These days, you’re more and more likely to find yourself giving a remote presentation to a virtual room full of colleagues or clients. All of this working from home means that the presentations you used to give to a group of people in a conference room now have to happen digitally. Public speaking is scary enough, but giving a conference call presentation can be even more intimidating! Especially if you’re worried about how you look or technology cooperating.
With in-person presentations, you more or less have a captive audience — you still need to be engaging, but your audience is kind of stuck with you for the duration. But with virtual presentations, your audience has a greater opportunity to stray. You now have to compete for their eyes, ears, hearts, and minds against diminished attention spans, increased home and work life distractions, and conflicting priorities.
Here are our top tips when it comes to presenting from your work station:
Setting the scene
Ensure you are in a well-lit room – ideally not with your back to a window as you will look silhouetted and dark and the sunlight coming in will dominate the webcam image.
Do not have any lamps or lights on behind you that the camera will pick up. If you do have a lamp turn it towards you from behind your camera.
Ensure that you are sitting in the centre of your camera shot and that your camera is elevated to your eye line. (Either elevated using a laptop stand or placed on a stack of books). Oh and clear up any mess in the background, no one wants to see a pile of dirty dishes or an overflowing laundry basket.
Make your voice heard
Ensure your microphone is not muted in your computer settings or in the video conference app. If possible try to reduce any background noise as much as possible and avoid large rooms with echo i.e a tiled kitchen. Try to keep any pets, kids, or other folks who happen to be home out of the room while you’re presenting. As much as you love them, a cameo from them probably isn’t what you need when you are presenting.
We all remember this guy right?
Know your Message & Structure
This may sound strange but it’s generally only experienced broadcasters and presenters that can get away with learning pre written scripts in a natural and believable style. It can come across as stilted and unnatural if you try to learn a script word for word. Be yourself using your own natural language, and talk in a conversational style.
Be clear on the run-of-show: what’s happened just before you (who has introduced you? Has a video just played?) and what’s coming afterwards (who should you hand back to? Are you introducing a new piece of content?). Make sure you double check what your cue to begin speaking will be, and how you will track time while you speak.
If you stutter or lose track, don’t worry about it! It happens. If you’re speaking live, just pick up where you left off as soon as you can and try starting the sentence again.
If you are being interviewed or taking part in a Q&A, don’t feel that you have to answer straight away- you are allowed to pause for thought! A deep breath and a moment of consideration can help you avoid a verbal freefall.
Play to the Camera
Sit or Stand? – Where possible, we suggest you stand – standing gives a more dynamic energy to the content captured. Keep your shoulders back, hands relaxed at your sides or held together (or whatever feels natural and comfortable for you); smile (this warms up your delivery, and your tone of voice); and look at the camera. If your audience were in the room, how would you like them to see you?
Some extra tips to present like a pro
Keep all these tips in mind when organizing your next virtual event, and you’ll no doubt have an engaged and interactive audience.