These days, millions of Americans have found themselves working from home and that has significantly impacted the way people are conducting business. This has made the need for technology to be greater than ever. Technology makes it possible to reach people anywhere on the planet through webinars, Zoom meetings, and teleconferencing. As businesses turn to such technology, you must consider the challenges that come along with a virtual audience. When you are giving a virtual presentation, it can be even more challenging to maintain your audience’s attention. Giving an effective virtual presentation requires some strategic planning and adjustments in the design and delivery of your presentation in order to keep the audience engaged. Consider the following tips to ensure you’re ready for your next virtual presentation.
Make Yourself Visible
One of the biggest complaints with virtual presentations is that audience members have a hard time seeing the presenter. Studies show that 90% of human communication is nonverbal and includes facial expressions, gestures, and body language so you have a huge disadvantage if your audience cannot see you clearly. Therefore, it is important to invest in a decent webcam and ensure you have appropriate lighting on your face so you are clearly visible to your audience. Likewise, make sure that your microphone is working properly and be aware of any distractions you might have in your background.
Identify the Purpose
Make sure you know why you are presenting and exactly what you are trying to accomplish. No one wants to hear a presentation, virtual or otherwise, that has no real purpose. You need to state your purpose clearly at the beginning of your presentation so audience members know what to expect. Otherwise, your audience will likely be muting you and making a sandwich at home rather than listening to you.
Sure you may not feel the same nervousness you would if you were standing in front of a crowded room but you still need to rehearse and practice the same as you would for a regular presentation. Practice delivering your presentation with your technology so you aren’t fumbling through as you try to speak. Make sure all of your technology features work and you know exactly how you plan to structure your presentation. It’s even helpful to record yourself giving your presentation so you can watch it back and learn what works and what needs to improve.
Involve the Audience
Engaging with your audience is even more of a challenge in a virtual presentation so involve them as much as possible by asking questions, inviting them to share thoughts and ideas, taking a poll, and even playing games like trivia or various ice breakers to maintain their attention and keep things interesting. You also need to avoid text heavy slides and incorporate several engaging techniques like storytelling and humor. You can even ask your audience members to perform a small task to make sure they are awake and listening!
Have a Technical Assistant
Even if you practice and prepare there is always the chance that technology fails you. For this reason, it’s important to have someone available to deal with technical issues should they arise. In addition, this assistant can help you field email/text questions and facilitate discussions on your behalf.