- Keep it tightly focused: If ever there was a place for succinct focus and clear messaging, this is it. As a virtual presenter, you’re fighting a format that invites distractions. Don’t give your audience any additional reason to tune out, such as taking your time getting to your points. Organize your presentation with the key findings or takeaways up front. That way, you won’t keep your audience guessing as to what’s in it for them.
- Don’t make your audience work: No one wants to read along with your presentation. That’s true whether you’re delivering a presentation in person or virtually, but it’s especially irritating to a remote audience. Clean out the text and show your audience your key points with visuals where possible. It’ll help your audience keep pace with you and avoid losing interest.
- Pay attention to voice AND appearance: Your voice inflection, pacing and tone is crucial in connecting with your virtual audience, particularly when your audience can’t see you at all. Don’t get so tied to your script that your delivery suffers and becomes flat or rote. If YOU sound bored, your audience has little hope of staying with you. At the same time, make sure you see what your audience sees. Clear the clutter behind you, pay attention to lighting, and keep your computer’s camera at eye level to avoid the “head down” look..
- Pay attention to content: Virtual presentations are not the place for extreme detail and deep dives into subject matter. It’s best at higher over-views, goal-setting, and broader themes. Give your content a once-over to see what you can elevate, what you can remove or deliver in a different format, and how you can retain your audience’s attention.
- Be realistic: Keep it short, where possible. It’s easy for your audience to tune out, to misunderstand or to simply stay silent in virtual formats. Don’t test their attention spans by diving too deep or speaking too long. Set clear goals, deliver in concise terms, and offer follow-ups and alternatives to keeping communication open.
You don’t have to accept lowered expectations for your virtual communications. You simply need to understand the strengths (and weaknesses) of the virtual format you’ve chosen. Make sure all of your presentations make the best use of that format by understanding how your audience best receives that information when you’re not standing in front of them. By compensating for “seeing” your audience, you CAN make sure they stay engaged and interested, even while you’re “remote”.
The Pincus Group provides virtual AND in-person help to executives in presentations, speeches, messaging and media interviews. From a base near Washington DC, Aileen Pincus and her group of trainers provides expert coaching for all types of public and private sectors, particularly in this challenging time of “distanced” communication. Free estimates at http://www.thepincusgroup.com
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