Making an online presentation is no longer the exception, it’s the norm. And even after COVID-19 passes us by, giving an online presentation will be a required skill for any leader, sales & marketing professional, or consultant. But are the rules really that different for a virtual presentation as opposed to an in-person experience? They absolutely are. Based on 10+ years of virtual presentation experience, we break down the online presentation tools that you need to add to your arsenal that will allow you to avoid the fate of countless presenters before you: that of a bored, disengaged audience.
In a virtual environment, you face additional challenges as a presenter. The most pronounced: not only do you face the prospect of audience members checking out mentally, but physically as well. There is nothing that requires someone to keep their camera on or avoid doing something else while listening to you. So, what does that mean? Grabbing – and keeping – attention is key in an online presentation environment.
Does your team need a presentation skills course for the virtual world? Our expert team runs virtual training sessions on virtual presentations for corporate teams across the globe.
Okay! Without further ado, let us dive into how to deliver a good online presentation.
Tips On How To Give A Good Online Presentation
Here at Management Consulted, we aren’t just former consultants. We’re a fully remote, global team that has been making online presentations for over a decade. Our first tip? It’s important to realize that a handful of tips alone do not make a good virtual presentation.
Success in a virtual presentation begins with your approach. Even more so in an online environment, your first goal is to ensure your audience is engaged early and often. Utilizing the Pyramid Principle® is a great way to frame your conversation by leading with your assertion (the “so what?” of the meeting). Your strong beginning will engage stakeholders up front – even if they disagree with your approach, you get a chance to identify their objections early, and that gives you an opportunity to pivot your approach.
Furthermore, leading with action items for your audience gets them engaged up front. In addition, framing the conversation by making it clear that folks will have something to do after the meeting will increase the chances they stay engaged throughout. And if there are no action items or next steps, why are you presenting in the first place?
Top Online Presentation Tips:
- Build a deck with the virtual environment in mind – this means that your slide and deck structure inform the way you will present virtually
- Lead with action items for your audience to keep them engaged
- Build in engagement points at key points of your presentation – a set amount per hour of presenting is recommended. We make specific recommendations for your team and company in our group training sessions
- Complexity is the enemy in virtual presentations – each slide should have only 1 key takeaway
- One way to ensure your slide is sending just 1 message? Avoid slides that are too text-heavy. In a virtual environment, someone will either listen to you or read the slide. Leave information to present “off-slide” and drive engagement, or communicate it visually so that it is easy to digest
- Related to “off-slide” presenting – make sure you practice what you will say to augment what is on your slide. The more you riff, the more you ramble.
- If presenting with a group, determine beforehand who will present which slides and who will be leading the screen-share. Nothing is worse than awkward Zoom transitions.
In our group corporate training sessions, we dive deep into these concepts, helping teams develop and deliver effective online presentations. Specifically, we teach 7 tactics to drive virtual engagement and 4 rules to drive virtual engagement. Schedule a conversation with a member of our training team.
Best Online Presentation Tools
As we’ve already discussed, the best online presentation tools aren’t snazzy Zoom backgrounds or web tricks – they are ways that you drive stakeholder engagement. To be specific, the best online presentation tools are structure, clarity, and simple slides.
Technically speaking, while we don’t recommend presenting in Google Slides, this can be a helpful tool as you create a presentation online in a collaborative way. However, our recommendation is to always port the presentation over to PowerPoint before finalizing for the presentation. One of our other favorite online presentation tools is Canva – this is a great resource to help you present data in a visual, easy-to-digest format.
If you haven’t gotten the message yet, here it is one more time: the most valuable currency in an online environment is attention. The best online presentations always quickly grab – and keep – stakeholder attention. One of the main ways they do this is via setting action items and next steps up front. They make sure everyone knows what they will be responsible to do after the presentation concludes.
Good luck with your next online presentation! It will benefit you to continue to practice and improve – these aren’t going away anytime soon. Does your team need specific virtual presentation training? Let’s chat.
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