We’ve learned a lot of lessons while transitioning to a more virtual world. One of them is that a great virtual presentation requires an entirely different set of best practices than a live, in-person event. While our learning in this area may have come through a trial-and-error period during the COVID lockdowns, today there are definite “dos” and “don’ts” for running a virtual presentation. We’ve compiled 8 tips to follow for your next online meeting.
Top Tips for Virtual Presentations
A great presentation can inspire, lead, educate, and above all, meet your professional and personal goals. If you’ve got a lot riding on your next virtual presentation, here are eight things you can do to make it not just technically foolproof, but also a communication knock-out.
Let’s start with lighting. You want your audience to not only see you, but see you in the best light that makes you look as good as you possibly can. The rule of thumb for small presentations, where it’s just you on camera, is to have light in front of your computer screen. Close the curtains if your back is to a window so it doesn’t put glare on your screen. Natural lighting can be great, but it often isn’t enough to illuminate your face well. In this case, supplemental lighting can give you the look and feel you’re trying to achieve.
Ideally, you’re using a video conferencing solution that allows white labeling. That’s where you can fully brand the presentation with your company logo and brand colors. Failing that, you may be able to upload your logo as a background screen. No matter what background you use, it should be aligned with your messaging and professional image. You’re looking for a background that doesn’t distract from your presentation, but rather enhances it. Your background should reinforce the image you are trying to present to your audience.
In addition to practicing your presentation, don’t forget to also practice with the technology you’re using. How many meetings have you participated in where something goes wrong? Scrambling to share your screen makes you look bad. Think of yourself as a performer, and practice the entire presentation with the tools you’ll be using. This kind of dry run is the only way you can be sure that everything will go without a hitch at show time.
By now you surely know to play to the camera during a virtual presentation, but it’s so important that it’s worth repeating here. Keep the camera at eye level and practice looking into it during your presentation to seem approachable and warm. If looking at yourself is distracting, turn of the self-view feature on your video conferencing feature, if you can. Your goal here is to build trust by making eye contact—or at least appearing to do so with your viewers.
Also, make sure the camera view captures your head and shoulders. Having just your big face on the screen will seem… strange. Instead, get a little distance between you and the camera to make a better connection with you and your audience.
Finally, consider standing up. Standing will increase your energy level. If you have multiple cameras on you, such as at a TED Talk, even some movement will draw the audiences’ eyes toward you. This will also drain nervous energy should you have some trepidation about your virtual presentation.
Being animated during a presentation is a good thing. Your charisma can translate even over a screen-to-screen virtual presentation. Don’t be monotone; you’ll lose your audience. Instead, engage your audience by in turn, being engaging.
Speaking of engagement, use virtual presentation tools to encourage audience participation. Chat features, break out rooms, whiteboards, and polling features can all improve audience participation. Pacing these interactive activities throughout a longer presentation can help engage the crowd. If you’re polling them, make sure you allow time in your presentation to share the results so that people will feel more connected to other attendees.
At the same time, pace your presentation to protect your energy levels so they stay consistent throughout the virtual presentation. Don’t ratchet up the speed at the beginning and then lose steam later on. If you know you talk fast in real life, use your practice sessions to slow things down a little.
As part of your dry run practice session, check your sound. An external microphone may sometimes be needed to create a less muted sound projection. Consider practicing your virtual presentation with an audience. Even if it’s an audience of one, they’ll be able to tell you if there’s too much background noise, or if the sound quality is poor. As you’re practicing, make the adjustments necessary to create a better virtual presentation.
Also, if you’re presenting from home, find a spot where the audience can’t hear the construction workers on the street outside, or your dog barking from the back patio. If these things happen and it’s a work audience, however, the right sound-related distractions could simply be a part of your style. If you have a meowing cat, for example, it could endear you to your audience and provide a little comic relief.
If you’re giving your virtual presentation from an office, most business internet connections are both stable and fast. If you’re presenting from home, however, things get a bit trickier. First, plan for an internet outage. Planning for a crisis is a good best practice on any virtual presentation. If the internet goes down at home, do you have a Wi-Fi hotspot on your phone? For important meetings, it is a good idea to try to have a second-in-command or some kind of human backup in the meeting, that you can text if your home internet goes down. They can let the audience know the problem. When possible, you should also plug your computer directly into your internet modem, which eliminates the Wi-Fi connection altogether. This can increase your internet speed and make the virtual presentation clearer.
8. Video Software
The video conferencing solution you use matters greatly to your virtual presentation. Having a secure, browser-based video conferencing provider means that your viewers will not have to download risky software from the internet to participate. Look for a provider that is easy-to-use but also HIPAA compliant. Even if you aren’t in the healthcare space, HIPAA privacy rules require stringent security measures to protect you and your viewers.
MegaMeeting is the video software solution chosen by professional presenters everywhere. Our service adds value by allowing customers to brand our software as their own. This reliability and our service features are what make MegaMeeting the best solution for your next virtual presentation. Call on us to find out more.
MegaMeeting solves the biggest challenges of modern video conferencing. For users, it is an all-in-one platform that delivers both video conferencing and webinars in a single, simplified interface. For attendees, it is 100% browser-based, making it highly accessible; joining a meeting is instantaneous from a single click. For enterprises, it is highly customizable, with white-labeling options for a private branded solution. For developers, it is API-driven and easy to integrate.
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