Answers to Your Questions on Online Presentations (from @CarmenTaran)


Recently, we hosted a Thought Leaders LIVE Webcast (in INXPOLIVE) presented by Carmen Taran (@CarmenTaran) of Rexi Media (@RexiMedia). Carmen brought down the house with a webcast titled “Innovative Techniques for Presenting to Multitaskers.” We couldn’t get to all of the questions submitted, but Carmen graciously agreed to answer them here on our blog.

Q&A on Online Presentations

Q: We are clearly focused on virtual presentations, but it would be great to connect the dots on physical/hybrid presentations. Many of the principles apply to both – right?

A: Yes, many principles apply to face-to-face presentations as well as virtual. For instance, a clear message substantiated by a few points, good transitions, an attractive beginning and ending, and a solid call to action are overlapping dimensions between the two delivery types.

There are some things that face-to-face presentations have that are missing in virtual, the most obvious being physical proximity, which offers the advantage of reading body language and facial expressions for both presenters and audience members.

And there are some features that virtual presentations have, which are missing in face-to-face events, such as the ability to reach a larger audience a lot faster and cheaper, provide more varied media, skip slides more elegantly (I did it today), and on a lighter note, present in your pajamas (I did not do it today) 🙂

“Treat hybrid events as if you were a parent with two kids: you organize activities that involve both, and reserve time for each of them individually to make them feel special.”

Regarding hybrid events, the best approach is to present some materials the same way for everyone, and then have some special activities that are directed only to the face-to-face crowd and some that are directed only to the virtual crowd. Treat hybrid events as if you were a parent with two kids: you organize activities that involve both, and reserve time for each of them individually to make them feel special.

Q: Is there a way to make a visually captivating presentation that also provides notes that the attendees can take away or access later? Copies of the slides don’t mean anything without the narration.

A: One of the recommended approaches is to provide a recording of the live presentation: this way, participants can view the slides and hear the narration. Audiences also appreciate at the end a handout with a summary of the principles presented, and additional information about the content if it is available.

The main question for any presenter to ask prior to a virtual session is: am I better than a handout or a recording? What would make this live session worth attending live versus someone listening to recording or getting the information from a handout? If you have the courage to ask this question, you will be surprised by elements you will want to include in your presentation to differentiate your live session from a two-dimensional, static, and non-interactive file such as a handout.

Q: Any stats on how more focused audiences are with poll questions being presented? What % of people partiipating in polls is the benchmark – versus total attendees on a web conference?

A: Polls are a good indication of how many people are focused on the virtual platform at the time the question is presented (they could be an indication if they were paying attention before the poll, if you’re using it to quiz listeners on something said earlier!).

A good statistic to follow is one borrowed from administering surveys in any domain: a minimum of 20% is a good rate. Some may argue that 50% is optimal; however, there are several studies that show no difference between the quality of responses when comparing 20% response rates with 50% response rates.

Of course, given that we’re speaking percentages, this assumes you host sessions with over 100 people. In a session with only 10 people, 2 out of 10 people would be a rather low response. Luckily, in a small session, you can interact with people directly and polling questions do not have such a big weight.

One very simple technique to increase the response rate to a polling question in a large session is to share the results at the time people are still “voting”. This principle is called social proof. Once participants see that many people are selecting options, they will be more inclined to provide their input as well.

Want to Webcast?

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Post contributed by Dennis Shiao