When Your Live Presentation Goes Virtual, Here are 3 Ways to Adjust Your Approach

When Your Live Presentation Goes Virtual, Here are 3 Ways to Adjust Your Approach

When your Live Presentation Goes Virtual, Here are 3 Ways to Adjust your Approach

Professional speaking engagements are prone to the same unpredictability as any other event in your life. A conference or seminar may encounter threatening weather or a venue become unavailable at the last minute. Making rapid changes to accommodate the unexpected could mean you face talking to a computer screen instead of a packed ballroom or breakout session. A big change like this may be disappointing or even throw you off your game but there are things you can do to reinvent your presentation for a virtual event. Here are three ways to adjust to a virtual audience and still delivery a persuasive presentation.

 Understand the logistics

Just because your topic has not changed doesn’t mean it is business as usual when it comes to the delivery. If you are scheduled as a virtual speaker, find out what platform the event will use and get familiar with it. Not all teleconferencing software operates the same way. Just because you use WebEx all the time, it doesn’t mean you will encounter the same experience with Zoom. Ask for a dry run with the technical team so you can get accustomed to how to navigate the options. Be sure to ask about the support the event will provide during your virtual talk. Will they provide a moderator to direct question from the participants? Will they run your presentation slide deck for you? Will they mute participants to avoid background noise? Provide a list well in advance of any technical questions you may have. You certainly don’t want to learn as you go during your presentation!

Adjust for your surroundings

Unlike standing on a stage where the lights are bright and you have plenty of space to move around, a virtual presentation confines you to the space in front of a computer screen. Make the most of it! Consider your background and lighting. If the teleconference platform you are using has the ability to project a background behind you, create a branded digital background as a way to stay top of mind throughout your presentation. Branding is always important so include it on your PowerPoint if you are using one. Take care to create and curate your surroundings if you think it may be seen by the participants. Need to use a riser for your computer to get the best angle? Do it! Need to spruce up your office background? Put a plant or flowers behind you. Keep it simple and interesting without looking cluttered or distracting. Be mindful of what you wear for your presentation. Dress to impress based on the event’s tempo (that includes wearing pants!) Same rules of professionalism would apply even if you are doing a remote presentation. Not eating on camera, look your best, and speak clearly.

Adapt the presentation

What works in front of a live audience may not work as well in front of a computer screen. Larger than life gestures and other visual cues simply don’t translate. Modify your movements and scale back your presentation deck.  The more face time you give to the audience, the more intimate the presentation will feel. Virtual presentations are a new and exciting opportunity for seasoned speakers. Make the most of it!

3 Ways to Leverage Your Audience and Build Excitement During a Virtual Presentation

3 Ways to Leverage Your Audience and Build Excitement During a Virtual Presentation

If you are a professional speaker (or hope to be one), you likely thrive by feeding off the excitement of the audience reaction and interaction. Connecting with guests from the podium or the stage is one of the best ways to engage the entire room. How do you keep that same spark from your computer? Here are three ways to build excitement and leverage your audience during a virtual presentation.

Engage the audience BEFORE your presentation

If your hosts will allow it, send out a survey and find out what topics the participants want to hear. A simple three to five questions exploration could pique interest and you can share the aggregate results during your presentation. The hosts could send it to the list on your behalf. If the hosts provide you the list, keep in mind privacy protocols for not sharing the names without express permission to do so. That includes for your own purposes. Ask the list to opt in for any emails you send on a regular basis.

Depending on the teleconferencing platform, you could also create a poll that the host can administer during your talk and those results can be shown during your talk. Allowing participants an opportunity to be a part of the discussion is a terrific way to keep the audience active and aware during the presentation.

Limit supporting materials

Slide decks are a highly visual way to get your message across. However, keep the focus on you and the discussion. If you are going to use visuals, make sure they are not too text heavy or busy. You might run the risk of the audience reading the slides or looking at the pretty pictures and missing the points you want to make.  

Leverage your audience as supporting materials! Encourage them to ask questions in the chat or message feature. Share a story and ask for them to do the same (this can be done as part of the survey and shared with the audience with the participant’s permission).

Offer to send out information

A virtual presentation may lose some of its luster with the lack of intimacy through a monitor or laptop. To stay top of mind once your audience turns off their computer, offer to share some of the information you presented. Prepare a one-page document or checklist that the audience can use later. Brand it with your logo and most importantly, your contact information and website. This is a value add that the audience will appreciate, and it lets them know you care about their goals and values.

A whole new world of opportunities are available in the virtual meeting space. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of it. Stand out and maximize your screen time and be as impactful from your computer as you are on the stage.

Want to learn more? Schedule a Discovery Session today!

Kristen White is a Content Catalyst and Powerful Interviewer. She can quickly add the crisp clarity, magic dust and unique brand elements to any message, book, product or campaign. 

Through her award-winning interview skills, Kristen will excavate and synthesize a personal story and legacy into a magnetic brand and content strategy. Her strong intuitive insight, journalistic training and versatile wordsmithing, offer clients a wellspring of fingerprint language options to apply to all levels of their written, spoken and video communication. Kristen is a bestselling author, award-winning documentary film director and cast member, television series creator/writer, and television on-camera journalist. As the CEO of White Media Agency, a digital media and marketing company, Kristen supports clients with unique personal brand development, speech writing and performance, book concepts, titles, outlines and marketing, and online business consulting.

Rock the Stage, INC, offers professional video production for authors, speakers and coaches with a variety of speaking topics.  The company also offers speechwriting, broadcast-quality lifestyle video interviews and fast-track book publishing via an on-camera interview.

10 Blunders You’re Making During Your Virtual Presentations

10 Blunders You’re Making During Your Virtual Presentations

Whether you use Zoom, WebEx, or the other teleconference platforms available, the same blunders come up over and over. You can avoid making the same missteps if you recognize these 10 blunders before your next presentation.

  1. Not pacing yourself

Practice your talk so you know how long it take. That means understand your pacing. Nothing is worse than running over your allotted time, impacting other speakers because of it, or worse having your presentation ended prematurely. It leaves your audience feeling unsatisfied and expectations unmet.

  1. Presentation is too long

Short but sweet is best. Participants are not as willing to sit in front of a computer for the same amount of time they will in a meeting room or auditorium. Leave them wanting more by condensing your talk especially if there are several speakers or it is a panel discussion.

  1. Not getting to the point

Much like talking for too long because you have so much to say, not getting to the point and delivering filler content can be just as frustrating. Craft a presentation that is clear and concise as to what you want the audience to take away from your talk.

  1. Not having an agenda

Participants want to know what they are getting and what is coming next. Some are even taking notes so help them to follow along more easily by providing a brief agenda of the important highlights you will cover.

  1. Background distractions

Create a quiet space to work from when delivering your presentation. Be mindful of the background that the audience will see. Keep controversial photos or objects out of the presentation environment.

  1. Your distractions

Stay focused during your presentation especially if you are on a panel. During the call you may still be in a visible frame even when you are not speaking so don’t look around or at your phone when you are not speaking.

  1. Not enough lighting

You lose participants mentally when the screen shows you as a shadowy figure. Make sure you have plenty of lighting. A mix of artificial light and natural light usually provides a softer but brightly lit appearance. Feel free to put additional lamps just out of viewing range to add more light.

  1. Not dressing appropriately

Dress based on your audience. If it is a corporate event, business casual is always a good idea. If it is a community presentation, casual but clean and unwrinkled clothing is a wise choice. Dress comfortably but not messy.

  1. Not staying in frame

Center yourself in the frame of the camera and make sure your background is evenly spaced behind you. Know the boundaries of your camera frame and how much space you have from left to right while remaining in the frame.

  1. Not understanding the technology beforehand

If possible, request a dry run to understand how the host uses the technology, how they will support you during the call, and get comfortable with the process.

 

3 Things You Should ‘Get’ Before Your Next Virtual Presentation

3 Things You Should ‘Get’ Before Your Next Virtual Presentation

Virtual presentations can be more challenging than a traditional presentation in front of a live audience. If you are thinking of embarking on more virtual speaking opportunities, take a few minutes to assess the steps you need to take before getting front of your computer audience. Here are three things that you should ‘get’ before your next virtual presentation. Get knowledgeable about your audience Out of sight is not out of mind when it comes to understanding who is listening to your presentation. It’s understandable to forget that there are folks on the other side of the computer who have needs and goals that they hope you can help them achieve. Work with your host to find out how many participants have signed up. Is the presentation open to a wide audience, to members or subscribers only? You can and should adjust the presentation based on that information. Using too much industry jargon when half the audience is outside of the industry will alienate a large portion of folks you want to connect with. Make your topic accessible to the entire audience but feel free to include targeted messaging appropriate to a segment that you may want to interface with for more opportunities. Get real Genuine and authentic personalities shine through even in front of a computer! Reinforce who you are and your expertise in your field. Don’t do a data dump of your amazing credentials but give a little of yourself and what matters to you. Share real stories about your journey. The presentations that audiences remember come from story tellers not sellers. Use humor to convey your point. Don’t be afraid to entertain while educating your audience. Get creative The virtual audience is different for the live audience. In the comfort of their own home, they are more restless and distracted by family, pets, or the internet. You’ll need to get creative and give your audience a reason to pay attention. Start by providing an interactive element to your presentation in the form of a poll or quiz. Depending on the platform used for the presentation, there are several easy ways to run virtual trivia or flash cards for quick bursts of interaction. You can even incorporate props into your discussion where relevant. Most importantly, deliver a concise presentation with structured visual elements like PowerPoint slides, Visio diagrams, or a short video. Don’t overextend your welcome with a lengthy presentation. Be conversational and focus on three to five main points and fully discuss them. And as a bonus tip – get more visibility by creating two presentations with the content you normally delivered in one live presentation. Audience attention spans are shorter for virtual presentations so save some of that content and develop another lecture with it. Give your host a reason to invite you back! The saying goes, “meet them where they are,” and virtual presentations are a wonderful way to do that. So, get out there and get more out of your next virtual opportunity! Want to learn more? Schedule a Discovery Session today!

Kristen White is a Content Catalyst and Powerful Interviewer. She can quickly add the crisp clarity, magic dust and unique brand elements to any message, book, product or campaign. 

Through her award-winning interview skills, Kristen will excavate and synthesize a personal story and legacy into a magnetic brand and content strategy. Her strong intuitive insight, journalistic training and versatile wordsmithing, offer clients a wellspring of fingerprint language options to apply to all levels of their written, spoken and video communication. Kristen is a bestselling author, award-winning documentary film director and cast member, television series creator/writer, and television on-camera journalist. As the CEO of White Media Agency, a digital media and marketing company, Kristen supports clients with unique personal brand development, speech writing and performance, book concepts, titles, outlines and marketing, and online business consulting.

Rock the Stage, INC, offers professional video production for authors, speakers and coaches with a variety of speaking topics.  The company also offers speechwriting, broadcast-quality lifestyle video interviews and fast-track book publishing via an on-camera interview.