9 tips for nailing your virtual presentation
It can be tricky enough to capture your audience’s attention when delivering a presentation face-to-face — let alone when the people you’re addressing aren’t even in the same room…
Virtual meetings are fast becoming the most efficient way to hold meetings in business. Still, many professionals are unfamiliar with the handy virtual meeting tools at their fingertips — or haven’t yet dipped their toes in the water.
Leading a remote meeting might seem nerve-wracking at first, but just like in-person public speaking, it only takes a little practice. To help you out, we’ve gathered our top tips for giving a stand-out virtual presentation.
1. Define the purpose
Every presentation has a purpose — but not finding it and making it clear from the outset is a one-way ticket to ‘Death by PowerPoint’.
Are you informing your team about project-related activities? Pitching a new idea to stakeholders? Training new staff?
Once you’ve determined the purpose, you can create a stellar presentation…
2. Use a template
Now that you’ve nailed the point of your presentation, it’s time to make it interesting.
If you want to incorporate some nice visuals but don’t have much spare time, why not use a readymade PowerPoint template? Give your audience something to focus on whilst providing consistency and incorporating branding into your deck (that’s corporate speak for ‘slideshow’) — including your company’s logo, website and letterhead for a more professional touch.
3. Check your tech
Do you know how to share your screen or switch between slides? Is your camera working — and are you well-lit? Are your mic and speaker properly installed?
Checking this ahead of time gives you peace of mind that everything’s working correctly and that there won’t be any technical issues on the big day.
Not to jinx things — but mistakes can happen. So, having a backup plan is always your best bet to reduce stress and keep things running smoothly. Share your presentation material with a co-host and make sure you’re well-versed in your content in case you have to improvise…
4. Prepare and practice
Ensuring you’ve put enough time into preparing and practising your points is crucial — not only to avoid a blunder on the day but also to ensure you feel relaxed and comfortable when you’re under the spotlight.
For this one, there are no quick fixes. But the energy you invest in your presentation will definitely pay off when the time comes to step up to the mic (or camera).
5. Eliminate distractions
You don’t want your audience distracted by your cluttered background instead of soaking up everything you have to say, right?
Find out if your presentation platform lets you use virtual backgrounds (like Zoom, for example) or if you can blur your surroundings (like you can on Microsoft Teams).
Plus, if you share your office with roommates or family, give yourself enough time to create an optimal presentation space — free from noise and interruptions.
6. Connect with your audience
To create a good (virtual) atmosphere, start by introducing yourself and allowing the audience to get to know you. Once you’ve reeled them in, keep them hooked with questions throughout your presentation to help generate interesting conversation.
No one likes listening to someone drone on and on. So, keep your energy up, your points punchy and show enthusiasm when responding to your audience’s comments.
It might be tempting to look at your notes (or stare at yourself on screen), but eye contact is just as key in a virtual presentation as it is in the real world. The camera should be at eye level so you can look directly into it, helping your audience feel like they’re in the room.
7. Get your audience involved
If you want to liven things up even more, why not rustle up a fun quiz with tools like Kahoot, or make time for an interactive Q&A session to address any audience questions?
8. Take your time
It can be hard to get the pacing of your presentation right without real-time visual audience feedback cues, so remind yourself to take brief pauses (which can be great for emphasising key points and engaging with the audience) and not rush your speech.
You want to impact the audience in a meaningful way. And to do that, they need to hear what you’re saying. So, remember to speak clearly, pointedly and most importantly — breathe!
9. Evaluate and enhance
All great presenters understand the importance of honing their skills — and asking for feedback is one of the best ways to learn your strengths and address your weaknesses.
Get your friends, family or colleagues to watch you rehearse and ask what they liked about your virtual presentation, if there’s anything they didn’t understand or if there are adjustments you could make to improve next time.
With these tips under your belt, there’ll be nothing stopping you from delivering an award-worthy virtual presentation!
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