When it comes to virtual presentations, there are a lot of things to remember and prepare for. Rather than standing in front of a room full of people with the connection that physical presence brings, your audience is scattered around the globe with a host of enticing distractions just a mouse-click away. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do during your virtual presentation that will help to keep them engaged and entertained.
Let’s take a closer look at three key principles you can use to make your virtual presentations sizzle and how you can apply these.
Prepare Your Environment
Setting: Make sure both you and your office look professional and inviting. Smart clothing and solid colours are preferable. Keep your background simple and uncluttered. Remove distractions and turn off your phone, email, Skype, Zoom, or other apps running on your computer. Keep the door closed and cut out any background noise to make it easier for the audience to focus on your presentation.
Lights: Ensure that the lighting in the room is sufficient and that your face is clearly visible. Eliminate strong backlighting that will cast you as a silhouette by pulling the shades over any windows behind you. Ensure that there is natural light falling on your face. If necessary, set up a light source behind the camera. Invest in a low-cost desktop video light, if you don’t have natural light in your office.
Camera: Turn the camera on. Video is crucial to capture the full attention of your audience; people tend to tune out when just listening to a voice.
Positioning: Place your webcam at eye level and ensure that the camera is capturing your face properly. Lean in so that your face, and not the objects in the background, takes centre-stage.
Action: You want to engage with your audience, not just recite your presentation to a computer. Act like you are a professional newscaster on television. Make eye contact by looking directly into the camera (particularly at the start or end of your session) and speak conversationally. Smile.
Prepare Your Content
Choosing interesting and topical content is essential to attracting and holding your audience’s attention.
Keep it short sharp and snappy: Be succinct. Say only what you MUST say. Use bullet points and keep sentences short and specific and slides brief. End a little early, never push your presentation to the last second! Give your attendees time to ask questions, take a short break, network at the Meeting Hub or visit the virtual exhibition.
Get creative with the format: Try not to overdo PowerPoint presentations. Where you do use them, try to keep your slides short and to the point and use them more as talking points, rather than reciting your content directly from the slide. Add dimension to your presentation by interviewing someone, showing a short video clip or adding other interesting visual elements to your presentation, like a prop or two.
If your presentations are devoted to just updates or providing information, they are bound to get dull. The value of a virtual session lies in engaging the collective brainpower and problem-solving ability of the participants. Use a variety of formats within your presentation to achieve this type of engagement. Create opportunities for discussion or brainstorming. Get the audience to have a group chat, to discuss topics, to ask and/or answer questions and to review any issues they are experiencing. The live Q&A and live poll features of the OnAIR virtual and hybrid event solution by EventsAir are great for this.
Prepare Your Presentation Platform
Choose a presentation platform such as OnAIR that gives you the flexibility to present in a variety of formats, including live streaming, pre-recording, live Q&As and polls, video chats, and more, on a single secure platform that is easy to use.
Practice Your Delivery
Set up “mock” web presentations with colleagues or friends to eliminate stilted and mechanical delivery. Run your webcam software to test your camera and lighting in advance.
Practice Using the Presentation Platform
Become familiar with the controls in your webinar environment, such as sharing screens, and showing videos. Get comfortable with turning on your audio and video. Attend training sessions and watch demos to gain confidence in using the software.
Get in early to your office or studio. Have your presentations and videos queued up and ready to present. Connect with the virtual event producer/manager ahead of time to perform sound and video checks.
It’s time to get focused on your presentation. Imagine you’re talking to just one person. Visualize and pretend you are talking directly to your ideal audience member while delivering your presentation. This will keep your audience engaged and help you feel less nervous. The individual sitting at home or in their office will be less likely to be distracted if they feel you are talking directly to them and not a gazillion others. Use the word “you” rather than saying “you all” to connect with each individual audience member.
Don’t let the camera and computer become a barrier to your audience. Find ways to connect and maintain a relationship with the audience by speaking to them as though they were in the room with you.
Be passionate about your audience and your message. Presenting online is about waking up the audience and keeping them alert, so let your energy and passion show in your speech and delivery. Present with the intention to bring joy and delight to others. Your audience will respond to this energy and stay with you.
Be animated – move around a little bit while you present. If possible, stand and use hand gestures. Practice this delivery style so that it becomes fluid and natural rather than stiff and mechanical.
Let your audience know you are listening to them by responding directly to them during live Q&As and live polls. Where possible and appropriate, use the names of audience members to keep them engaged.
Relax and enjoy your presentation!
A virtual presentation, while dramatically different from a face-to-face one, can still be a highly engaging and beneficial experience for both the presenter and the audience. Visit eventsair.com/onair to see how you can create highly interactive virtual presentations easily with the OnAIR virtual and hybrid event solution.
EventsAir has been at the forefront of Event Technology and Innovation for over 30 years, continually pushing the boundaries of what an event management platform can do. Built by event planners for event planners, EventsAir is a secure, scalable, cloud-based solution that can manage everything from in-person, virtual to hybrid conferences, meetings and events in a single online platform – anywhere, anytime and on any device. In use in over 50 countries by multi-national corporations, professional conference organizers, government departments and tertiary education institutions, EventsAir is also used in global congresses such as G20, APEC, CHOGM and ASEAN, as well as sporting events like The Olympic Games, World Rugby, Commonwealth Games and Pan Am Games. EventsAir is trusted by event professionals around the globe. For further information, visit www.eventsair.com