Whether you love public speaking or would rather crawl under your desk, presentations tend to be something we all have to do. Work from home hasn’t changed the need for presentations. With these virtual presentation tips, your presentation will go more smoothly. Since presentations have a purpose, it needs to be enticing to the audience and make it clear that they should take action. Here are a few tips on how to do that virtually.
All presentations should have clean slides, especially virtual presentations. Chances are that the viewers are looking at you, your slides, and everything else all on one screen. This means that the screen gets busy. Your slides should support what you are saying, not say them for you, so stay away from big text blocks and data tables. Additionally, try to have a clean background behind you. If you can avoid having a messy background, you will look prepared. You can find more slide tips on the TEDBlog.
Making eye contact with your audience is important. Usually, this means looking around the room at their faces. The best way to make “eye contact” with viewers is to look at the webcam. This can be awkward because you’ll be tempted to look at their faces in the video boxes, but it makes a difference. The Office of Information Technology at Duke recommends placing the video boxes under the webcam to make it feel more natural. Also, your slides should be simple, but be sure you are not reading off of them. That’s a no-go for both in-person and virtual presentations.
Usually, presentations are done standing up and standing during your virtual presentation can help with posture, voice projection, and keeping the audience engaged. If you choose to stand, be sure that the camera is still at eye level and be sure that you test the audio with someone before presenting. You will likely have to speak louder because you are farther away from the microphone. If standing feels way too awkward, you can sit, but be sure that you have good posture.
It’s obvious when a presentation is well-rehearsed. It’s also obvious when someone is robotically reciting a memorized script. Create an outline with topics you want to touch on and rehearse it several times. If you are presenting with a team, like any other presentation, meet with them to ensure topics won’t be unnecessarily repeated. Rehearse the presentation with them, including sharing the slides. Ironing out all the screen sharing kinks before getting in front of an audience will help you look well-prepared.
No matter what video call service you use, Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, these virtual presentation tips are sure to help prepare you to seal the deal on the ask from your audience. Go make a show stopping presentation!