sides. Face the window if you can but avoid direct sunlight.
- Background – Take time to consider what can be seen behind you on the screen. Make sure it’s suitable, tidy and appropriate for your business and brand.
- Camera level – Make sure your laptop is at eye level, with the ‘camera lens’ right in front of you. Look to the lens when presenting, rather than the screen to engage with others on the call.
- Top button – centre yourself in the middle of the screen. Imagine you’re wearing a shirt –your top button should be seen.
- Are you sitting comfortably? Before the call begins, check that you have everything you need for the call. This includes a glass of water (which is fine), make sure your laptop plugged in and put that branded mug of coffee in pride of place.
It’s important that you’re able to be heard. Before your call, consider:
- Testing your sound. Give a colleague or housemate a call first to check you can be heard clearly through your chosen device.
- Using earphones with an attached microphone if you have them. They will help to cut out potential feedback.
- Projecting your voice. Through a video call, you should speak louder than you normally would. Could someone at the back of your living room hear you?
- Enthusiasm! Other people will only be enthusiastic about your venue or tour if you are. If you feel like you’re on stage at The Fringe, you’ve reached the right level.
Here’s some tips to ensure that once you know you can be heard clearly, that your message is understood:
- Consider how quickly, or slowly, you speak. Three words per second is the recommendation to make sure everyone can follow, digest and absorb the points you’re making. If you’re nervous, breathe in through your nose to control any nervous energy.
- Clearly pronounce every consonant and vowel. Avoid slipping into your natural dialect.
Speaking to media
The media, like many other industries, are experiencing a supply shortage of news. Many journalists are also working from home.
However, there’s an increasing demand for uplifting news stories and this is an opportunity to share your news stories with your local radio stations or newspapers.
When looking to share your story with news outlets, consider these suggestions on recording quality audio and video to make your story shine:
Recording video (using your laptop)
Here are some simple, but effective tips to delivering a strong video interview.
- Sit down even when you’re doing a broadcast interview. It’s important to look comfortable.
- Your audience is on the other end of the lens, so keep looking at the lens rather than the screen.
- Slow your talking pace. It’s understandable that you’ll feel nervous in interviews, especially if talking to a blue screen.
- Get to the point you want to make and then stop. It’s up to the interviewer to fill that gap. –
- Make sure you leave clear pauses at the end of sentences to allow for easy editing.
Recording audio (using your phone)
If you’re recording audio through your mobile, the voice recorder built into your device and Whatsapp are recommended recording apps.
- If recording on Whatsapp, place the phone the normal distance from your face and hold the microphone button to record. Send the recording directly to the media station/journalist.
- Using your mobile’s in-built voice recorder is useful when conducting an interview using the landline. Record your voice at the same time and then send the recording directly to the station.
Be sure to remember to think about:
- Tone. make sure that you sound natural, rather than scripted. It’s good practice to send three short clips so they could be spread out across different bulletins.
- Timing. The weekends are particularly quiet for radio stations. Be sure to send voice notes alongside a press release, with a Saturday or Sunday embargo to ensure it’s used on the planned day.
Looking for some additional business support? Take time to watch Pink Elephant's video as Bill McFarlan and Ian Donnelly discuss five key steps on how to transform your tourism business.