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Who had ever thought that a small virus would change the world entirely and the person-to-person business processes and face-to-face meetings would turn digital just in a matter of a few months? Even now, when the situation is back to normal, in-person meetings seem to be a thing of the past.
Online or virtual presentations have already found their place in our day-to-day professional life. In such a scenario, it would not be wrong to say that remote presentations are the new normal.
Presenting behind your computer screen may sound easy, but it has its own set of disadvantages - technical difficulties and a distracted audience being the biggest ones. But worry not! You can easily sail through it by following some best practices and tips that we have covered in this blog post. Read on!
Here are 12 best practices for giving a remote presentation confidently.
1. Determine the presentation objectives
"If you don't know what you want to achieve in your presentation your audience never will." - Harvey Diamond
What’s the outcome that you want to achieve through your presentation? Finding the right answer to this question will help you craft a truly valuable presentation worth the audience’s time.
Pitching a new business idea to investors to raise funds, making the customers aware of a newly added feature to an existing product, educating the employees about new technology, and so on - your presentation must have a relevant purpose or goal. This goal provides you with a roadmap to structure your presentation further.
2. Choose a good template
Once you have determined the goal of your presentation, the next you must choose the template that best serves your purpose. The pre-designed slide templates with 100% editability features help you save time, enhance corporate branding, and provide consistency to your slides.
Besides the goal, you must also consider your audience and content before finalizing any template. For example, if you want to present the performance of your marketing campaign to company executives, you prefer a professional-looking and minimalist template having a lot of space for charts and graphs. Contrary to this, if you want to educate your students, choose a colourful and animated template that makes learning fun for them.
3. Incorporate high-quality graphics
Pixel-perfect graphics complement the textual information and make it easy for you to communicate your message effectively. However, it’s important to use relevant graphics that support your presentation visually instead of ruining it. For example, if you want to showcase developments and trends over time, use line charts. But line charts won’t work if you want to display frequency distributions. Here you will have to use histograms.
Avoid overburdening your slides with graphics, and don’t incorporate them just for the sake of decorating your presentation. Use graphics only if they add value to your content.
4. Choose the apt hosting platform
The hosting platform you choose plays an indispensable role in the success of your virtual presentation. With lots of hosting platforms available, such as Webex, Zoom, Google Meet, and GoToWebinar, it’s quite difficult to find the best one for your presentation. Here are a few tips that will ease your work -
- The hosting platform should have all the required features and capability to manage the bandwidth and traffic to deliver your presentation smoothly.
- It should be compatible with the presentation software you are using.
- It must be completely secured to ensure your presentation and audience's data are protected from unauthorized access.
- It must have analytics features to help you track audience engagement and measure the success of your presentation.
5. Allot some time for a Q&A session
Keeping the audience engaged and interested is one of the biggest challenges in virtual presentations. One way to keep your audience active throughout the presentation is by asking them to raise questions.
By allocating a dedicated time for the Q&A session, you can reap many benefits - you can engage and interact with your audience, provide additional information that has not been covered in your slides, address any concerns they may have, and get an idea of how sincerely they have listened to you.
6. Check background adjustments and camera
A pile of files or laundry or the child playing in the background may cost your audience’s attention, portraying you as an unprofessional speaker. Therefore, to avoid any such scenario, you must proactively choose a setting with a neutral background and free of any clutter or distraction. If possible, choose a place with natural lighting, as it can make a big difference.
Check the angle of your camera beforehand and ensure that it is positioned at your eye level to make proper eye contact with your audience.
7. Hide bookmarks and irrelevant tabs proactively
If your presentation requires screen sharing with the audience, close all irrelevant applications, tabs, and windows. Also, turn off or mute Slack/email/calendar or other notifications and hide bookmarks to get the undivided attention of your audience.
To provide a better experience and minimize the chances of accidentally clicking on the wrong tab, use a separate browser window to deliver your virtual presentation.
8. Rehearse well
Practice and rehearsal can help you uncover weak areas, prepare for technical issues, and improve your gestures and body language. It also aids you in mastering time management skills and concluding your presentation within the allotted time. Practicing well in advance will make you more comfortable and confident on your big day.
Tips to follow during the presentation
Here are some tips to remember throughout your presentation.
9. Vary your tone and modulation
The tonal quality of your voice may make or break your virtual presentation. No matter how good your content is and how structured your slides are, nothing will help you if you fail to vary your tone and modulation effectively. So, don’t speak too fast or too slow.
Use inflection (i.e., variation in pitch and tone of your voice) to create excitement, suspense, or drama in your story and convey urgency, enthusiasm, or importance of key points. Also, don’t forget to take pauses to break the monotony of a continuous stream of words and allow time for the audience to absorb the presented information.
10. Pay heed to your body language and gestures
Gestures and body language matter a lot in virtual presentations, as what we communicate is expressed and conveyed more through facial expressions and body language than the actual words we utter.
Here are a few tips -
- Don’t lean into the camera or over the desk; sit upright.
- Avoid touching your hair or face, as it will portray you unprepared and nervous.
- Instead of looking here and there, look at the camera.
- To make the atmosphere constructive and positive, greet your audience members with a smile.
- Avoid staring, yawning, frowning, or any other hostile facial expression.
11. Be inclusive
You can choose the translation feature of the software and avoid using jargon or complicated words to make your content accessible to audience members of different native languages and learning levels. Address the audience members with their respective names to add a personal touch.
You can also record your presentation and share it with the audience. It can be useful for audience members with cognitive disabilities who can go through the recorded presentation anytime, slow down the speed, and understand particular segments.
12. Mute microphones when not speaking
Muting your microphone when an audience member asks a question is a sign of respect you have toward him/her. It allows them to speak without being distracted or interrupted by background noise. Moreover, it helps you listen to and understand their concerns clearly.
Undoubtedly, this new normal has brought unusual shifts in the business landscape, but at the same time, it has given professionals an opportunity to shine as a presenter. So, leverage it to the fullest!
Remember, the more time you invest in crafting and practicing your presentation, the less effort you will have to exert to deliver it to your audience. A well-prepared and well-delivered virtual presentation can earn you brownie points and help you establish yourself as a seasoned speaker.
Hope this article helps you prepare well for your upcoming online presentation.