Remote working is the new reality of this pandemic-ridden world, and modes of communication have to be revamped to engage your team or stakeholders properly. You might hope that the same rules of in-person presentations may apply to the virtual mode as well, but that’s unfortunately just not the case.
Think about the fundamentals of business communication in the context of a presentation. Using appropriate gestures, eye contact, and a confident personality used to be a big part of a successful presentation. But, these markers are conspicuously missing when giving a presentation remotely. More often than not, the presentation will be through screen share across platforms like Zoom, Skype, or Teams, with your presence only as a voiceover or a tiny square on a screen in the corner.
What this means is that your virtual presentation skills are the only thing standing between success and you- be it client success or team success, etc. So, understanding online presentation is the new key to success.
So, here are SlideUpLift’s top online presentation tips and tricks for successful presentations and effective communication from the comfort of your homes! We will start with the low-hanging fruits first.
Low Hanging Fruits for a High impact
- Dress for the Occasion
Yes, we know it can be very tempting to just sit in your comfy pajamas, knowing that “formal attire” has also been on vacation throughout this lockdown. But consider this, if you’re giving a formal PowerPoint presentation online, spending some time getting ready and making yourself presentable can do wonders for your confidence, as well as indicate to your audience that you’re someone they need to take seriously. It puts you in the right headspace to give the best presentation you can, even if it’s done virtually where the emphasis is not on you as an individual. Trust us, dressing up for the occasion will make a huge difference in the way you subconsciously approach PowerPoint online presentation.
- Take Note of Your Background
It is impossible to take someone seriously who has a messy bedroom as their backdrop or perhaps have random family members popping in and out of the view of the camera. Of course, living at home, these things are inevitable. But accounting for them and using measures available to minimize background distractions is just good etiquette. Use Zoom or Teams’ feature to change or blur your backdrop. This way, you don’t have to worry about the audience getting distracted by your backdrop and their entire focus is on what you’re saying.
- Control Noise Levels
Noises are probably the worst part of virtual meetings and online presentations. If you’re living at home and sharing your space with multiple people, random noises are just a part of your life. So mute your microphone when you’re not speaking to avoid disturbing other people in the meeting or the one giving the online presentation. And if you are the one presenting, make sure you find a corner of your house that’s relatively soundproof, and latch the doors to avoid accidental disruptions. Inform everyone in your house to not disturb you for the amount of time it will take for the meeting and presentation to get over.
Speaking of noise, one of the best advice we can give you is to actually speak in a lower register than your usual voice. This has two benefits. One – chances are that everyone in the meeting is using headphones. Speaking loudly or shrilly will amplify that sound and make for an unpleasant experience for the listener. Two – A lower register can sometimes automatically slow the speaking speed marginally, especially if you’re actively trying to modulate your voice. And, speaking slowly and clearly is key to a successful online presentation as voice breakups and clarity are some of the biggest issues of remote presentations.
- Invest in Equipment
Not exactly etiquette, but if you’re constantly breaking up due to bad internet, have an unclear microphone, or bad camera quality, it detracts from your presentation as the audience will fixate on those issues rather than what you’re communicating. If possible, consider upgrading your internet connection or get better equipment that can handle the requirements of remote working better, such as higher quality headphones or mics, or a device with a decent camera.
With these low-hanging fruits plucked, now let’s talk of the finer points of the remote presentation itself.
It is important to change your approach according to the context of a remote presentation, and the outcome you are trying to achieve
Here are some tips to keep in mind when designing your remote presentation slides
- Pace and Structuring
When creating slides for a virtual presentation, it is important to keep the audience engaged. But you can’t do that solely through your personality and stage presence as in the case of in-person meetings. Instead, pick up the pace of your presentations. Rather than including a lot of information in a single slide, break it up and make a longer presentation that presents one slide for a shorter amount of time. This means that there will be frequent on-screen changes for the audience to engage with, and avoid monotony.
Source: Business Pitch Deck by SlideUpLift
In the above presentation, there are more slides, and the information on each slide is concise and clear. It helps the audience to absorb information on each slide and also gives the opportunity to the presenter to retain the audience’s attention.
- Audience Attention
This brings us to the elusive audience’s attention. Let’s recognize first that it is far more difficult to keep an audience’s attention during a remote presentation than during an in-person one. Ensure that you’re using optimum vocal and visual cues to keep the audience engaged with the content on screen. Voice intonations count. Additionally, use a lot more graphic elements that are easier to grasp. This trifecta of audience-attention grabbing techniques can ensure that even though a remote presentation that is rife with external distractions, you are keeping your audience interested in what you have to say.
Source: 30 60 90 Day Plan For Executives by SlideUpLift
The above PowerPoint template is visually engaging and instantly captures users’ attention. It is visually designed in a manner to make the topic of the slide easily understandable to the audience. Such visually engaging PowerPoint slides are recommended for virtual presentations.
- Q/As, Discussions, and Comments
No one likes monotony. Without engagement, a remote presentation is simply akin to a dry, informative video that the audience may or may not pay attention to. To make the experience an interactive one, keep pausing for questions and comments. Hold a Q/A session, or pause for comments, after the end of each segment/sub-heading. Asking individual people for their opinions or comments is also a good way to drive a discussion and make your remote presentation lively. Incorporate these pauses for comments and prompts for discussions in your presentation slides to make sure that you are on track.
Source: Questions Template by SlideUpLift
Using the above template, you can pause the presentation to understand your audience’s interest and engagement. It gives the opportunity to them to ask questions tr for you to gauge whether the audience is able to follow you or not.
- Keep It Simple
This means no unnecessary flairs or animations that distract from your content. In a formal setting, you should avoid using transitions or animations for slide elements as it can seem gimmicky. Besides, what may seem like smooth transitions on your system may not actually translate through someone else’s screen and they’re left staring at a lagging screen during the presentation.
- Color Contrast and Sizing
Stick with high contrast colors and plenty of white space to ensure that your presentation slides are not warping or unclear across the various devices used by people in a remote meeting room. Your audience’s screen brightness, contrast, and colors may vary, and you might want to avoid anything that potentially can wash out or change completely with different screen settings.
Source: Business Roadmap PowerPoint Template by SlideUpLift
PowerPoint Font sizing also plays a huge role in emphasizing, highlighting, and keeping the audience’s engagement. Use larger fonts, plenty of white space, and avoid sticking important information on the sides.
Adapting to online presentation needs can be difficult for anyone. However, a good remote presentation can make you stand out in a din of online meetings and messaging. Creating such content and also ensure presentability can consume a fair bit of time and energy.
This is where using presentation templates provided by SlideUpLift comes in. Having expertly built slides, using elements of vision science and storytelling to create compelling presentations makes for an effective presentation overall, ensuring you can capture your virtual audience’s attention. SlideUpLift understands the intricacies of keeping a remote audience engaged, and caters to the demands of virtual presenters that are struggling with changing their approach to fit this new means of communication.
You can find a suitable online presentation template through SlideUpLift’s extensive library of presentation templates for every remote business professional’s needs!