Present Your Virtual Best
Even if you’ve created the most engaging slide deck and content, there are unique challenges when presenting virtually compared with a live, in-person audience.
An in-person audience can be an easier read. You can see how your presentation is playing off those listeners, or you can feed off of their energy. However, that isn’t always the case if you are presenting through the computer.
“Your visual presence can “shrink," writes author and presentation coach Stephanie Scotts for SmartBrief. “It is easy to default to being a disembodied voiceover to a parade of slides.”
Scotts provides five tips on how to adapt to the virtual space:
1. GLANCE AND GRAB
Create a simple, clear message so that your audience only needs to glance at the slide to grab the key information.
To create the best slides for a virtual presentation, make sure the content is relevant to what you are presenting; they should be subordinate to you, the speaker; they should be visible – easy for your audience to read on a computer screen; and make your slides pictorial, that is, that they are more visual than textual.
“If you can make the same point with a picture,” Scotts writes, “use a picture.”
3. FACE TIME VS SLIDE TIME
“When credibility is critical, your face should be full screen, not a slide,” Scotts writes.
Consider switching away from slides when making a key point or a key sell, such as at the end of a presentation when introducing panel members, or during Q&A.
4. NOW YOU SEE ME
Use keyboard shortcuts to rapidly switch between slides and your camera. For example, clicking the letter “W” in PowerPoint displays a white screen, while pressing “B” displays a black screen. Pressing the letter again brings back up the presentation.
In Zoom, you can do something similar by clicking the “stop share” button, then clicking “share” again when you are ready to resume your presentation.
5. NEXT SLIDE, PLEASE!
If presenting in a group where one person is in charge of the slides, it can get awkward if you have to ask for the next slide. Scotts suggests a solution – to use a private chat window to send a prompt to the person controlling the slides, such as a forward slash “/”. This makes the presentation flow with fewer distractions.