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8 Tips Every Speaker Should Implement for an Effective Virtual Presentation

Many marketers use speaking at conferences as a way to build brand awareness, reach prospects, and contribute to their industry. This year, the majority of industry events and conferences have been reworked to go virtual. And while the content of presentations may not be impacted, giving a presentation or being a part of a virtual panel requires different strategies to succeed. A few seemingly small differences can help you make an effective virtual presentation. 

If speaking at virtual summits and conferences, or even leading a training or meeting virtually, is on your plate in the future, keep these eight tips in mind to make sure you’re not doing anything to distract from your message.

8 Tips Every Speaker Should Implement for an Effective Virtual Presentation

1. Don’t read your presentation. Even though you could type out your speech word-for-word, don’t. The delivery becomes distractingly unnatural. You will end up reading more quickly than you would speak. The rapid eye movement is noticeable. In short, people can tell when you are reading. Instead of taking the time to type it up, use that time to rehearse. This is your area of expertise. Trust yourself. Practice your presentation. And use nothing more than an outline or a slide deck as a jumping off point. 

2. Set up your camera shot so it looks professional. The shot should be straight on, not looking up at you or down at you. Hint: if viewers can see the ceiling, or if you only take up the bottom half of the shot, it’s not a good angle. Frame yourself in the shot in the same way you would want a good picture to be taken. The viewer should see your head and shoulders with a professional or minimally, non-distracting background. To get this right you may need to angle your camera or put your computer on top of some books. Prep the shot in advance by doing a practice run.

3. Face a light. If your space is not naturally bright, you may want to purchase a ring light to brighten your face or set up a temporary presentation space in another room in your home that has better natural lighting. Also, make sure there is not a light source, like a window, behind you. This will result in you being backlit and you’ll appear as little more than a silhouette. 

4. If you use slides, do not fill them with lots of text. This rule applies to both in-person presentations and virtual. As an audience member, it’s difficult to keep up in a presentation when trying to both read a paragraph and listen to someone speak simultaneously. Your visuals should complement what you are saying and help drive home your point. Limit text to 5-10 words per slide.

5. Before the presentation begins mute or turn off all your alerts: email, Slack, Teams, etc. Hearing your notifications randomly go off throughout your presentation is yet another distraction to your audience and it subliminally signals to them that they are not important enough for you to silence your notifications while you present. Prioritize your audience. Turn them off. 

6. Make “eye contact” by looking at the camera lens. Again, you will likely need to practice this, because it may feel strange. But it’s important to look into the camera as much as possible so your audience feels like you are making eye contact with them. 

7. If possible, co-present with a colleague. It’s easy to zone out while listening to virtual presentations, especially if you’re doing it all day long at a virtual conference. To help keep your audience’s attention, consider presenting with a colleague. 

8. Be energetic. Remember that on the other side of the screen is a human who wants to learn something, be engaged, and has a lot on their plate. If you need to stand in order to be energetic, then do that. Try to exude more energy than you may feel is required. 

For speakers, presenting online hardly compares to presenting in person when it comes to the payoff of connecting with an audience face-to-face. But in a world where we’re not likely to gather in large groups for quite some time, optimizing your virtual presentation skills will help you connect with your audience, reach your goals and conduct an effective virtual presentation. 

by McKinley Marketing Partners