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Virtual presentations are not a new concept, but we’ve never before experienced them as frequently as we are in the current moment.
With improved collaborative solutions and enhanced audio and video quality, virtual meetings are more effective and important than ever, helping millions of remote workers stay productive and connected during the global health crisis.
When you match your message to the medium, master optics and online tools and make room for interactive elements, you can captivate your audience and deliver a compelling, highly engaging presentation in the process.
With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to impact our global population, the vast majority of in-person conferences and live events are on hold for the foreseeable future.
But this doesn’t mean daily operations have stopped altogether; rather, there has been a significant rise in remote work across the country and around the world in these last few months.
In conjunction with more teams working remotely, virtual meetings and presentations are increasingly a part of our daily lives as companies are recognizing the value and increased productivity associated with working in an online space.
In fact, a recent study by Citrix found that nearly 70% of employees believe they work at least the same, or more, hours from home as they do when working from the office.
With more employees working remotely and a larger percentage of time being spent in virtual meetings, the ability to craft and deliver compelling virtual presentations has never been more important.
While many practices are applicable for both in-person and virtual presentations, the best presenters know how to adjust their approach to fit within an online platform.
The most polished virtual presentations capture (and hold) the interest of all attendees, despite the possibility of diminished attention spans, additional distractions and conflicting priorities.
By incorporating these tips into your next meeting, you can anticipate stronger results, as well as greater satisfaction among your team.
Any windows you have open that don’t relate to the presentation should be closed prior to the start of every meeting. Failing to close non-essential tabs and apps or forgetting to mute notifications can disrupt even the most polished presenters.
Additionally, having these windows in view may result in being tempted to complete other work, read headlines or send a quick email while your meeting is still happening.
Remember, your colleagues or clients are likely able to tell when you’re looking at something else, rather than focusing on the topic at hand.
If you do need to pull up an email or similar document as a reference, be sure to communicate that to everyone on the call, so there’s no confusion about whether you’re distracted or actively engaged.
One great way to stay on task throughout your presentation is to take advantage of presentation notes so you always know what to expect next and what your main talking points are.
While video conferencing has become the primary method of online collaboration for millions of remote workers, the most common technical issue that causes virtual presentations to fail remains poor audio quality.
For better or worse, the microphones on our computers and mobile devices tend to pick up a lot of background noise.
That’s why it’s important for listeners to mute their side of the call when they’re not speaking. If you’re leading the presentation, make sure all participants know how to use the mute function before you dig into any meeting details.
Since more and more teams are now working from home or other remote locations, there may be any number of sounds going on behind the scenes.
To avoid unnecessary interruptions and ensure you stick to the schedule, non-speakers should be muted for the duration of the meeting.
You can also include a slide in your virtual presentation asking viewers to mute by creating one using a presentation template like the one below.
Time permitting, a dry run of your presentation may be helpful in avoiding mechanical hiccups, as you can anticipate potential problems and feel more confident using the platform’s features.
In the same way, encourage other participants to test out their own equipment, as well, so they can come to the meeting as prepared as possible.
Whether you’re giving your presentation via Zoom, GoToMeeting or another software, make sure you know where all the controls are, how to share your screen and more.
As a presenter, all eyes will be on you, which means you’ll want to be intentional in how you set up your virtual meeting space.
Make sure to have ample front light (so your face is clearly visible), and a neutral backdrop that won’t take away from your talking points.
The camera should be positioned to frame your face, neck and shoulders; it’s important to be close enough to feel connected to the participants, but not so close your head takes up the entire screen.
If possible, use a standing desk or set your computer where it can meet you at eye level. Standing up during a meeting boosts your energy and gives your posture a more professional look, a true win-win.
In recent years, modern meeting solutions have added a number of helpful features to further enhance the virtual presentation experience.
From screen sharing to integrated chat to interactive features like real-time polling, there are now plenty of ways to supplement prepared content in order to hold attendees’ attention and communicate your message in a more creative way.
These same resources will also appeal to the different skill sets and learning styles of your participants, so everyone will feel included and new concepts will be easily understood by all.
Using a tool like Visme can help you create a stunning presentation with a template like the one below and present online seamlessly.
Whenever possible, it’s always a good idea to share presentation outlines or agendas ahead of time, so participants have clear expectations and can follow along during the meeting itself.
In addition to utilizing online tools, you can strengthen engagement by limiting your talk time to no more than ten minutes before inviting audience interaction.
Use the participant list to interact with everyone by name, and open up for a round of feedback, a brainstorming session, a quick Q&A or whatever makes the most sense for your particular meeting.
Participants who’d like to contribute can raise their hand, so you (as the presenter) are able to unmute that individual when it’s their turn to speak.
You can also embed videos, create popups within your slides and put together a non-linear presentation easily with Visme.
When asked to lead a virtual presentation, you’re being given the reins to influence the mood and flow of the whole meeting.
With this responsibility, it’s necessary to take stock of your tone, your delivery and the manner in which you engage meeting participants.
When speaking to large groups, beware of humor that may not translate well in an online environment.
As a general rule of thumb, you should also avoid interjections to show you’re listening (e.g. “I see” or “I get your point”) as commonly used in face-to-face conversations.
Instead, listen fully and only respond once you’re sure the other person has finished their thought.
You may also find that you need to speak slower than you would in-person, and be more intentional in enunciating so no one is left wondering what was said.
The latest in virtual presentation tools have made it simpler than ever to format slides and create professional-looking visuals with ease, even if you have little to no experience doing so.
The following resources are sure to upgrade your next presentation beyond the traditional slideshow template, and will help keep your audience interested and actively listening.
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Visme is an incredibly powerful and flexible content creation tool, empowering brands and individuals to tell compelling stories in the form of engaging presentations, infographics, documents, videos and so much more.
Visme marries intuitive design tools with powerful presentation features to help you generate stunning visuals for your virtual meetings in minutes, not hours.
With a wide selection of pre-set slides, templates, photos, icons and everything in between, Visme’s software has everything you need to create a highly effective and interactive presentation that’s sure to impress.
Create a stunning presentation online quickly and easily by getting started with one of Visme’s premade presentation templates. Share content with your audience visually. Find a free presentation template that you can easily customize for your own business.
Unlike consumer-grade video conferencing platforms, Lifesize facilitates connection, communication and collaboration for teams and companies worldwide.
At its core, Lifesize is a purpose-built, end-to-end video conferencing solution for business, offering a multitude of meeting room solutions and a secure, intuitive cloud platform for video meetings, enhancing productivity and making remote communication and collaboration a breeze.
VideoScribe is an intuitive tool for creating captivating whiteboard animations and explainer videos that look as though they’re being drawn by hand.
The easy-to-use features of VideoScribe’s software don’t require any animation knowledge or prior experience, making this platform accessible to just about anyone.
Brands or businesses looking to customize their virtual presentations can use VideoScribe to meet their exact needs, as every drawing can be tailored to a specific purpose or message.
Not only can virtual presentations keep teams safe in times of crisis, but they are an amazing way to drive home results and see goals achieved.
Delivering a meaningful, high-caliber presentation is no easy feat, but with the right amount of preparation and a bit of practice, you can certainly make it happen.
Remember, presentations are essentially performances, so honor that time and your participants by giving the best performance you can.
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