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Virtual Presenting Skills

Virtual Presenting Skills

Virtual Presenting Skills

Since the pandemic, many presentations have changed to being online, which has resulted in a need for us to adjust our presentation style to take account of the new environment.

In virtual presentations, it is more difficult for the presenter to keep the attention of the delegates for long periods, so delegates are in greater need of mental stimulation.

  • The delegates are sometimes distracted by things going on in their environment.
  • Some delegates switch off their cameras and become inattentive.
  • There is less scope for group activities.
  • The presenter is not in the room, so there is less personal magnetism.

How to gain and keep delegates' attention.

Online presenters must immediately grab and hold the attention of their virtual audience:

1. Clarify the timings and purpose of the presentation. Tell the delegates the purpose and the timings of the presentation and stick to them. These steps give the road map for the presentation and it settles the audience.

2. Explain why the content is relevant and important to the delegates. Online presenters must motivate their audiences by giving them a reason to care.

3. Online presenters must build an interactive relationship early. The online presenter must keep the audience interested, by getting them to interact. This can be in the form of answering a question, completing a brief questionnaire, or giving an opinion.

Structure your material.

If online presentations are to keep the interest of the audiences, they must follow a logical narrative. The logic of the presentation depends on its content, but I often pick from one of the following formats:

  • The Problem - 3 major causes - 6 possible solutions.
  • Chronology: What happened first, second, third, etc.
  • Yes or no decision: Reasons for and against taking a certain action.
  • Which one? What kind? decision
  • What is our: Purpose, plan, action, feedback, change?

How to use your communication style to get the best responses.

Online presenters need to work hard to keep their content alive, so they must consciously perfect their communication style which should be always, clear, rational and positive.

  • Clear: The presenter must have clear ideas, clearly expressed. Their language should be accurate and concise.
  • Rational: Every topic is based upon a rational-logical evaluation of all the available evidence. No guessing, wishful thinking or arbitrary claims.
  • Positive: Upbeat and with a sense of enthusiasm, confidence and forward thinking.

How to best use group activities.

Online presenters should use activities in two ways:

1. Presenter also active in the activity

This means the presentation becomes "a conversation" between the delegates and the presenter. This is a nice way to build rapport with the audience and it makes the presenter part of the group. You should build this format into the presentation if you can.

2. Presenter excluded from the activity

This is where delegates go into "rooms". This gives the audience a rest from having to listen to the presenter, which may be beneficial. It gives the delegates a chance to discuss the topic amongst themselves.

Put delegates into small groups of two and threes. If you put them into larger groups they tend to deviate from the task at hand.

When presenters start "rooms meetings", the delegates must be given the clear purpose and the time duration. The presenter must ensure the allowed time for the session is adhered to.

A feedback session often follows, when the teams are given the chance to summarise their particular break-out meeting. It is important not to allow this feedback session to drag on too long, as the presentation can lose its forward momentum and become boring.

Ensure they remember everything you need them to.

All presentations should result in some form of learning. To maximise the value of your presentation, finish with an explicit summary and list of actions. If you fail to reaffirm the learning and the actions in explicit terms, then the value of your presentation will be negated. Online presenters should ensure that the "learnings" and "actions" are made clear and distinct to the audience. They do that by either:

  • Summarising the learnings and actions for the delegates, or
  • Asking the delegates to name and number the learnings and actions that they have gained as a result of attending the presentation.

Free Webinar: Virtual Presenting Skills

Join us for our Free Webinar to learn more about effective Virtual Presenting Skills. The one hour presentation will take place on Friday 1 April 2022, commencing at 09:30 BST. Register your interest today We look forward to seeing you.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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