How to Prep and Give Presentations Remotely
We are all well acquainted with working remotely in today’s COVID-19 world, and with modern technology, there are new conveniences to the way we now have to do business. For instance, Zoom quickly entered the market as most professionals’ sole resource for communication among coworkers, and would now be considered a norm for many workday meetings and presentations. While many states may be opening back up, some businesses are opting to keep employees working remotely for an extra period of time. With the newfound conveniences of working from home, it seems digital experiences may continue for many employees.
With these circumstances comes a new learning curve that all professionals must learn: how to effectively give a presentation via Zoom. The idea of utilizing Zoom to effectively present – to coworkers, employees, boss, or clients – may seem daunting. In order to help improve engagement through Zoom, we’ve written out a list of tips to help you succeed the next time you have to present.
A good presentation design will help keep your audience entertained and listening. If your presentation looks boring, then it’s more likely for your audience to become detached from the conversation.
Keep it simple
Use a plain background for your slides, like a solid colored background, and focus each slide on only one point or idea. Minimize your use of bullet points or text on your slides to maintain your team’s attention. Use a large and bold font that doesn’t require participants to strain their eyes as ask you to ‘zoom’ in.
Visuals make information much easier to digest and retain than plain text. Using images, charts, infographics, maps, illustrations, videos, and even GIFs to bring some life to your presentation will keep the team engaged and inspired.
There are several ways you can set your screen up, when presenting virtually, for your audience to view. Just like you wouldn’t want a cluttered PowerPoint, you also don’t want a cluttered screen display showing to your audience. You can hide your bookmarks (in Google Chrome) with the shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+B, or by right-clicking on the bookmarks bar and unchecking “Show bookmarks bar”. Along with keeping your privacy, hiding some of the browser features can make your presentation screen larger if you are presenting from a browser window. You should only have tabs open that are relevant to the presentation at hand.
Tip: When using Zoom, click ‘share screen’; click ‘advanced’; click ‘portion of screen’, and this allows you to only share the part of your screen that you wish to.
Solid Background, proper lighting
An appropriate background is key to keeping your audience’s attention on the information you’re presenting and not your surroundings. Try to use a background that enhances your professional image and keeps people from guessing about your personal life based on your surroundings. Avoid a cluttered background or anything that can be distracting. Learn whether your presentation platform enables you to use virtual backgrounds (like Zoom) or whether you can blur your background (like Microsoft Teams). Also, be sure that your lighting isn’t shining straight into the camera or throwing any dark shadows.
Tip: A window or a lamp facing you gives the best effect.
Check equipment ahead of time
Make sure you check all your technical equipment to assure everything is working properly. This will help minimize issues and awkward moments during the presentation. Perform a soundcheck to ensure there is no garbled audio. You’ll also want to test internet connection in the exact location you’ll be presenting since wifi can sometimes have a stronger connection in different areas.
Keep eye contact, you are playing to the camera
When presenting through a computer camera, always keep your focus on the camera – it will appear as if you are looking directly at the viewer(s). You also want to play around with your display screen until your camera angle is flattering. Try not to have your camera too far above or below you. Maintaining eye contact with an audience is a powerful aspect of any presentation, even more so if presenting virtually.
Tip: Have any notes that will be used during the presentation easily readable next to you. You don’t want to create long pauses or indirect eye contact because you’re busy looking through your notes.
Have a wingman, or assistant check the chat
Having someone to take notes or pull needed ones helps to keep you focused on the presentation. If you are presenting over Zoom and enable the chat, it can become very distracting having to monitor that while presenting.
Taking all presentations and meetings online can seem daunting at first, but as long as you remember to give the audience your best effort, success will follow.