The key to better online presentations

The key to better online presentations

While some businesses across Australia have transitioned back to at least some in-person operations, many prefer to remain socially distanced and conduct meetings via videoconferencing software. If you're like me, you've been using these platforms a lot over the past several months, and have no doubt learnt the basics of joining meetings.

It may still be years before there's a widely available COVID-19 vaccine, and lockdowns could persist until that time. I've sat in on plenty of these meetings and found there's a huge difference between a good Zoom meeting and a great one.

So given that we're going to be doing this kind of meeting for the foreseeable future, now is definitely the time to improve your communication skills on Zoom and other videoconferencing platforms. That way, no matter what kind of presentation you're making, you'll always wow your intended audience — whether you're just starting your first job after university or you're a long-tenured CEO.

I've found that there are plenty of tips to help you put your best foot forward with any virtual presentation:

What keeps an audience engaged with your virtual presentation?What keeps an audience engaged with your virtual presentation?

1) Do as much in advance as you can

Just like anything else in business, a lot of your success depends on solid preparation. Zoom recommends using its platform in conjunction with other software so that when you share your screen, you'll be able to convey all the information needed in a way that's clear for any viewer. Having a slideshow deck set up and writing an outline for your presentation will allow you to stay on track while also giving you room to improvise where it's needed.

2) Use more of the platform's features

When I'm giving a presentation, I want to engage my audience in a number of different ways so I know it's engaging and lively throughout. How do I do that? With Zoom's many features beyond screen sharing. Users can conduct real-time polls, solicit questions, allow live chatting and even break participants out into smaller groups where they can discuss prompts you provide. I've found that all of these are great ways to ensure your intended audience is engaged throughout your virtual presentation.

3) Keep it simple and straightforward

With the above having been said, you should remember that because Zoom is so versatile and fully functional, it can be easy to use as many features as possible. However, that's not a good idea, the blog for the presentation tool VisMe warns. Instead, you should only use the features that make sense given the content of your presentation, and ensure your screen isn't too cluttered with information or visuals. That way, audience members like me can focus on what you're trying to communicate without trying to decipher a lot of points of information at once.

4) Invest in the right technology

The thing I've found in running Zoom calls is that whether you're presenting to a small group or a huge online audience, you want to get your point across as clearly as possible. That means both finding a space with good natural lighting or installing a small lamp that lights up your face, making sure your camera is high-quality, and buying a microphone so nothing you say or show gets lost in translation. Similarly, it's always a good idea to test your internet connection before your presentation begins.

To learn more about ways to boost your virtual presentation skills, consider enrolling in an ICML course on the subject. They can show you the ropes and give you the confidence to get your ideas across as effectively as possible, whether you're presenting to your co-workers or a potential client. In fact, this kind of course might be ideal for entire teams to take on as a professional development project.


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