One year into the coronavirus pandemic, businesses across the world are relying on virtual platforms to keep their operations alive. In-person meetings and presentations moved to Zoom and other video conferencing formats such as Cisco Webex, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, and GoToMeeting. Business transcription agencies provide companies with they support they need to convert the audio/video recordings of these remote presentations into well-formatted documents.
Whether it’s a webinar, e-lecture, or web-conference, things can be challenging, especially when it comes to keeping your virtual audience engaged. A 2020 survey by Ginger Leadership found that 99% of participants multitask in virtual meetings. Moreover, in remote presentations, there’s no way of assessing your audience’s perception and hardly any feedback to help you improve.
So, what does it take to make a compelling online presentation? The following tips and tools that can help you ace your talk and get your message across effectively.
- Keep it Short: Less is more when it comes to presentation slides, according to a hbr.org article. A partner in consulting firm McKinsey advises newly hired consultants to use only two slides in place of every 20 slides they may be planning to use. Most audiences are found to have an attention span of just 10 minutes and this can be even less with a remote audience. This happens if the presentation is in lecture mode and the audience perceives it as a one-way conversation. This brings us to the second point – the need to drive engagement.
- Use Visuals: Using relevant visuals along with text are crucial to convey information in presentations. Use images and slides in varied designs and colors rather than stock photos. Any photos, diagrams, data, text, and videos used should be properly organized and seamlessly integrated. Clear, memorable and original visuals are a great way to see that ideas and recommendations easily understood, remembered, and acted on.
- Focus on Building Connection: As with in-person presentations, you need to focus on understanding your audience and addressing their goals and concerns. Make sure your remote presentation is relevant and concise and stick to the subject to get your audience’s attention. Inclusive language – communicate directly with your audience using the word ‘you’, says Matt Abrahams, Co-founder of Bold Echo Communications Solutions, and lecturer in strategic communication and effective virtual presenting at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business (insights.dice.com). Building social connections with your audience is all the more important in a virtual environment.
- Speak Slowly: Clear speech is critical when presently remotely and can convey confidence and professionalism. Also, as your audience cannot see you directly, they will be focused on listening. Voice tone and inflection plays a much bigger role in helping your audience absorb your remote presentation. Speak slowly and clearly and emphasize each word. Summarizing key points more frequently in case participants are multi-tasking will ensure that they retain the most important concepts discussed, says Catalyzing Innovation CEO Michelle Greenwald (Forbes).
- Foster Interactivity: Online presentations are not just about delivering content. To improve audience engagement, make the event interactive. Add questionnaires to the session and provide opportunities for people to answer. Take a poll or chat with your audience every 10 minutes. Importantly, make sure you give them time to respond.
- Get Familiar with the Technology: Nothing can be more embarrassing than constant glitches that occur because the presenter is not familiar with the software. Understand how to use the technology and test it before your presentation. Practice using the virtual platform before you go live and test the mic, screen sharing and camera to ensure they work flawlessly.
- Ask for Feedback and Pay Attention to it: It’s not enough to ask your audience for feedback. You need to use the information to improve your presentation skills. Interactivity is an excellent way to get continuous feedback. By asking people questions and paying attention to their answers, you can interpret the data and respond in real time.
- Prepare Well: Set up your technology in advance, check lighting, and make sure your camera and mics are properly positioned and working. Choose a quiet place and get a suitable background set up. A separate desk microphone is important for better sound quality. Practice your presentation, including using positive body language.
When it’s over, share your remote presentation. This will be very helpful for people who may have lost connectivity. Getting the presentation documented by a digital transcription service provider will ensure that participants have a permanent record of the session.