How to give a great Online Presentation
How to give a great Online Presentation
For almost a year now many of us have been working from home, conducting virtual meetings, managing teams remotely, and often having to present to large audiences online. Before the world changed dramatically as a result of the global pandemic and we started the recurring cycle of lockdowns, most of us would have sat through some boring presentations at some stage in ‘real life’, wishing the speaker would get to the point before you experienced ‘death by Powerpoint’!
As with most things taking place virtually the key is to do more of what you would normally do in 'real life', for example, if you’re managing your team you need to conduct more regular 1:1s to check in on your team members to see how they really are coping with lockdown. Or, as a leader, if you used to speak at quarterly town halls or all hands meetings, then these should be held more often online to communicate key changes and challenges to engender a sense of belonging amongst those working from home in order to ensure a positive remote culture. The same applies for virtual presentations; they need more effort than those delivered in person.
The 5 common traps most presenters fall in to are:
- The audience doesn’t know what the presentation was supposed to achieve
- They don’t see the benefits or ‘WIFFM’ (What’s in it for me!)
- There is no sequence of ideas so the audience is left confused
- There are too many facts and/or figures so this ‘data dump’ causes boredom
- The presentation is too long so the audience gets bored and restless
So, how can you avoid these cardinal sins of presenting? Here are 10 useful tips to producing effective presentations online:
1. Plan and prepare even more thoroughly than normal, practice and keep practicing until your delivery sounds casual yet professional.
2. Find out about your audience and what video conferencing platform will be used. Then establish if they will be able to interact with you; if so, divide your presentation up in to chunks with natural breaks for Q and As. Pre-empt any challenging questions and prepare how you will answer them.
3. Make sure that you are introduced properly to the audience as this establishes your credibility and can provide the audience with a clear expectation of what you are about to tell them. Find out who is going to introduce you and brief them thoroughly, then keep the intro short.
4. Have a distinct objective, a beginning, middle and end with a summary. Remember the 3 T’s: tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you’ve told them!
5. Decide how to get the audience from Point A to Point B and be clear on the ‘hook’ and call to action to get them to their objective, such as learning tools and techniques to manage their workload, or create a work life balance.
6. Talk about Benefits rather than Features, for example, if you are selling an idea, such as a restructure, don’t tell them all the negatives, explain the reasons behind the reorganization, but also how this can benefit them as the employees, as well as the organization.
7. Even though you may be sitting in your spare bedroom/the lounge/kitchen, have open positive body language, sit up straight, make sure you are dressed smartly but comfortably and don’t fidget! Take deep breaths beforehand.
8. Articulate more than you do normally, still project your voice and speak slightly slower than in normal conversation. Invest in a microphone to soften the bilabial plosives (the b's and p's)!
9. If you can see all the participants on the video call, then try to establish eye contact with everyone and refer to people by name to engage your audience.
10. Ensure your slides are clear, concise and full of images so the audience doesn’t switch off. Use some appropriate humour, always being mindful that many people are experiencing an array of challenges at the moment.
At Natural Talent we often find on our Presentation Skills Programmes that the main issue around presenting tends to be nerves, so we spend time on identifying and stamping out any negative head chatter, building confidence and assertiveness and creatively visualising success. So, picture perfection and repeat positive and encouraging thoughts to yourself beforehand, such as: ‘The audience is sure to be enthusiastic because my presentation is strong and I’m well prepared.’ Head of HR
‘What a great informative session. The presentation was clear and worked very well. I really enjoyed the ability to interact and discuss the key themes and challenges we are all currently facing. Then receiving so many tips and tricks to address them has been so useful and really appreciated by everyone. Thank you so much, Jill.’ Head of HR
Be kind, stay safe, stay positive!