(02:03) You’ve probably noticed that virtual presentations have become the new normal due to recent changes in how we live, work, and connect. And let’s be honest. It’s not all bad – we get to attend online events from the comfort of our homes and sometimes even in our pajamas!
But as speakers, this shift to the digital stage means we need to adapt our speaking skills to engage audiences through screens rather than in person.
It’s a whole new ballgame, and it’s crucial to master the art of connecting with people virtually. After all, we want to keep our audience engaged and excited, just like we would on a physical stage.
So, let’s not waste any time and dive into the world of virtual presentations. Here are my top tips and pieces of advice for delivering a memorable performance.
Virtual Presentations: How to Adapt Your Speaking Skills for the Digital Stage
Here are the minute marks that cover highlights in this episode:
Preparing for a Virtual Presentation
(03:08) Alright, let’s talk about the essentials for nailing your virtual presentation. First things first, we need to make sure we’ve got the right technology and tools.
Familiarize Yourself with the Technology and Tools
(03:28) Chances are, the event organizer will already have chosen the video conferencing software for the virtual presentation. So, your job is to familiarize yourself with the platform!
Explore its features, understand how it works, and practice using it. This way, you’ll be ready to roll when it’s showtime. It pays to be familiar with all of the big hitters (including Zoom and Teams) so that you’re prepared if you get a last-minute call.
And remember, investing in a high-quality microphone and webcam can make a world of difference in delivering a polished and professional presentation.
Set Up an Appropriate and Professional Background
(04:19) Now that our tech is handled, let’s focus on the backdrop.
Make sure your background is tidy, uncluttered, and distraction-free. You don’t want your audience focusing on that pile of laundry in the corner, right? A simple, clean space or a professional-looking virtual background should do the trick.
Adjust Yourself to the Absence of a Physical Audience
(04:52) It’s no secret that presenting to a virtual audience can feel a bit strange compared to having people right in front of you. But there are ways to mitigate this weird feeling.
Before you go live, take a moment to picture your audience sitting right in front of you, all eager to hear what you have to say. This mental image can help you feel more connected to them, even though they’re not physically there. It’s a simple trick, but it can work wonders for your performance.
Practicing speaking in front of a mirror or recording yourself on camera is also a good idea. This way, you can work on maintaining eye contact with the camera (which will feel like eye contact to your audience) and perfecting those expressive gestures that keep things dynamic and engaging.
Tips for Delivering Engaging Virtual Presentations
(06:02) Now that you’re all set up and ready to rock the virtual stage, let’s explore some tips that’ll help you keep your audience captivated throughout your presentation.
Capture Audience Attention with Strong Story
(06:14) Start with a bang by crafting an attention-grabbing introduction that’ll make people sit up and take notice. I recommend using some of the many tried-and-tested storytelling techniques to keep your presentation relatable and engaging.
Remember, stories resonate with people! So, tell yours in a way that will get people hooked right off the bat.
Take Advantage of Audience Interaction Tools
(06:56) Audience interaction is the secret sauce to a memorable virtual presentation.
So make sure to spice things up by incorporating polls, quizzes, and Q&A sessions. Make the most of any chat features available to encourage active participation – this way, your audience will feel involved and valued.
Utilize Visual Aids Effectively
(07:30) Visual aids can be a game-changer in virtual presentations, but only when used correctly. Remember, on a stage, your slide show or presentation is projected onto a screen, and your audience has no choice but to look at it.
In a virtual setting, the slides or visual aids will replace you on the screen, so you must ensure they are both visually appealing and informative. While you might usually use plain bullet-pointed lists on your slides, you should include more visual aids than you would in a standard presentation.
Overcoming Technical Challenges
(08:19) We’ve all been there – technical hiccups that threaten to derail our virtual presentations. But fear not! With some preparation and a cool head, you can overcome these challenges like a pro.
Preparation is the Best Defense
(08:41) They say offense is the best defense, but being prepared for the worst is a close second. So, first, test your equipment and software well AHEAD OF TIME. This can help you identify and fix any issues before your big moment.
Next, develop a backup plan, just in case. Don’t think it won’t happen to you.
Stay Calm and Composed During Hiccups
(09:19) Another good part of giving this some thought BEFORE you go out on that virtual stage is that, should something happen, you won’t get flustered. Remember, efficiently troubleshooting issues is much easier when you’re composed and focused.
Should you face a technical glitch, simply take a deep breath and stay calm. Keep your audience in the loop by communicating what’s happening and assure them you’re working on a solution. Your event organizer might jump in at this point, especially if the issue is with their platform or equipment.
Post-Presentation Follow-Up and Evaluation – Do NOT Skip This!
(10:08) Once your virtual presentation is done, give yourself a pat on the back – great job! But don’t forget, there’s still some work to do.
A thorough post-presentation follow-up and evaluation can help you grow as a speaker and strengthen your connections with your audience.
To learn from your experience, take some time to review chat logs and post-event surveys. This valuable feedback can help you identify areas for improvement and understand what really resonated with your audience.
Some of the data gathered after a virtual presentation simply isn’t available for in-person events – so make the most of this opportunity.
Lastly, don’t let your connection with attendees end when the presentation does. Engage with them on social media, and keep the conversation going. Share additional resources or follow-up materials to show you’re genuinely invested in their success.
It can be tempting to slack off after a presentation is done. But please don’t make this mistake. Follow up with your audience to show that you care about them and that you’re not just another speaker.
Mastering the Art of Virtual Presentations
(11:45) Virtual presentations have opened up a world of opportunities, allowing us as speakers to reach and connect with people across the globe.
Embrace this new frontier by continuously honing your speaking skills and adapting them for the digital stage. Remember, every presentation is a chance to learn, grow, and make a lasting impact.
You might not blow everyone away immediately. Virtual is harder. There’s no doubt about it.
But stay curious and keep refining your craft. As you become more comfortable and adept at engaging with virtual audiences, you can start to dominate your space virtually and open up a new lucrative revenue stream.
So go ahead and use my advice and tips to start practicing your virtual speaking skills today!
If you’re still unsure about heading into the virtual space, why not connect with some other speakers who’ve already made the leap?
Our private Facebook Group, Breakthrough Public Speakers, is chock full of speakers who deliver regular virtual presentations swapping tips for success. So come on over and join us!
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Recommended Resources & Links
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We cater to diverse interests and expertise, ensuring that there is something for everyone. Moreover, we have developed a comprehensive program known as The Booked Solid Success Path, meticulously designed to complement and enhance your speaking engagements.
Episode 158 -Virtual Presentations: How to Adapt Your Speaking Skills for the Digital Stage
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Get a professional onesheet designed – I have been designing one sheets, also known as a speaker sheet or one-pager, for over 18 years for speakers to use in their marketing mix.
The Breakthrough Public Speakers Community – My team and I are inside this community helping you, encouraging you, and supporting you through your speaking journey… along with 3,700+ speakers.
I hope you enjoyed this training episode!
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Meet Wendi McNeill
As the Founder and Owner of Charli Jane Speaker Services®, Wendi has been “Opening Doors of Opportunity” for speakers since 2002.
Charli Jane Speakers provides speakers with support, exposure, tools, tips, speaking and media leads, coaching/learning programs, and much more to assist them in growing their speaking business. Learn more about Wendi
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