As we continue to battle the novel coronavirus, virtual meetings and presentations have become the norm. That leaves many people trying to navigate their way through creating successful virtual presentations. While there are some skills and best practices that apply to both in-person and virtual presentations, expert presenters also understand that you need to adjust your presentation approach to better suit your audience in a virtual environment. There are certain elements that need to be just right in order to keep your audience engaged in a virtual setting. Here are some expert tips for creating just the right space for your virtual presentation.
As a presenter, it is critical that your audience can see you. This is especially important when you are on video. It’s challenging enough to keep your audience engaged virtually, so it’s imperative that they can easily see you throughout the presentation. Make sure you have good front lighting that shines brightly on your face so you can easily be seen. It helps to place a lamp near your computer to provide adequate lighting. If you are in a room with windows, you may need to close the shades to prevent shadows or glares. Before beginning your presentation, make sure you can be seen and add supplemental lighting if necessary.
Choose the Right Background
You want to choose a background that will enhance your professional image. You can choose something that features your company logo perhaps or simply a solid color background. Stay away from anything that is unprofessional or distracting. For example, you wouldn’t want to present to potential clients with a beach background. This may give off the wrong impression. You may also choose to use the natural background of your room. In this case, make sure the background is neat and professional looking. Avoid clutter or anything that would be distracting such as a pile of laundry or kids toys. Remember that your background can either add to your professional presentation or detract from it, so choose wisely.
Check Your Audio and Internet Connection
Nothing kills a presentation quite like a bad internet connection. A spotty connection that constantly freezes or goes in and out will definitely cause you to lose your audience. In addition to a strong internet connection, you want to make sure your audio is working properly so your audience can hear you. Just as you would with an in-person presentation, rehearse your presentation beforehand to make sure your technology is working properly.
Pay Attention to Camera Placement
When you are giving a video presentation you want the audience to feel as though you are looking directly at them. Eye contact is important both in-person and virtually, so make sure your camera is placed in a position where you are looking directly at your audience. Make sure the camera is not too far above or below you. You want it to be right at eye level. This simulates the same eye contact that you would make with your audience if you were in person. You also want to make sure the camera is close enough to frame your neck and shoulders without being too close.
Designate Someone Else as Your Assistant
You want to keep your focus on the presentation at all times and it’s easy to get sidetracked by a wonky slide or a stream of live chats. For this reason, you want to have someone there acting as your assistant. This person can handle any technical issues so you can continue talking. They can also be in charge of handling your chats during the presentation. If you want to acknowledge a chat or question, set aside a specific time at the end of your presentation for that. Otherwise, let your assistant manage the chat feed.