Experts weigh in: best tips for virtual presentations

In this post, we’ve collected advice from professional speakers on their best tips for virtual presentations.

This advice originates from a discussion in our LinkedIn professional speaker’s group, “Need a Speaker / Be a Speaker.” See the full discussion by joining here.

Experts’ advice

I like to share screen graphics, PowerPoint presentations, including polls and an active Q&A is helpful. Plus, I tell personal stories to make a point. I always brand materials and make sure participants have a link to print a webinar handbook prior to class. At the end of class I have a link to complete an evaluation with an incentive to do so, like a drawing for an Amazon gift card. Finally, I have an Intranet Resource page with access for attendees exclusively to reference after class with supporting materials and resources.
- Katreena Hayes-Wood

Virtual communication includes one versus two way communication. If you are presenting something like a webinar you may be delivering information with very little to no interaction with the participants. It is important that you find a way to connect with your participants, even if you are there to deliver information with little connection with them, which leads me to my second point…create opportunities to connect with your audience. Ask good questions. Questions that allow the participants to share or ask their questions. Give timeframes for comments and questions so no one monopolizes the air time! Have fun is my last tip!
- Darlene Marshall

Mention the length of your speech makes a difference. If it is over 10 minutes ensure you incorporate audience movement or participation for each 10 min interval. This is to keep the audience attentive. Ask questions that encourage response, ask audience members to stand or raise their hands.
- Joanne Smith

One more is to practice with a video cam running. View your performance and decide what to tweak to improve the presentation. Are you looking off camera or rolling your eyes up or down? Are you obviously reading your remarks? Are you swiveling in your chair? All these small movements are magnified on the screen.
- Bonnie Friedman

An often overlooked feature is the breakout rooms. Give people a mental break from you! And give them the opportunity to interact with their colleagues, many of whom they may not have seen in months, or just engage with adults other than those they have been quarantined with.
- Ted Janusz

2 words: Primacy, Recency. Start in an unpredictable way to immediately captivate your listeners. Conclude with a strong and inspirational call to action, remembering that last words linger.
- Dale Klein

Slow down and remember to breathe. Everything is so fast-paced these days, it’s great to take your time while speaking and remember everyone is experiencing or going through something on their end, so allow the message to flow. It’s not about perfection; it’s about ensuring you are focused on delivering impactful information.
- Cheryl Pershey

1. Be prepared — Plan your timings, structure and content

2. Be Engaged — Organise poll questions and QA make it interactive

3. Be Personal — Know your audience (as much as you can) involve them into the conversation and presentation

4. Be You and have fun
- Lee Foster

Make sure to include interaction where possible. Include polls, use the chatbox, have the audience interact via social media or their smartphone — there are a lot of tools that can help. It keeps the content interesting and audience tuned in.
- Esther Snippe

Dress the part!
- Ron Warkentin

Stop from time to time to ask if the audience is still with you and ask a question to the group. If you know people on the call, ask them by name what they think of the point you just made. Keeping in touch with your audience and “taking the temperature” of the (virtual) room matters.
- Barbara Rogoski

Dress professionally. A jacket will enhance your credibility. Avoid wearing stripes as it will distort your image on camera.
- Kimberley J. Richardson

First of all: Don’t Sit down! stand up. Your energy will rise as well. (And so does your body language and voice) Second: Don’t start before you have checked your sound and light with someone. Your face must be the seen bright and clear, as your voice does! Third and most important: DON’t look at your audience on the screen!!! Look INTO the camera. It’s the eye of the tigre. It’s the love of your life. If you can do those 3 things it will feel as if you are in the room of your audience.
- Debby Mureau

Bring the ENERGYYYYYYYYY, be excited about what you’re speaking about. The audience still feeds off your energy, at least those who are present in the moment.
- Kenston Henderson Sr., JMCS

Get the audience unmuted and talking or in the chat window. Ask them open-ended questions that solicit an opinion. Do NOT ask right / wrong questions. When they express their opinion, (whether you agree or not), thank them for the input. When you show the environment is safe to share what you believe, the whole audience will want to get involved!
- Russ Peterson Jr.

Know your content by heart so that your focus can be on the audience and connecting with them while doing a live presentation.
- Michael Stover II

Realise everyone is giving you a portion of their lives while you’re presenting. Sense of moral commitment arises.
- Sitender Sehrawat

Do you have any other suggestions you would like to share? Please let us know here!

This was originally posted on SpeakerHub Skillcamp.

Find the perfect speaker, easily