Virtual presentations and online meetings have become a necessity due to the pandemic. This phenomenon has brought drastic changes in how various sectors conduct conferences. Even legal activities like arbitration hearings, court proceedings, and mock jury trials are done online as legal practitioners are encouraged to work from home.
When giving a presentation in person, you have the attention of an active audience eager to participate. For virtual presentations, however, your audience has a greater chance of dropping off in engagement. Shorter attention spans, distractions at home and work, and clashing priorities - these are some of the factors you have to conquer when presenting online.
7 Tips to Nail Virtual Presentations
1. Test the Technology
Different programs have varying user interfaces. Every software has its own way of sharing screens, muting users, and sending materials. Knowing how to navigate the technology ahead of time can help prevent delays and blunders in the actual event.
Check if your mic or audio is audible and clear as well. The viewers can tolerate a hazy video at some points, but garbled audio can make the listeners leave. Be aware that external microphones or headphones function better than computer audio so prepare one just in case.
Make sure you know how the system works. Do a dry run so you’ll be comfortable with the features and tools of the platform you're using.
2. Get Proper Lighting
As the presenter, you have the attention of all the participants. The audience must see you well so take note of your camera lighting. While natural light is the best option, you can also use other lighting instruments such as lampshades or ring lights. Avoid putting yourself against the source of light because you’ll appear as a silhouette on-screen.
3. Look at the Camera
Connecting with the audience obliges the speaker to stare at the camera and defy the urge to look at the computer screen. Looking at the faces on the screen is natural, but it’s better to break this habit in doing virtual presentations. Doing this gives the impression to the viewers that you’re looking at them.
Additionally, avoid having your camera far below or above you. Frame your shoulders, neck, and face and mind the distance because you don’t want to be too far or too close. Confirm your camera is on, especially if you're on a panel. If you're not saying something but your camera is turned on, make sure you appear to be listening!
4. Observe Proper Body Posture
Standing up gives you greater energy, allows deeper breathing, and pushes your body to be in a more presentation-like position. If sitting down, lean forward like what TV news anchors do and avoid slouching as it signals disinterest and uncertainty.
5. Create Attractive Slides
The slide deck can bring your presentation to greater heights. A picture is worth a thousand words so include graphics, photos, and videos to grab and retain the focus and attentiveness of the audience. Keeping the viewers engaged is indeed a challenge when conducting virtual events so include open-ended questions, polls and, other elements too to promote engagement.
6. Get Rid of External Distractions
Defective technology, bothersome background noise, or a cluttered background are all enough to draw the audience's attention away from the important information you're delivering.
Determine possible distractions and solutions prior to the big day. This means being punctual, finding a quiet area, and practicing to avoid errors. If the reason for their attendance at your presentation is unclear, the audience will become distracted as well. Before the presentation, make sure to communicate effectively with everyone involved, outline the agenda, and offer any essential supporting information you’d like them to study ahead of time.
7. Wear Appropriate Clothes
Making an effort to look well demonstrates your commitment and courtesy for your audience. Try to dress from head to toe even if participants can only see you from the shoulders up. In a professional setting, your trustworthiness is influenced by how you look whether you're giving a presentation in person or online.
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