How to Up Your Virtual Presentation Game

Our world has gotten smaller in recent years with the evolution of virtual communication. The pandemic forced many businesses to “innovate or die” and many employees found themselves working remotely for the very first time. Now that they are used to this flexible, remote environment they are not eager to return to the office. Many companies are ready for employees to return back to in-person work, but they are getting major pushback from their personnel. 87% of American workers prefer a flexible work environment. Benefits include:

  1. Productivity — Remote employees are nearly 40% more productive than their in-office counterparts. 
  2. Performance — Not only are they producing more output, remote workers are also producing higher quality work. 
  3. Engagement — Higher productivity and performance combine to create stronger engagement, which translates to a 41% reduction in absenteeism. 
  4. Retention — Employees are trading higher paying in-person jobs for more flexibility. Remote workers have a 12% reduction in turnover. 
  5. Profitability — Organizations save an average of $11,000 per year per remote employee, adding 21% higher profitability to their bottomline.

Although we have seen some amazing benefits of remote work, it has created a new demand for virtual presentation skills that – let’s be honest – most of us were not equipped for. I have been teaching online since 2015, and have developed my own best practices, mostly through trial and error.

Here are my pro tips for becoming a more effective virtual presenter:

  1. Control the controllables. There are certain things out of your control like unreliable wifi, the trash truck, and the guy that forgets to mute his mic. What you can control: your physical space. Prepare for your meeting by removing clutter and distractions.
  2. Respect your audience’s time. This is a pro tip for in-person presentations, but applies to virtual meetings as well. Start on time and end on time. Test your microphone and camera ahead of time and have your slides loaded and ready to go. You will lose your audience if you are not prepared.
  3. Keep it professional. Although pants may still be optional, make sure you are demonstrating a professional look from the waist up. Be mindful of your background and posture.
  4. Mind your lighting and camera angle. You may need to upgrade your lighting setup with an adjustable ring light and elevate your camera angle to ensure no one is looking up your nose! Elevating your camera might provide a more flattering angle and give you a few less chins. Also, be mindful of your proximity to the camera so you aren’t too close or too far away. 
  5. Optimize your presentation slides. Here’s another tip that’s true for all presentations: less is more when it comes to how many words are on your slides. Most people are visual learners and are more engaged with imagery and just a few words per slide. Use the visuals to capture their focus, but use your words as the main driver of the message, otherwise, this meeting could have been an email! 
  6. Practice, practice, practice! Early on in my career when I was learning to present online, I would ask family and friends to login to my Zoom classroom to help me practice my presentation. I still do this from time to time and also record my practice presentations so I can watch them back and make adjustments as needed. 

About    —————————————————

I’m Dr. Tess Breen


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