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Presentations have always been a crucial part of business activity at all scales and in all industries. Whether it’s a startup using its pitch deck to convince investors to invest or multinationals presenting M&A proposals, the ability to make a clear and compelling presentation is essential for every career or business person. business. In 2020 and now into this new year, the ability to present well-designed presentations has become even more important as more and more business has moved online.
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This change made it more practical on the one hand, but also more distressing for many. For example, during a presentation in a physical meeting, it’s easier to break the ice with a joke and get feedback as you go along, as opposed to an online meeting where everything the world is muted. Yet online presentations can be exceptional if done right, and here are some tips to help you achieve that perfection.
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1. Fully understand the platform
Unlike physical presentations where the components are standard (the stage or presentation area, screen and pointer, etc.), there are many video conferencing platforms, and their controls can differ considerably. Struggling to find a function halfway through the meeting can ruin your confidence and distract from your overall message. To avoid this, confirm the platform you will be using and spend some time going through the settings to familiarize yourself with how things work before the meeting. If possible, also test your entire presentation with audience members. The more comfortable you are with the platform; sweeter things will be.
2. Master your presentation
Have you heard of “Death by PowerPoint?” This is when a person uses the slides terribly, for example having confusing information or, more commonly, simply reading the slides in a monotonous robotic voice that puts the audience to sleep. It is much easier to annoy your audience when you are presenting online, for the obvious reason that it is easier for them to get distracted than if they were in a live audience watching you on stage.
One way to combat this pitfall is to make your presentation more engaging, making sure it contains the elements of a good networking presentation and using techniques such as vocal variety, storytelling, and humor. The only way to do this is to know your material to such an extent that you can speak in a conversational and spontaneous manner without losing the essence of your message.
Related: 3 Tips to Get People to Actually Listen to Your Presentations
3. Use high definition devices
It will depend on the type of presentation you are giving and its importance. For informal presentations to your co-workers, you can stick to your computer’s webcam and microphone, although your voice may sound muffled at times and the video may not be very clear. However, when offering your business to invest or get a large contract, consider investing in purchasing an external webcam and microphone that will make your video and voice go out loud. There are even apps that let you clean up your audio, so this is an option if you’re on a tight budget. Either way, the clearer you are, the easier it will be to get your point across and keep your audience engaged from start to finish.
4. Use the chat function
Unlike an in-person presentation, online presentations limit your ability to engage directly with the audience, but you can still do so using the chat feature on whatever platform you are using. You can ask the audience to submit questions, or you can ask questions and have them answer. Even something as simple as asking them to type “Yes” or “No” in response to something you have asked will increase the level of engagement and keep them more focused on what you are saying. You can then select questions and comments and respond to them by naming the people who sent them. This will have the effect of making your presentation more personal, thus encouraging more participation in order to get a shout out.
The virtual meeting revolution has made meetings easier, more convenient and much more secure, but it also threatens to degrade the personal element of meetings and presentations. The tips provided above will allow you to make masterful presentations that will grab your audience’s attention from start to finish.