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.
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.