Adapting your Presentation Skills for the Virtual World

Flexible working practices have become the norm thanks for Coronavirus and many businesses will never return to the former way of working. With this in mind, there are some skillsets that need updating to suit the modern world. Presentation skills are one key area where there has had to be considerable change and adaptation. The way you present to a virtual audience is extremely different to a room full of people. Here we’re looking at some key tips to ensure your presentations are still going to succeed when taken online and your presenting environment is significantly different.

Get There First

When you’re presenting in person, you always make sure you’re first in the room or at least you’ve setup and are ready when its time to get started. The same applies online. Make sure you’re dialled in and setup on your call or chosen video platform ahead of time. You should be ready and be able to greet attendees as they arrive without having to worry or stress about timings. If you’re presenting using slides then have the first one ready for everyone as they dial in, so they can see they’re in the right place.

Prepare your Tech

In line with the first point here, make sure your tech is not going to let you down during your meeting. That means ensuring your plugged in or fully charged and that you’ve properly tested your webcam and microphone and they’re all working properly. Doing this in advance avoids any embarrassment when your presentation starts. It’s also worthwhile running through your presentation a few times too and setting your slide times to suit your speech if you choose to automate them.

Dress Yourself (and your Background) for Work

If you’re presenting from home, then this doesn’t give you an excuse to dress down. Dress as you would at work or in the clothes you’d choose if you were presenting in person. This helps keep the professional atmosphere you should want to create for a presentation and you’ll probably feel more confident too. Similarly, you should make sure the background of your presentation is suitable, so don’t be sat on the sofa or perched near the TV. Either use a background provided by the software you’re using or choose a neutral space with no unnecessary clutter in the background.

Remember Eye Contact and Body Language

It can be hard to make eye contact when there’s no actual person to look at, so you should try and get into the habit of periodically looking at the camera so your audience feel like you’re looking at and connecting with them. It does feel strange at first, but practice will make it easier each time. You should also be sure to position your camera a little away from you so the audience can see your hand gestures. You can also add small gestures like a slight nod of the head to emphasise points.

Time to Perfection

You should always be sure to time your presentation beforehand so you can give attendees an approximate time it will take when they register to attend. If you have a dedicated time slot you can also ensure your presentation fits properly into the time you have available, without cutting it off too short or going beyond your allotted time.

Sticking to key points and not rambling can be difficult so make sure you have a few trial runs and hone your presentation to the key points you need to make. The beginning and end of the presentation are especially important as they will stick in the mind of your audience.

Want to know more?

Deliver authoritative and memorable presentations with confidence with our Presenting With Impact virtual course.