With travel halted, conferences canceled, and millions of Americans working from home, it’s time to begin rethinking the traditional presentation process. If you’re accustomed to giving live presentations, you might need to start adjusting your strategy in order to create a presentation that is suitable for the post-pandemic audience. Given that it’s unlikely that conference centers and auditoriums will be packed with people anytime soon, it’s time to start getting accustomed to virtual presentations. As more and more companies begin offering remote working options, it will be worth your time to learn how to create an engaging virtual presentation. Giving a virtual presentation is quite different than presenting in person, so here are some helpful tips for crafting a presentation in today’s virtual environment.
Make Sure the Audience Can See Your Face
Just as you want to make eye contact during a live presentation, it’s equally important to show your face during a virtual presentation. It’s more difficult to connect with audiences through a screen, so it is imperative that they see your face clearly so they can read your body language. Studies have shown that brain activation is greatly increased when a person’s face is presented rather than an object, so make sure you spend a few minutes talking with your face showing at the beginning of your presentation.
Share Your Screen
It’s always helpful for audience members to see what you see and that means showing them any pictures, charts, documents, or slides as you speak. Screen sharing allows users to display various notes while also continuing to speak. Seeing is believing so screen sharing makes it easier for audience members to understand what you are saying and it helps to keep everyone focused and on the same page.
Involve Your Audience
When you give a live presentation you probably ask questions, take polls, or involve your audience in some other way to keep them engaged. The same goes for virtual presentations. Invite audience members to comment in the chatbox throughout the presentation. Take informal polls by using the “raise your hand” feature. Call on specific people during the presentation or pose an interesting question and ask for someone to respond. All of these are great ways to interact with and engage your audience during a virtual presentation.
Send Materials Ahead of Time
If you will be referring to data, charts, tables, or any other type of information, send that to your audience members ahead of time. Consider emailing notes or other pertinent information so your audience can easily follow along during the presentation.
When giving an online presentation, it is important to eliminate any distractions that might linger in the background. This includes kids running around the house, dogs barking, or dirty laundry piled on the counter. Tidy up space around you and make sure the setting looks professional.
Keep Your Slides Simple
It’s easy to get carried away with loads of text, color, and pictures on your slides. However, busy slides detract from the presentation and confuse your audience. Instead, keep slides simple and stay away from text-heavy slides, animations, and unnecessary graphics. When it comes to slides, less is definitely more.