Some quick presentation skills training for virtual presenting!
When you're presenting virtually, sometimes you can feel so alone- but you're not! You've still got an audience that needs to be reached and influenced. A big part of achieving that goal is remembering that your presentation skills still apply when you're giving a virtual presentation. Whether you are in a conference room with your team or alone in your home office, you still want to look, sound, and feel your best and present your message so that it has the maximum impact possible. Here are 10 quick tips to get you on the road to doing exactly that:
1. Warm Up: Just because you're not on stage doesn't mean your voice isn't important! Before you get on that call, warm up- a great way to do so is with some quick tongue twisters, and a bit of a physical warm up. This will help ensure that your voice is strong in tone and volume from the very start.
2. Find your mic: Know where your sound is being picked up, and aim for it. If it's a table top mic, make sure you are as close as possible and facing towards the mic. Cell phone mics can be tricky- be certain that you're not directing your sound in the opposite direction of your mic.
3. Find your light: Will there be a video component to your presentation? Make sure you are in the perfect light. Let there be light in the room, but avoid sitting in front of uncovered windows- too much light will wash out the entire picture. Test your set up before you start.
4. Secure your location: Outside noise is a huge distraction in a virtual presentation- no one wants to fight to listen to you over the meeting down the hall! Try to find a quiet room to present in, away from the hustle and bustle of the office at large. Keep the door closed, and make it known that a presentation is being given in the room, and that you would prefer not to be disturbed.
5. Focal Point: Often when our focus wanders, our mind and mouth wander as well. Give yourself a visual focal point in the room to keep things focused. A brightly colored mug, a piece of tape on your laptop, a thumbtack in a corkboard- anything will work, just be specific and zero in on that item when you feel yourself drifting.
6. Dress to impress: Just because you're in your home office doesn't mean you can't whip out the power suit! Being dressed confidently and professionally definitely influences how you feel. Even if they can't see you, convey your best "virtual you" by dressing the part.
7. Posture Counts: When you slump over in your chair, your breath becomes ineffective, your sound is distorted, and your voice suffers. Sit up straight and find a good neutral position in your seat. This will allow your voice to be strong and confident.
8. Remember to gesture: They might not see your gestures, but they'll hear them! Gestures free your voice and help you use your full pitch range. So just as you would on stage, let your gestures fly!
9. Using names helps: When you can't see who is speaking, it can become increasingly difficult to keep everyone involved. Use people's names when addressing them, and request that everyone clarify their names before they speak. Keeping a list of who is on the call can help ensure that everyone is getting attention.
10. Build in a break: Everyone needs a moment to refresh- so build one (or more!) into your presentation! At pre-determined points, give everyone a brief respite- some people like to do it as a "water break". It doesn't have to last more than a minute, but even that little pause will help re-energize everyone for more!