The sudden shift to online meetings generated a unique set of challenges. But with the right tweaks, these can be transformed into valuable opportunities. According to virtual platform host, Miro, "The best online meetings include three essentials... connection, collaboration and feedback." With these in mind, we’ve curated a list of ten tips to make your virtual presentation exceptional.
1. Location, location, location.
With presentations often occurring in workplace conference rooms, we didn’t have to devote considerable thought to location. But now it matters more than ever. Your new work office offers the comfort of home, but not everything in view of your camera is work-appropriate. Select a private setting away from family and pets. Ensure your background isn’t messy or distracting. And remember to address lighting. Avoid being backlit by closing blinds and/or curtains behind you.
2. Perform a dry run.
Test the technology in advance. Ensure your Wi-Fi signal is strong and that the meeting platform loads with ease. Do a microphone check and mind the room’s acoustics. Record your presentation rehearsal and remedy any problems found during playback.
3. Mind your manners.
Consider the context of your presentation and invite accordingly. If seeking a significant volume of feedback from attendees, a smaller group may be more conducive. Make introductions, when necessary, or have attendees introduce themselves. Ensure you are well prepared and adhere to time markers for the start, breaks, and end of the session.
4. Manage attendee expectations.
Remind attendees of the meeting’s agenda, main objectives, and expectations. If seeking feedback, pose questions prior to the meeting so attendees can arrive with suggestions. Set guidelines. Should video cameras be activated or disengaged? For those who opt to disable their video, ensure they begin by identifying themselves when speaking. Establish rules for muting mics when not speaking. If desired, utilize the roll call function so you’re aware of call attendees.
5. Develop a captivating presentation.
Thanks to an array of multimedia options, your presentation can be designed with visual interest. Include graphics, videos, links, and slides. Share your screen, notes, management dashboards, and any additional content pertinent to your presentation.
Note: Not all platforms are created equal, understand your platforms' limitations and design your presentation accordingly.
6. Engage your audience.
Keep it interactive. Engage with questions by utilizing live polling, chats, raised hand features and other technology that encourages participation.
7. Show your face.
When presenting to a virtual audience, don’t be a disembodied voice. Even if only at the presentation’s beginning, research shows the importance of being seen. Additionally, place your camera at eye level, framing the picture with your face, neck, and shoulders.
8. Be dynamic.
Body language has never been more instrumental while presenting. Deliver with energy, annunciation, and inflection. Smiling, nodding, and maintaining eye contact with your device’s camera keep audiences engaged. Duke University recently released helpful tips on employing body language in the virtual workplace.
9. Assign roles.
Appoint trusted colleagues with the roles of timekeeper, facilitator of the chat feature (if utilized), and action item documentarian. Additionally, supply someone with a copy of your presentation. If a technical glitch arises, they can display the presentation while you can call in to present.
10. Seek feedback.
When hosting a recurring event, consider sending a follow-up questionnaire and/or have audience members rate the meeting. Garnering input allows the presenter an opportunity to refine presentation structure and delivery for more efficient meetings.
11. Remain flexible.
Technical glitches are practically inevitable in a virtual world, with many transpiring beyond our control. Advance preparation for possible problems is ideal, but simply stated, both technological and human error happens. Tapping into resourcefulness and finding creative alternatives are vital. As we continue learning and working through this virtual system, rolling with the punches and maintaining a sense of humor is the best remedy for ultimate success.