Due to the reduction in face-to-face meetings, business has quickly become more reliant on virtual communication. With these changes come technical challenges and a new set of issues to troubleshoot. Here are some tips and tricks (also available as an infographic) that can help make your experience easier and your presentations better.
Avoid Technical Difficulties
We all know technology can have a mind of its own, but there are precautions you can take to avoid technical difficulties. This includes doing a few test-runs to see what kinds of issues could arise, then figure out solutions. Make sure your devices are securely connected to the internet. You’ll want to make sure your ethernet cords are plugged in properly or that you have a strong Wi-Fi signal. If using a webcam or camera, make sure you’ve gone into your device’s settings and allowed the software or platform to access the camera. Check to see if your device captures audio well, and if it doesn’t, use a microphone. If you’re screen-sharing, try to have a back-up plan as to how your audience can access the files and sites you were sharing in case the screen-share doesn’t work. Every platform (Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, etc.) has its different quirks, so it’s essential that you adjust your presentation to the one you are using.
The way your presentation looks plays a huge role in how captivated your audience is. You want them to be focused on your presentation. This means wearing non-distracting clothes with simple patterns, avoiding cluttered backgrounds, and having proper lighting. Choose backgrounds and clothing based upon the level of professionalism that you’d like to convey. Good lighting comes from making sure you are not in front of any source that’s too bright (close the blinds behind you) and using a ring light or lamp if you don’t have sufficient indoor light. Also, light from computer screens and lamps can reflect into your glasses so consider wearing contacts if possible.
As with any presentation, you want your body language and behaviors to keep your audience engaged. In a virtual setting, it’s not possible to physically look your audience in the eye, so the next best thing is to make sure you are looking into the camera rather than at the screen. If possible, place your camera at eye level, so that it’s easier to maintain eye contact. Also, try not to be too up close and personal with the camera. The audience should at least be able to see you from your chest and up. Giving a standing presentation can also be a great help, as it communicates higher energy.
Content Is King
Don’t forget to truly captivate your audience! Practice is still the key to a successful presentation. Know what your message is and try not to rely heavily on reading content from index cards or other sources. Consider your audience and use language that they can understand. Speak loudly and clearly. Have interesting slides if you are using a PowerPoint. Utilize polls, chats, and raised hand functions to keep their attention from wandering, or even just ask questions.
Whether in-person or virtual, presentations have their challenges, but it’s important to put your best foot forward. Just a few small changes can make a big difference, so start by trying out a couple of these ideas for your next presentation. For more tips, check out our blog post on virtual engagement or our blog on presentation software.