One of the most nerve-wracking things that you can do in a business environment is to give a presentation. As we move into a more virtual world, it might seem easier on paper to deliver a presentation since you’re on a screen instead of standing in front of a large group of people, it can actually be even more difficult.
Since you can’t see the people that you’re speaking to in most cases, there may be some that are completely tuned out with their cameras off and their microphones on mute. If you have to give a presentation at work using Zoom or one of the many other networking sites or apps, we have some pointers to help you get through it. Here are five ways to improve your virtual presenting skills.
Keep Your Background Area Free of Clutter
As it has been demonstrated by countless humorous news stories about Zoom faux pas, it’s important to keep your background area free of clutter, embarrassing items, and unwanted people. Clean up the room you’re presenting from, or try presenting in a room with little to no visibility of personal items. It also helps to inform members of your household when and where you plan to do your presentation, so there’s no chance of accidental walk-ins, or worse.
Practice makes perfect. After you’ve created and fine-tuned your presentation, practice speaking without your slides, practice speaking while presenting your slides and ask loved ones to act as your audience so you can practice in front of others.
That way you become far more comfortable with the material, you’ll memorize it, and your practice audience can give you feedback on your work, or provide mock situations for your to work through that may arise during your actual presentation. It’ll improve your confidence tenfold and keep you from stumbling when it’s your turn to present your piece.
Don’t Overcomplicate Your Slides and Spoken Parts
Creating a presentation itself is not the easiest task, but you can make it easier for yourself and others if you keep it simple, only include vital information, and maintain an easily digestible piece of work. It may take some time to fine-tune and get to a point of satisfaction when creating your presentation.
Try breaking it up into smaller bits of work before working on it as a whole. Once it’s put together, see what might need editing and simplification. Go over it with a friend, or family member to get a second opinion.
Practice Proper Posture and Speaking
There’s no doubt that presenting a piece over Zoom is a more daunting task than it already was in a physical social setting. Presentations require charm, engaging your audience, and the use of mannerisms that aren’t exactly the easiest to portray over a webcam. Although it’s not as easy, it’s still doable.
If you’re presenting on camera, do what you can in the space you’re given to be seen. Practice good posture so your audience can see you’re attentive and professional. Your body language may be hard to read, but you still have use of your upper body. So use that to your advantage and work on that body language. No matter if you’re presenting on camera, or not, an engaging and friendly tone of voice can make all the difference. Combine all of those tips together to make for a more positive reception
Make Sure Your Audience is Engaged
You can do everything right and it might still not be enough to pull in your audience. You can improve this by taking breaks throughout your presentation to see if anyone has questions, or if you need to explain a point more in-depth. Crack funny jokes every now and then to keep the mood light. Overall, maintain good energy that simmers til the end and doesn’t boil over, or lose its flame.