11 Tips To Crush Your Next Online Presentation
At some point within the past 12 months, you’ve likely found yourself on some kind of virtual call. Whether it’s saying hi to grandma with the kids or hosting an online webinar for customers, you’ve turned the computer camera on and connected with someone online.
This is a new experience for most of us, but according to recent reports, it sounds like distributors throughout the industry are embracing the digital transition. While many facets of training and selling will always best occur in a face-to-face format, we’re starting to see how elements of the traditional sales process may actually be better online.
Embracing this format will help you save time and money, while also reaching more customers at once — a competitive advantage for those who do it well.
But doing it well requires a little planning and practice. For example, do you want to host everything in real-time or would it be helpful to have some pre-recorded elements? How is your lighting?
Whether you’re hosting a virtual sales meeting, a lunch-and-learn or a monthly webinar, here are some tips to help you crush your next virtual presentation:
Building your presentation:
1. Think about the format. Do you want your presentation to be entirely live, or would it be possible to record your presentation ahead of time? While several different options exist for pre-recording, our favorite is Prezi as it plays well with most common webinar platforms, like GotoWebinar and Zoom.
2. Design for the eye. To keep your attendees engaged, the more visual the presentation, the better. While what you say is important, what you show on the screen is equally important. A few design considerations:
• Think about your template. Rather than just using an ordinary white background, consider developing a branded template according to your brand colors. This can be as simple as a colored shape or dropping your logo into the corner.
• Use graphics! Pictures, graphs, cartoons and other visual elements will help keep your attendees interested and engaged.
• Limit text. You’ll be talking through most of the points, so limit text to key points and fill in the rest with color.
• Don’t go bullet crazy. Remember, the presentation should only emphasize key points. Bullets can be effective, but don’t fill every page with a bulleted list, as that can be a snooze for viewers. To emphasize certain words, try highlighting, bolding and italicizing them.
Setting the Scene:
3. Think about your background. Start your camera before the presentation to see what your audience will see. Eliminate visual clutter, which includes things like coffee cups, tissue boxes or magazine stacks. If that’s not possible, consider using a green screen which will give you better flexibility with your background.
4. Use good lighting. If you don’t have good natural light in the room, place a lamp behind or beside your computer (out of the view of the camera) to light your face. Because of their flexibility and mobility, ring lights are a favorite among many clients.
5. What you wear matters. Even though you’re presenting from home, you are still projecting an image. Similar considerations apply to online presentations as they do for television, wear solid block colors (ideally not black, red or white!). Think about how the color looks against the background; you want contrast so that you don’t blend in with your background.
6. Practice makes perfect. If you have a script, run through it a few times before the event so you’re not reading from it. Think about the cadence of your delivery; you don’t want to lose your audience by speaking too fast, but you also don’t want to put people to sleep by talking too slowly.
The Main Event:
7. Welcome your learners! If the event were happening in person, you’d welcome people as they walk through the door, so do the same for your virtual event. Depending on the number of people who will be joining, you can acknowledge them by name or if there are large numbers of people attending from the same facility, you can address them as a group.
8. Look into the camera. Not looking directly into the camera is one of the most common errors most presenters make. Set up your computer camera so it is right at eye level—just add a couple of books under it, you don’t need a fancy stand. Rather than looking at others on the screen, look right into the camera while talking to better connect with your audience.
9. Be energetic! We talked about cadence earlier, but you want to share your excitement and passion for the topic with the audience. Drop the formalities and stoicism; your audience will thank you.
10. Start strong. Grab your audience’s attention in the first few minutes or you risk losing them. Particularly with online presentations, your audience has many competing distractions. Incoming emails, other work and even their kids can cause their attention to wane. One way to do this is by leading with a bold statistic, or a personal story that tees up your topic.
11. Clarity wins. While this is tied to practice, it’s important to identify the key messages of your presentation and state them clearly. At the beginning, help them understand what you’re going to talk about, talk about it, and then repeat what you talked about in a summary. Clear takeaways and simple messaging will help them retain key information.
Andi Curry is founder of Dunham Communications, a communications agency for purpose-driven and sustainably-focused organizations. To receive more of these tips, sign up for their newsletter at http://bit.ly/dunhamdispatch or reach her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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