Over the past decade, the dramatic increase in the number of virtual meetings has been clearly noticeable for working professionals. From the one-off conference call to frequent virtual meetings, we have come a long way.
However, over the last few months, the coronavirus crisis has resulted in countless meeting cancellations. As a result, professionals have grown in acceptance towards the fact that “the show must go on”, and that switching to virtual meetings is the only viable alternative for now.
Having said this, presenters need to be prepped with the best practices to try and stick to, around every aspect of delivering a presentation in a virtual environment. That’s precisely why we decided to share some of the top tips for presenting at virtual meetings and events.
How to Present More Effectively in Virtual Meetings and Events
#1: Make Audience Engagement Your Number One Priority
The best way to nail your next presentation in a virtual meeting is to be thoroughly engaging. Without focusing on that, you’re just making it easier for the audience to get distracted by yet another browser tab on their PC, or perhaps their smartphones.
The traditional techniques of audience engagement, which presenters have used in person since time immemorial, such as the effective use of body language, eye contact, and moving around the room or stage, may not seem as feasible for virtual events. However, you can modify them a bit to suit the virtual environment, such as beginning your session with an upbeat tone to capture your audience’s attention right away, and pacing yourself to ensure that you can carry the same your energy till the end of your presentation.
Here are some nifty add-ons to make your online presentation even more engaging and effective:
#2: Investing in Basic Equipment for Presenting Online is Essential
Just like you need the right kind of lighting in order to really “shine”, good quality audio equipment is also essential when presenting virtually. However, you don’t need to buy expensive equipment. A simple ring light and an inexpensive USB-connected microphone is a good place to start.
Be sure to test your lighting and audio first to make sure it’s good enough for the attendees. It’s also important to maintain a proper distance from the mic, or your breathing sounds may become distracting for them.
#3: Pace Yourself
Since it can be even more difficult to keep the attention of your audience in a virtual setting, it always helps to keep your virtual presentations as brief as possible. Try to limit the stories to a short 45-60 seconds time-frame in order to keep the program swiftly moving forward.
Customise your content to make it easily digestible, even if it requires stripping down some of the slides to just a couple of key points and using more visuals instead of text. In short, avoid talking for too long, and check that your pacing is neither too slow, nor too fast.
#4: Prepare Well In Time and Ensure That Your Setup is Flawless
It’s never a good idea to wait until the last minute to prepare for your presentation. In the case of virtual presentations, here are just some of the additional things you will need to ensure before you deliver your next virtual presentation:
- The internet connection
- The backdrop (plain, or branded if possible)
- A quiet spot (which will remain quiet during the presentation)
- The lighting/microphone is working and that your audio is clear
- Clear video quality
- Your set of notes arranged in the correct order (We recommend them being in a paper form aswell as digitally just incase of technical difficulties)
- Proper timing and time-management
- Links to the Q&As, surveys, or poll questions, etc.
Bonus Tip: Have a Team of Professionals Support You
Who said you have to go it all alone? Having someone to help you set things up behind the scenes and have your back while you are presenting can go a long way in ensuring your presentation is a success. It’s always great to have an assistant or two, who can keep an eye out for questions and comments from the audience, apart from watching out for technical issues that may arise, while you focus on delivering your presentation.
Virtual meetings are essential for getting things done for most project managers today, however, it’s also crucial to make them less frustrating and more effective for everyone involved, with just a little preparation and planning. Even though many business professionals will inevitably make the mistake of reading out the slides robotically during a virtual presentation, those who truly put in the effort to master the art of presenting online will clearly distinguish themselves from the rest.