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Top 5 Tips for Presenting to Your Virtual Audience

top-5-tips-for-presenting-to-your-virtual-audienceIntroduction

Webcasts are everywhere. They are in corporate meetings, virtual events and 365 communities. They’re also a critical component of hybrid events, as a window to the live sessions for remote audiences.

This post provides tips for presenting to your virtual audience. The best presenters are “put through their PACES”:

  1. Plan
  2. Audience
  3. Content
  4. Engagement
  5. Socialization

Presenting to a virtual audience is tough and requires incredible attention to detail. Once you lose virtual attendees, it is difficult to regain their attention. When you are preparing for your next virtual presentation, remember the PACES. This model will help you break through the glass ceiling and become a sensational virtual presenter.

1) Plan.

The key to any good presentation starts with a plan. Knowing where, when, and how the presentation will be delivered is the most important element. Every other element falls into place after these key details are confirmed.

Knowing “where” allows for an understanding of the limitations or abilities for webcast development; knowing “when” sets the development plan for the presentation in motion; and knowing “how” will determine your engagement model with the defined audience.

Do not forget that practice makes perfect so record yourself and play it back as a critique. Remember, it is not necessary for you to deliver the presentation flawlessly – just be natural.

2) Audience

“We must stop treating virtual audiences as if they had unlimited attention. In a virtual event, attention is earned, not given.”  –Carmen Taran, Rexi Media

The audience does not just give you their attention. According to Carmen Taran at Rexi Media, “We must stop treating virtual audiences as if they had unlimited attention. In a virtual event, attention is earned, not given.”

Carmen is absolutely correct because the web is overcrowded, overloaded, and full of exciting places for attendees to venture off. Make sure your experience is memorable.

3) Content.

Content is king. Are you presenting with slides, videos, screen sharing, images, links, and live video or other media types? It is important to know because you base engagement from your content.

Be careful in your content design. Use large words, do not overload text, use fun imagery, and simplify data points. Nearly everyone in the corporate world has experienced what I call “Slide Hypnosis.” That is when your co-worker or boss uses a slide for every word, data point, and explanation. Make sure your slides make an impact and do not distract from you. You are the content provider. Your documents, links, handouts, and materials rely on you – not the other way around.

4) Engagement.

Engagement captivates your audience. Make them feel like they are sitting next to you wherever you are delivering the presentation. Use chats, gaming, polling, surveys, and live Q&A to engage the audience. Make sure your content is broken into small digestible segments and integrate activities every three to five minutes to increase the likelihood that your information will be remembered. Require your audience to participate at the very beginning of your presentation. The more direction you provide the better engaged your audience will be.

5) Socialization.

Webcasts are not meant to be one-way television broadcasts. This is Interactive T.V. Presenters have the unique opportunity to reach out to these attendees because of the engagement process. It is extremely important that the presenter reach out to the audience, look directly into the camera and respond to the audience member’s comments. If using open chat, be sure to address everyone. Sometimes a simple, “Hello, John” makes the audience feel like they are part of the presentation. Once they are social, winning their repeat attendance will be easier and less stressful.

Good luck creating your next virtual presentation. Remember the PACES and your audience will be sure to follow in your footsteps.

 

Post contributed by Matt Goodwin

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