5 Pro Tips for Virtual Presentations
Over the past several months, I have attended hundreds of virtual meetings, either as host or guest. My clients have had meetings on numerous e-conference platforms. And I have witnessed many cringe-worthy presentations.
When virtual presentations are done poorly, their shortcomings are magnified. And as U.S. businesses now host than 11 million video conferencing meetings a day — and this isn’t going to slow down any time soon — virtual presentations are the new norm.
Here are the tips you need for an effective virtual presentation.
1. Be prepared.
No one in their right mind would attempt to wing a presentation. For a virtual presentation, preparation is vital — even more so than for an in-person presentation.
For a slideshow, prep by printing out your slides — three slides per one page of notes, so you know what’s next as you present — and review them until you are comfortable and confident with the material.
2. Familiarize yourself with your broadcasting tools.
Many online presentations get derailed by technical glitches. Know how to use the videoconferencing platform you’ll be on, especially if you’ll be responsible for any screen-sharing.
Related: 6 Tricks You Need to Know About Zoom
And while you don’t need Francis Ford Coppola’s movie-making expertise, you should make sure your video is clear and your sound crisp when you’re presenting. Make sure to position your webcam so that your entire head is visible. Test your mic to ensure everyone can hear you clearly. Then test your audio and video and make final adjustments, if necessary, by logging into your videoconference session a few minutes early.
3. Make it interactive.
Today’s technology can help make presentations less one-sided than a traditional webinar. Most videoconference programs have chat functions for participants to ask and answer questions, as well as fun tools like polls, breakout rooms and “switch presenter.” Imagine your presentation as it would be if it took place in person. How would you engage your audience if they were in the same room as you? For a virtual presentation, the only difference is that they’re not with you physically. Plan to give your participants opportunities to engage with you, the material and each other.
4. Dress professionally.
As comfy as your trusty college sweatshirt may be, working from home is not an excuse to be lazy — even when it comes to your attire. Dress like the capable professional and subject matter expert you are. I wear a button-down shirt and blazer to host webinars. While this could seem extreme, it’s better to default to too formal than be underdressed — perception matters.
5. Show some energy.
Virtual presentations can be challenging, energy-wise: You and your audience are likely sitting and physical cues that indicate interest and excitement are difficult to pick up on, among other reasons. Compensate by modulating your voice and animating your face and body with expressions (like smiling) and gestures. Demonstrate that you’re excited to be there!
Related tip: Please don’t read what’s on your slides. Your deck should be an outline of your talking points — not a script. Use real-life examples and anecdotes to illustrate your points, and leave the reading to your audience.
Follow these five tips and you’ll knock your next presentation out of the park!