Web meetings are hard under the best of circumstances. These days if you’re preparing content to share with internal or external stakeholders, the visual representation has to work a lot harder.
You may be a great presenter in a conference room or on an event stage. But when you’re the size of a postage stamp on someone’s laptop, even Tony Robbins can have a hard time.
In the “before times,” you might have been able to use the sheer force of your personality to carry you through a presentation. But be honest, your PowerPoint decks alone are the on-screen equivalent of presenting with toilet paper stuck to your shoe.
Here are some important things to keep in mind for virtual presentations:
Can everyone hear me? No.
Audio quality is never as good as you would like. If you’re a speaker who is prone to a fast-paced, high energy style, you’ll need to dial it back a few notches. Most of your audience will be listening to you through Bluetooth connected knock-off earbuds. If you ask a question, wait an uncomfortable amount of time for a response. Aside from that annoying delay, people have to find their unmute button.
I’m sorry, can you repeat that?
Working from home or even in a shared space allows people to multitask with impunity. Even if they have their camera turned on, you can never really tell where they’re looking. Remember that annoying person that was looking at their phone through your entire presentation? That’s everyone now. Even those of us with the best of intentions can’t resist the temptation of looking at just one more text.
Keep the meeting as brief and simple as possible. You’re already fighting small screens and distractions, so don’t undermine yourself with unnecessary complexity. Strip away everything non-essential. We’re often too close to our own work, so it’s helpful to have an emotionally detached third party see your presentation and give you feedback on what to cut and what to clarify.
Show, Don’t Tell.
This is nothing new, but it is even more critical now. Speak less, show more. And use legible images, charts or infographics to get your points apart. Assume your audience is using laptops or tablets.
Say goodbye to animated builds and transitions.
These have always been a bad idea and should be eliminated from the applications. But when you view motion of any kind in a remote presentation, it’s like watching a web page load in the dial-up era.
Stick to your script.
Script your presentation (that doesn’t mean read the slides) and stick to it. Add reminders to speaker’s notes to slow down and share important insights that are not on the screen. Think I’m not talking about you because you’re one of those people who are natural presenters and never use notes? I have some bad news for you. Folks who think of themselves as naturally great presenters are often great at reading a room and modulating their presentation based on the non-verbal feedback they get. You’ll need to replace your improv skills with preparation.
Get professional help.
We’ve been creating webinar content and event presentations for our clients for years.
Usually, it’s part of a campaign, but we’re making this available a la carte for any company or individual trying to communicate content across a web meeting. Contact us and see if we’re a good fit to help.