11 tips for delivering a great virtual presentation
It is always challenging to win the attention of your audience when delivering a presentation in the physical world, but even more challenging during a virtual event when an attendee can get easily distracted by all the digital things happening on their screen. We have put together our top 11 most relevant tips that will ensure you smash that presentation!
1. Keep It Short
Attention span is no joke, and even more so in a virtual environment. For virtual presentations an audience may rarely last over 20 minutes for even the best of presenters so it’s important that you keep your presentation to the point and address the main reason why your viewers should spend time watching your content. To put it simply, keep it short and sweet!
2. Involve The Audience
The best way to keep your viewers engaged, is to do what? Exactly, engage them. So conduct a poll, prepare a quiz in advance so your audience doesn’t just listen but can also participate in the discussion of your topic. A simple multiple choice questionnaire or a vote is already enough to make sure your audience is paying attention to what you are saying. It’s also a good way to understand if your content is chiming with your audience as you will get live feedback on your content.
3. Take Questions During The Presentation
It’s not always easy to time-keep and also stay on track with your thoughts when delivering a presentation, it’s an art. However, it is good practice to engage your audience by allowing them to submit questions to you during the presentation rather than waiting until the end. This will allow your viewers to ask a relevant question at the right time and hopefully will address more questions than if you ran overtime and had no time to do a live Q&A.
If you have live chat as part of your presentation, that’s a great way to ensure questions get asked, discussions occur and hopefully some of the questions get addressed by you in the meantime.
4. Don’t Give A Presentation At All!
Don’t give a presentation for the sake of doing one. Think about the best way to engage with your topic, perhaps it will benefit more from an open debate or a live Q&A session. In a virtual event, attendees are looking to interact and participate and perhaps an open format could work really well for your particular topic.
5. Use Great Imagery And Videos
Keep the audience on their toes by changing the pace. Make sure there is a varied amount of visual content, so focus on just you talking and then switch up so they only see your slides (if you have any) and perhaps also include a video.
Presentation 101: remember to keep slides simple, clear and concise with large text – more slides with less content is preferable so you don’t linger too long on the same view. It will also stop you reading from slides too much and make you think more about what you say.
6. Take Q&A Offline
Have you only been allocated a short amount of time to present? Not a problem. Remember that the majority of virtual events offer networking opportunities so you can invite your audience to join you in a networking space or engage in a private chat with you to discuss your presentation and topic that you have been delivering. Even more so, having a shorter presentation and leaving less time for your viewers to ask questions can spark stronger engagement post-presentation.
7. Choosing A Suitable Background
Spend extra 10 minutes setting up your room. Make sure there are no distractions behind you, personal items you don’t want the public to see or your family members trying to barge in mid-presentation.
If all else fails, we recommend you choose a virtual background as a safe bet. Some of the video conferencing tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom already offer this but you can always find a 3rd party one or even find a cheap green screen on Amazon. Our top pick is an app called mmhmm (it’s actually called that) and it offers a free limited account if you are just looking to try it out.
8. Get The Lighting Right
Lighting is as important in front of you, as it is behind. Check that you have good front light and if you have light behind you, close your shades, otherwise, you will appear as a slight silhouette. If you do not have good natural light, then get some suitable additional lighting to make sure your face is well-lit. How you appear on camera could set you apart and make you look more presentable.
9. Practice Makes Perfect
The best way to know how you look on camera and what your presentation may look like is to present and record it to yourself. Practice makes it perfect as they say. Make a recording of your presentation in Zoom or any other webcam recorder you might use and watch it so you can make improvements for the live one. Make sure you change your tone and pitch of voice as you work through your presentation.
10. Technology – Test, Test and Test Again
Don’t let the first time you use a platform’s technology be when you are live – testing it makes it perfect too so ensure to leave plenty of time to really understand how the platform works, how you are going to use it and just make sure to familiarise yourself with the setup. Do a test run with your provider or a colleague in the place and with the equipment you are going to be using for the live session.
Invest in a good microphone if necessary to really make you sound crisp and sharp when presenting.
11. Stand Up, Look At Your Camera, And Speak Slowly and Clearly
Make sure you are making eye contact with your camera so the audience feels you are really talking to them directly, not their computer. Make sure the camera is at eye level and ideally stand when presenting as this will make you appear more dynamic and create more vocal variety. And finally, speak slowly and clearly as it can be harder to understand speech when you only have the presenter’s face for vocal and body language clues.
Last but not least, always try to remember to smile as that can make you look cool, calm, confident and positive to your viewers.