A recent survey by Prezi found that almost half the respondents admitted to doing something other than listening to their co-worker’s presentation during an online meeting – 28% said they used the time to send texts, 27% to write emails and worse still, 17% confessed to having a quick nap!
Delivering a presentation via a conference call or webinar requires a different approach to face-to-face presentations when you can look your audience in the eye. The relationship with your audience can seem distant and a different dynamic comes into play. Building rapport must be done swiftly and it can be harder to depend on personal charisma in the same way as in a face-to-face context.
Here are some suggestions to make sure your online presentation hits the spot.
- Create a warm welcome
Your participants will inevitably log in at different times leaving you with time to fill. Prepare a couple of slides to help you. Include housekeeping or ground rules so that everyone has a clear idea of their role in the meeting and how you expect them to interact with you. Why not also include an ice-breaking question for those who arrive early to discuss? It could be as simple as ‘Share a recent success’ or ‘What’s the one thing you would like to change?’ or a topic more closely related to the theme of the meeting or webinar. If your attendees are global you could include a world map and ask them to mark where they are and what time it is or what the weather is like. Sparking conversation between participants can help with team dynamics or creating a sense of community on a webinar.
- Check audience understanding
Without those all-important visual cues, you can’t gauge your audience’s physical or emotional reactions and it is far more challenging to be sure they are following your presentation. Build in regular check-ins such as Q&A or knowledge check slides. And of course, make sure you have a clear summary at the end with actions and follow up as appropriate.
- Design engaging content
Remember that when people feel invisible, they are far more likely to multi-task and it is easy to ‘lose’ them. Your slides need to be visually stimulating, memorable and easy to understand: brief reminders to support what you say rather than the main event.
- Bear in mind that some attendees will join via mobile or tablet and so will not be able to read detailed text or data. Slides with too much text are confusing and hard to read.
- Remember that your audience may experience a time lapse between each slide loading and will need time to digest.
- Make sure that your you keep plenty of white space around your slides to allow for other elements of your virtual meeting room to overlap.
- Less is not always more when preparing presentation slides for online delivery and best practice suggests you need close to double the sides you might have in a face-to-face presentation. If the screen is static for too long your audience will navigate …read more
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