The spring of 2020 was difficult for many speakers as client after client cancelled or postponed indefinitely in-person conferences and trainings. And just when there was hope that things might make a quick recovery, brakes were applied again. So, necessity, indeed survival, demanded a “pivot” – which I have done in large part through obtaining my virtual presenter certification.

Hitherto I was a technophobe, easily intimidated by technology and almost boastful of my “low tech human touch” approach. Yep, well, how was that workin’ for me in the time of Covid? In the back of my mind, I had known for a while that I really did need to crawl into the 21st century, but ya know, when would I have the time or frankly, the inclination? Then a panicked and gig-less J. Lenora saw a post from fellow NSACF member Velma Knowles announcing that she had just earned her virtual presenter certification. I called her and she encouraged me, assuring me it was easy. I literally was on the espeakers website looking up the details about the certification when a “ding” alerted me that a client, who had, three weeks prior cancelled six scheduled in-person trainings, was now interested in, as they put it, “sticking their toe into virtual trainings and would I be able to help?” “Ding” . . . “ringy-dingy” or should I say “ching ching?”

One of the benefits of being a member of Espeakers, which is itself a free benefit of belonging to the National Speakers Association, is that you can become a certified virtual presenter for free! Becoming certified is a simple but thorough process. You know exactly how you will be tested, and that includes having equipment that meets a certain level of technological rigor and being sensitive to lighting, audio, and framing. You must demonstrate basic knowledge of using Zoom and interact personably with your certifier. The actual “test” takes less than the 30 minutes allotted. The only thing I was worried about was stray sounds – dogs barking or heavy traffic that can interfere with a successful session.

I can’t see why a speaker or trainer or coach wouldn’t want to add this certification to their marketing. I suppose you might be tempted to use the certification to imply you have more technical expertise than you do, but it has allowed me to explain to potential clients that I have quality equipment that ensures at least a level of professional production. It gives third-party industry credibility to my technical ability to navigate online facilitation. I have used my certification as the perfect reason to reach out to former clients and assure them that they can get from me the same winsome, substantive content and delivery they have come to trust now in a convenient, virtual format with the option of downloadable streaming. I have gotten new clients who had held off hiring me due to travel issues and costs. My coaching now has an added level of privacy and even confidentiality which my top-level executive coaching clients appreciate.

And most importantly, it has opened my own mind to new opportunities, including developing an entire online training collection that I expect to offer to individuals as well as organizations. Ironically, I am getting calls from people asking ME to help THEM because “you understand technology.” Well, that is still a bit laughable and I’ll admit that my reservoir of technical knowledge is still shallow, but this certification has made me fear less. My intimidation of technology is GONE – Yes, technology is my FRIEND, and we all know that attitude is half the battle of anything. I now proudly display the virtual presenter certification logo and never end ANY discussion without mentioning my virtual expertise.

So, get certified. Why not?