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Mastering Communication Skills for Virtual Environments

How to communicate, collaborate, and influence

Topic: Career Development
Dr Zina O’Leary

With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and our subsequent move to remote working arrangements, more workers need to be able to communicate, collaborate with, and influence their managers, peers, staff, and stakeholders in virtual environments. But virtual environments can limit our natural (and often unconscious) ability to adjust communication style and messages based on nonverbal feedback (e.g., sounds, facial expressions, and body language) and at times can make interactions disjointed and awkward.

Join expert Zina O’Leary to develop new skills that work effectively in this online arena and will allow you to communicate with impact.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live online course, you’ll understand:

  • How to develop an authentic online communication style
  • How to communicate for impact and influence
  • How to translate this style to a virtual operating environment

And you’ll be able to:

  • Identify and adopt key elements of impactful online communication
  • Communicate with purpose, clarity, and focus
  • Use voice, facial expressions, and linguistics for maximum online impact

This training course is for you because...

  • You need to be involved in online meetings or present online.
  • You work remotely.
  • You want to maximize your impact.


Recommended follow-up:

About your instructor

  • Zina O’Leary is an adjunct senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and an Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) senior fellow. Her area of research expertise is evidence-based decision making and professional skill development. Previously, Zina was the workplace integrated learning coordinator at the University of Sydney Business School. She’s taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a number of universities in Australia, including Sydney University and Melbourne University, and has given talks and run workshops for government clients, including Australia’s Prime Minister and Cabinet and New Zealand Ministers Council, and academic institutions, such as Malaysia School of Medicine and Victoria University of Wellington. She’s the author of seven books, including the recently published Presentations that Motivate. Zina earned her PhD in methodology and social psychology as a US National Science Foundation Fellow and holds an MSc in social psychology and methodology from the University of Wisconsin and a BA in sociology and psychology from Rutgers University.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Introduction (10 minutes)

  • Presentation: The secrets of effective online presentations
  • Group discussion: The truth about online meetings—Which bad habits are you guilty of?; What’s the most important factor in communicating effectively online?

Communicate with purpose, focus, and clarity (25 minutes)

  • Presentation: Knowing what you want to gain and becoming purposeful
  • Hands-on exercise: Name your agenda
  • Q&A

Using your facial expression for power and presence (20 minutes)

  • Presentation: The physiological truth about confidence and nerves
  • Group discussion: What’s your “resting face”?
  • Hands-on exercise: Your face says it all
  • Q&A

Break (10 minutes)

Using your voice for power and presence (20 minutes)

  • Presentation: The voice—a powerful instrument
  • Group discussion: How happy are you with the sound of your own voice?
  • Hands-on exercise: Playing the instrument
  • Q&A

Using language for power and presence (20 minutes)

  • Presentation: Words…they matter
  • Group discussion: Are you a downplayer or a big-noter?
  • Q&A

Wrap-up and Q&A (15 minutes)

  • Group discussion: What’s your game plan for your next online meeting?