Perfecting remote presentations right from your living room

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way we work today. Much of our work is moving online: marketing, B2B sales, events, and more. In all these cases presentation slides take the center stage to express your ideas effortlessly.

So, we at Show have asked ourselves how our users can deliver an effective presentation while working remotely.

In this blog post, we’ve compiled some practical ways to make an impact in our online-only era.

What makes online presenting different?

To understand how content needs to change when presenting online, we need to understand the differences between in-person and online presentations.

Nature of presentations

In-person

Online

What do you have?

Presenter, slides, and audience in front of you

Presenter, slides, and audience in different places

Presenter

The presenter can use body language and presence.

Presenter lacks presence and restricted to a tiny thumbnail on the screen.

The presenter gets live feedback from their audience.

The presenter may find it challenging to streamline communication, especially from the audience’s side

Slides

The presenter can interact with their slides to direct audience attention.

The presenter can’t interact directly with their slides.

The audience can see the slides and presenter at the same time.

Simultaneous contact between the speaker and slides is challenging.

Audience

Social convention means audience members are unlikely to walk out.

The audience can be anonymous and unobserved, and they may be subject to more distractions.

A live audience shares its energy with laughter and applause.

Presenter can’t capture their emotion as most of them keep themselves muted.

All the above facts guide us to one simple fact: the presenter must work much harder to keep audiences engaged when presenting remotely. 

Even compelling content can be a distraction when the presenter and the slides are perceived as a different entity, especially during online sessions. So first, we need to work towards eliminating distractions.

Engaging and retaining attention

One of the drawbacks of presenting online is that many people think they’re good at multi-tasking. They check their emails, upcoming tasks, work chats, and even social media, thinking they can still pay attention and grasp the speaker’s points.

However, there are several things you can do to keep your audience engaged.

First, have an effective set-up so that you can present confidently without fear of interruption. Simultaneously, try to anticipate your audience’s distractions and fine-tune your talks to make it easy to grasp your ideas.

Secondly, ensure that your audience won’t get distracted by your surroundings. Your online meeting set-up needs a little more thought than simply locking the door to prevent distractions and throwing a smart jacket on, over your pyjamas.

Customize your working space to appear more professional and non-distracting.

Try to anticipate any noise interruptions. This might mean asking anyone you live with to try to be quiet during your presentation time or even turning off the noisy air conditioning unit before you start.

Important skills for online presentations

Online presenters need to avoid monotony. We used to think that for some presenters the best way to do that was to work hard to develop and refine an interesting script.

If you aren’t using live video, then you won’t be seen reading. However, few people can read straight from the best script in a convincing way. So, our advice is to:

  1. Speak from notes, not from the script
  2. Practise. Practice. Practice.
  3. Don’t read verbatim

To break up any monotony further, consider adding more variation to the way you structure your content and the format you use to present it. 

  1. Divide your material into five to eight minutes, so that attention levels don’t flag too much. A non-stop 30-minute presentation might make sense face-to-face, but it’s not going to work online.
  2. Plan questions to keep your audience engaged.

If you’re presenting to a small group, show a few minutes of content at a time. Create a visual conversation by guiding your viewers which part of the slide they should look at.

Webcam etiquette

With online meetings, it’s worth adding a note about webcam etiquette. Throughout this blog, we’re assuming you will use a webcam, so here are some tips.

  • Use video, but not when it would distract from your slides.

  • Use your webcam for introductions and conversations, and to answer questions, but consider turning your camera off when presenting slides.

  • During sales meetings, asking to chat over webcam might put pressure on your audience. So, as a courtesy, make it clear that you are planning a video meeting when setting up the call.

Remember, it’s your slides that do the actual talking

In offline sessions, your presentations complement your talk. Both of these together form a powerful partnership to convey your ideas better.

But it can be the opposite when it comes to online presentations. When presenting remotely, your slides matter the most as they become the face of your ideas, so they should be even more compelling, with more emphasis on design than in offline sessions.

Eliminate any dull text-heavy slides that stay on screen for minutes at a time with nothing moving or changing. Couple boring slides with a monotonous reading of your points, and you’ve got the perfect remedy for insomnia.

Your slides should always visually illustrate or reinforce your information—if you have dynamic slides portraying your ideas, you’re already halfway there.

Summary:

All that being said, the goals for online meetings are no different than in-person meetings: communicate clearly so you can make decisions to move your organization forward.

When your meeting is remote, you just need to make a few adjustments to achieve that goal. By preparing properly, participating fully and following up, your online meetings can be just as successful as sitting in a room together.

Above everything, if you have any comments, questions or meeting tips, it would be great to hear them in the comment section below!

Happy presenting… 

2 Replies to “Perfecting remote presentations right from your living room”

  1. Online meetings or meetings remotely which one claim more success? It will depend on how the presenter does his/her job. I think the most important is presenting the points in the most effective as possible good communication is the key here. By giving the points in the simplest as possible especially in the remote presentation is essential. To the audience, the side must be observant at all times give your ear 100%. Taken notes is a must so that any time they can remember whats the important thought need to learn.

    1. Well said Nazar!

      Sticking on to the fundamental factors such as communication and clarity is important for a speaker. But all many of us are gifted with it. “Practice makes it perfect” and there is no short cut or overnight magic that can happen to deliver a perfect presentation pitch, offline or online!

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