Speaking in front of a group can be challenging in the best of circumstances. But virtual presentations via platforms like Skype and Zoom can create new challenges that can trip up even the most confident public speaker. In last two blogs, we’ve provided tips and techniques for projecting confidence, credibility, and professionalism in virtual meetings and presentations. Today we wrap up this series with more strategies to help you rock your next virtual presentation:
Welcome Audience Engagement: When your audience isn’t in the same room as you, it’s easy for them to feel disengaged and disconnected. Tailor your presentation so that there are plenty of opportunities for the audience to interact with you directly. For example, you can include survey questions that people can respond to non-verbally (e.g., “If you’ve ever experienced a similar issue with a customer, raise your hand.”) or using the chat function (e.g., “Type Y for yes if you agree or N if you don’t agree.” You can also add in questions that require a direct verbal response by an audience member (e.g., “Can someone tell me what they found the most challenging about this project?”), or put participants into break-out rooms to discuss. These little moments will help your audience feel as though you’re speaking with them, not at them, which will help them feel more connected to your message.
Experiment with Tech in Advance: Giving a presentation over a virtual platform isn’t as straightforward as presenting in person. If you’ll be using slides, practice with a colleague in advance to make sure you fully understand how screen-sharing looks to your audience. Be sure that your audience is seeing your presentation itself, not the presenter view with your notes visible. If your presentation includes audio, make sure your computer’s audio feed is being shared directly with the audience (i.e., not just playing through your speakers).
Get Your Lighting Right: It may seem trivial, but poor lighting isn’t just unflattering, it can be a significant distraction for your audience. Practice your presentation in the location that you will actually be holding the meeting at a similar time of day. Then take a good look at yourself in the camera to see if there are any distracting shadows or glare. Try leaning slightly forward and backward to see how the lighting changes. Don’t like what you see? Try putting a small desk lamp directly in front of you, behind your computer. To soften the light and make it more flattering, drape a scarf or other thin fabric over the lamp.
If you are looking to polish your communication skills be sure to pick up a free copy of my e-book “Communicate with Clarity and Confidence!” by subscribing to our newsletter community on our website. For additional information call us at 212-308-7725 or send us an e-mail at email@example.com to learn more. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!
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