12 Keys to Delivering Great Virtual Presentations

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12 January 2018
Written by Speak First Linked-in icon

What comes to mind when your people think about delivering a virtual presentation? Awkward and boring or engaging and time efficient? What would it take to ensure the latter? These 12 keys to delivering great virtual presentations are fundamental to your people's success, yet really easy to implement.

Business meeting in person and virtual


1. Log on ahead of time – be on top of logistics

Email participants ahead of time with details of what you expect from them. Be ready 15 minutes before to make sure everything goes smoothly

2. Deliver in the morning whenever you can

While this isn’t always possible, it’s better to schedule important virtual presentations early in the day because your energy will be higher, and your audience is more likely to stay engaged

 3. Be natural – don’t go into ‘presenter’ mode 

Many people write a script to use when they present virtually. While this can be a tempting idea, it often ends up sounding wooden and unnatural. It needs to be conversational, natural and authentic.

4. Structure to maximise engagement

Every presentation needs to have a logical flow and central theme or ‘red thread’ that the audience can follow. But the secret of success to maximise engagement lies in reviewing it for ‘flat spots’ where nothing much is happening and introduce a change to capture attention.

5. Eliminate, eliminate, eliminate

The biggest killer of attention in a virtual presentation is too much information. Be clear about your audience and your purpose. Then work out the key messages you must get across to achieve your outcome. Eliminate anything that gets in the way of getting that across.

6. Start with impact – hook their attention

Start how you mean to go on. Grab their attention. Ask a rhetorical question, present a striking fact or something similar to get them hooked from the outset. It will also set the tone for an interesting session.

7. Communicate your purpose

Tell them what you want to achieve, not just what you want to talk about. Tell them What’s In It For Them (the benefits) and have a simple and clear agenda.

8. Make it interactive

There are many ways to make a virtual presentation interactive. Build this into your preparation rather than leaving it to chance. When you’re delivering your presentation don’t be put off if people don’t join in. Keep going in encouraging them to participate all the way through.

9. Bring ideas to life with examples and stories

As with any presentation you’re more likely to hold people’s attention if you add examples and stories to bring the facts to life. Make sure you keep them short and simple.

10. Have strong visuals and change them frequently

Pictures provide impact and create an emotional reaction that is more memorable than text. Graphs and charts can make it easier for people to understand complex information. If you need to use text, consider chunking them (ideally in boxes) and using simple animation to create change.

11. Make your voice engaging and powerful 

Present your ideas with passion and enthusiasm and this will come across in your voice. Varying your pace, pitch and volume will also help you to make a positive impact. Presenting while standing up can help you come across with more energy.

12. Take care when you show your face

Consider the lighting and make sure your face isn’t in shadow. Clear clutter behind you and make sure you check for objects that may look strange (like a plant growing out of your head!). Think about the shot size and frame yourself with thought and care.