Laptop in one hand with several tabs open on the screen and headphones over the ears. Your dog is barking, and amidst this, your phone starts ringing. After a few minutes, your baby starts screaming, or someone outside the door rings the bell, or the vegetable vendor begins shouting at his loudest voice! Well, we are sure most of you might have battled many such distractions while presenting virtually from your home.
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic forced the cancellations of most live events, face-to-face meetings, and in-person conferences worldwide. However, due to interpersonal interactions and travel risks, some organizations adopted virtual formats for their talks. Seeing the success of virtual webinars and events, many other business houses embraced virtual platforms to stay connected. Gradually, virtual presentations became the norm in our everyday professional lives.
Presenting virtually is easier said than done and comes with its own sets of challenges. But you can certainly make a big difference with thoughtful preparation and a bit of practice. This blog post has provided you with a few tips to help you deliver a winning virtual presentation. Read on!
1 Set Up Your Virtual Meeting Space Beforehand
The clutter on your bed and dirty laundry in the background will quickly catch a glimpse of your audience than your words. If you genuinely want them to listen to what you say, keep your background work appropriate and presentable.
Here are a few tips to prepare your meeting space:
- Use a quiet space having plenty of light.
- Ensure that the room you will be presenting is not empty, as it will result in reverberation and echoey audio.
- Set up our camera to a plain wall in the background.
- Use a custom background if you can’t keep your surroundings clutter-free.
2 Reduce Distractions
Virtual presentations are a great way to align remote employees, clients, customers, and business partners; however, slight negligence on your part can make you a victim of some effective presentation faux pas. Inattention to the disturbances is one such blunder that can sabotage your all efforts. So, to get the undivided attention of the online audience and communicate your message clearly, eliminate all the distractions beforehand.
Here are a few tips:
- Instead of smartphones, use your desktop computer or laptop for the presentation.
- Close all the tabs, windows, and applications on the laptop that are not relevant to your presentation.
- Mute pop-notifications that could appear on your presentation screen.
- Keep your mobile phone in ‘Silent’ mode.
- Avoid typing on the keyboard while presenting, as the sound of typing may bother the audience.
- To avoid distraction from the audience’s surroundings, mute the audio of all audience members when you are speaking. For example, turn on the audio during the Q & A session.
- To prevent audio feedback and reduce background noise, use headphones.
3 Follow Virtual Meeting Etiquette
Like offline presentations, online presentations have some etiquette that every presenter must follow religiously. With these etiquette rules, you can avoid embarrassing gaffes and make a big difference.
- Begin and wrap up your virtual presentation on time.
- Dress up for success! Look sharp and be fully groomed.
- Since the audience members use earphones, you will be speaking directly in their ears. So, talk at a slower cadence.
- Be mindful of your body language! Your posture and facial expressions matter when you deliver an online speech.
- Ensure confidentiality of the sensitive information if you are sharing your screen.
- Refrain from checking social media and emails during Q & A sessions. You might not respond appropriately if you miss hearing the question.
- Instead of wandering your eyes here and there, look straight towards the camera to reflect your passion and confidence.
- Avoid snacking while presenting.
4 Stay Interactive
Virtual presentations might lack the intimacy of a physical gathering, and the audience’s attention drops to zero after 10-15 minutes of the production. However, you can still keep the audience intrigued and turn them into active participants by staying interactive and adding a touch of personalization to your talk. Besides using high-definition graphics and visuals in your PowerPoint slides for data visualization, you can use the following ways to prevent the listeners from getting deviated:
- Let the audience ask questions from you and share their thoughts and feedback.
- Live polls and quizzes can also work wonders in audience engagement.
- Insert a short video clip for better clarity of the concept.
- Add a friendly competition (for example, a game or a quiz) at the end of the presentation.
- Create an immersive effect by using relevant props to convey your story.
- Add an audio narrative to your slideshow.
- Encouraging movement within your audience is also a great way to secure their attention. For example, you can call them on stage to participate, ask them to stand up and stretch their legs for a few minutes, or tell them to answer by raising their hands.
5 Make the Most of Virtual Presentation Tools
With the advent of advanced virtual presentation tools, the traditional linear presentation tools have lost their effect. The modern online tools and software offer unique features, such as real-time statistics and response data, integrated chat, screen sharing, real-time polling, etc., to craft creative and engaging presentations. Leveraging these features, you can put across your message impactfully and enhance the overall virtual presentation experience. The audience members will feel included as these resources ideally appeal to their learning styles and skills.
The Bottom Line
Undoubtedly, the world will overcome this crisis one day, but the shift it has led in the business world, and other sectors will never reverse entirely. In a nutshell, virtual presentations hold a promising future, and the trend of presenting online is likely to continue even after the pandemic fades and offices open. If you want to stay at the forefront, you must understand the difference between offline and online conferences and master presenting virtually.