Over the past year, companies were forced to begin giving presentations virtually and while doing so have shifted the way we conduct business. With this new style of presenting has come valuable lessons about patience, planning, and reliable technology. Thanks to platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Go-To Webinar, and many more, online presenting has become a mostly seamless process that has proven very effective.
With many Americans now vaccinated and most states open with little restrictions, people are once again meeting in person without masks or social distancing. However, despite people being comfortable sharing the same office space, it looks like virtual presentations are here to stay. Before the pandemic, most companies only presented virtually due to being in different places on the globe. Now, many major companies, especially in industries such as technology, have forgone their rented office spaces and encourage employees to work remotely. This has shifted the way that presentations will continue to be executed as employees no longer need to live in the same city or state as their coworkers. In order for businesses to stay effective with their virtual presentations, there are some helpful practices to consider:
- Keep each presentation slide short. The biggest problem with presentations, virtual or not, is audience attention span. To ensure that people are paying attention, put only a few key messages on each slide so that you are changing the screen often. Seeing a different screen every few minutes will keep the audience more engaged.
- Use your voice as a tool. Do not make every slide text heavy or rely on them to relay every message. Instead, keep the slides short and use your voice to explain the relevant thoughts or ideas that you want to convey. Some audience members may have to step away from their screen for a short period of time but may still be able to listen from a distance. Ensure that all messages are being communicated effectively by including your voice throughout the presentation.
- Keep the audience engaged by doing polls or asking questions as you go. You can even offer incentives such as prizes. But keep in mind that you will want a co-host to be the one actively looking at the chat for incoming questions so you can focus on presenting.
- Make sure you have good lighting and backdrop. If the audience will see you speak during the presentation, you want them to see your face without any shadows or distractions. Just like presenting in person, it is important to look the part which can mean changing the angle or position of your computer’s camera.
- Run through the entire presentation the day before to ensure there are no technical problems. If you are planning to mute the audience or switch between speakers, it is important to test all of this out before the day of.
There are many more items to consider when presenting such as time of day if people are located in different geographic regions and how much enthusiasm you should be showing. If you would like help putting together a virtual presentation or have additional questions, please reach out to Oster and Associates now!