6 Tips for Virtual Business Presentations

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6 Tips for Virtual Business Presentations

The world has changed. When speaking in person is not an option, technology can keep you connected. But technology can be a blessing and curse. The mistake presenters make is this. They think they can give the exact in-person presentation the same way online. This is a recipe for failure. Even seasoned speakers have bombed when giving virtual presentations. Virtual presentations require a different delivery style. Here are 6 tips for giving a Knockout Virtual Presentation.

1.      Prepare and organize, Get familiar with the technology. Zoom, Gotowebinar, Webex, Skype, and AdobeConnect are all different platforms and there is a learning curve. Determine your purpose. Is it a virtual meeting or a virtual panel? Opt for a short, simple presentation at first. Preparation also means doing a sound check. Make sure your microphone and video camera are turned on.

2.      Appoint a moderator or emcee if appropriate. A moderator will handle the back end technology to free you to do what you do best. The moderator or emcee will also kick off the meeting, make introductions, and introduce you and other speakers. On a simpler level, appoint someone who knows the technology and will work the back end such as changing the slides and handling any glitches.

3.      Create a backdrop. When you speak on stage, the backdrop and lighting are handled by the meeting planner. In virtual presentations it’s essential for you to create a pleasant background that makes you look good. What mood do you want to create? You can choose a backdrop from your online platform. There are beach scenes, city skylines, media studios and many more. This can be accomplished by projecting it on a green screen. Zoom allows you to choose selected backgrounds without a green screen. A folding screen or room divider is another option. Make sure you adjust your chair so that the audience can see your gestures.

4.      Don’t be a talking head. This is the biggest mistake speakers make. Attention spans are shrinking. Nobody wants to hear a lecture. Your normal presentation needs to be much shorter to adapt to the virtual format. When using slides, don’t talk for more than a minute for each slide. People will get bored and tune out. Learn to speak in sound bites and use examples and anecdotes in place of long stories.

5.      Engage the audience. The best way to keep attention is to interact frequently with the audience. Take a poll, ask them to use the icon to raise their hands. They can click on check mark icons to say yes. Be sure to make generous use of the chat feature. Ask a simple question and have everyone respond. The chat allows the audience to ask questions that the presenter can answer. It’s also engaging to open the microphones and let people participate verbally. This will allow the presenter to create “hot seats” where individuals receive coaching in real time. Participants can be assigned virtual breakout rooms where they meet in small groups privately. Keep the audience interacting so they don’t tune out.

6.      Look at the lens, not the audience. Good communication is eye-to-eye. However, this can be a challenge in a virtual meeting. Most people look at the screen to make eye contact. But on a computer screen you need to look directly into the lens. It will feel uncomfortable because you’ll actually be making eye contact with the camera. Yet the person on the other end will experience it as eye-to-eye communication.

The new normal is going to be virtual presentations. To learn how to be a knockout presenter online, contact me at www.diresta.com

© Diane DiResta 2020. All rights reserved. www.diresta.com


Diane DiResta, CSP, is Founder and CEO of DiResta Communications, Inc., a New York City consultancy serving business leaders who deliver high stakes presentations— whether one-to-one, in front of a crowd or from an electronic platform.   DiResta is the author of Knockout Presentations: How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch, and Pizzazz, an Amazon.com category best-seller and has spoken on 4 continents. She has unique ability to get to the core of the message and translate complexity into simplicity. Learn more at her website.

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1 Response

  1. Avatar Dani says:

    Always wonderful – and generous – tips from Diane DiResta!

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