Even if you excel at giving presentations, adjusting to presenting virtually takes some effort. Get a few practical tips in this post!
Public speaking and presenting in front of a group of people can be quite stressful – we’ve all been there. In a virtual setting, when you can’t see your audience and their reactions, and, on top of that, you need to deal with tech setup, it becomes even more challenging to deliver a great presentation.
If you feel nervous when presenting virtually – don’t worry, you’re not alone. In a recent BBC article, Marissa Shuffler, an associate professor at Clemson University who studies workplace wellbeing, said that when we’re on camera, we’ve very aware we’re being watched. She said: “You are on stage, so there comes the social pressure and feeling like you need to perform. Being performative is nerve-wracking and more stressful.”
We’ve put together 7 tips to help you deliver a memorable virtual presentation with no stress.
Share schedule and agenda
When you’re scheduling your presentation as part of a team meeting or other event, share some key points on the agenda in order to set expectations. For example, how much time you expect your presentation to take and what points you’re planning to cover.
Choose a place where you won’t be distracted or interrupted
Some of you might have an advanced home office setup while others work from their living room. Either way, when you present, settle down in a place where you can avoid distractions and interruptions. If possible, try to choose an angle that won’t make your background too distracting for your audience, and avoid direct light shining from behind you. As an option, you can use a virtual background in your video conference tool.
Test your tech setup in advance
Tech hiccups are the last thing you’d like to focus on while presenting! We’d recommend doing a test run in advance to make sure you’re prepared to share your screen and your audio setup is optimal.
Less text, more visuals
Images and other graphics are known to captivate attention and help understand your key points. Instead of adding more text to a slide, talk through it.
Make extra effort to encourage participation
Many would say that you should treat your virtual presentation just like a live one – but the bar is actually even higher, especially for the audience to speak up and interact. Prevent your presentation from becoming a lecture where participants are in listen-only mode. Encourage audience participation and interaction by asking questions. Sometimes, instead of addressing the whole audience, it can also help to engage a specific participant in a question.
Keep a high pace
Always keep in mind that your audience has a short attention span. Move through your presentation quickly enough so that participants have to pay attention to keep up – rather than you having to stop them getting disengaged!
Follow up with a recap
Whether someone’s connection broke off during the meeting or they just prefer to consume content at their own pace, follow up with a recap of the key points – for example, in an email or your team channel on a collaboration platform you’re using.
Ashok P Das