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Virtual Presenting 101
Are you pro at speaking to people IRL (in real life), but virtual presenting maybe not so much? We spend more than half our days on one platform or another. Whether it’s Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Ring Central, Google Meet or virtual event platforms like Pheedloop or Webex, having to present online is a big thing. We've seen A LOT of virtual presentations this last year and here's what we found.
Virtual presenting starts here:
You’re only as good as your video and sound quality. Poor light, tilted camera, sliding out of frame, a busy background, muffled volume - all those things make a big impact on your presentation. Be sure to wipe your camera lens and test your sound (or consider an external camera and headphones). Have lighting behind your camera feed, not behind you and close nearby blinds. Add books under your laptop if the camera is not centered to your face and avoid wearing busy prints. Be mindful to stay centered in the video frame during the whole presentation. For virtual backgrounds, please don’t use them unless you have a green screen or all white background, otherwise when you move, your head bobs in and out of the digital background.
Get seamless on Power Point play. Open your PowerPoint then navigate to start in presenter mode. Hit screen share in Zoom then hit pause screen share. Pause your PowerPoint and return to your opening slide. Now when it’s your time to present, you’re already in presenter mode and can resume the screen share. The pause screen share allows you to toggle around “behind the scenes”, this is handy if you have a YouTube video to play or new website to share during your presentation. The audience won’t see you switch browsers with pause screen share as they will only see the last slide that was up before the pause.
Use a polling tool to amp up engagement. And not just the one in Zoom. For even more engagement, use slido.com (or similar) and get more. It facilitates polls, Q&A and quizzes right there. Your moderator controls it from their browser and attendees, for the best experience, simply use it from their mobile device with the event code.
Be direct. It’s so nice to have a panel of guests but if you’re moderating, be sure to direct questions directly to a panelist rather than to anyone on the panel. This keeps the program tight and unless you want each panelist to answer the same question, it keeps the conversation moving without speakers talking over each other as they inadvertently try to answer (or not), at once. Awkward.
Don’t be afraid to screw up a little. Tech is new, we’re not perfect and no one has really had much time to master virtual presenting. A little flub won’t kill anyone. Keep going, it makes you as a speaker more relatable and real - - and that’s no faux pas.
Get passionate. Speak on something you love and let your passion and new ideas surpass any worry you have on virtual presenting. Be thoughtful in your delivery but don’t overthink it. Have fun and consider it more like a gathering of like-minded friends: having a conversation and hearing your side of things, rather than a formal presentation. Let your passion and fun for the topic take over.
Slow down. Relax, don’t do it…don’t rush through it! Take your time, divert off topic if it provides value (and there’s time) and slow down to be yourself. The audience will connect better that way. They want your insight and your personality, not just facts and numbers. It’s also important to maintain your pace – and your time, don’t run over or it could throw the entire event timing off.
Adopt or "die". Try new technology, apps, or productivity tools - even if they seem like too much. Platforms and tools are always changing and updating with new ones coming out often. Once you get the hang of it, these tools will make your life easier. Plus it makes connecting with your community that more seamless. Adopt and adapt. Switch up your in-person presentations and formats to be more enticing for virtual. Integrate Slido. Create community Slack channels or a Google Doc and use the white board or a Miro board to combine thoughts. Encourage on-camera questions, and use all the tools and visuals you can to encourage more participation with your online group.
Level up your virtual presenting game with a few tricks to smooth out any frizz in your perfectly coiffed digital presentation.
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