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It’s no surprise that what works with in-person presentations—body language, non-verbal cues, facial expressions, and the energy of just being around other people—doesn’t translate well to virtual audiences. Even with the best technology and software programs out there, it’s no easy feat for any presenter make their virtual presentations interesting and engaging.
The good news is that there are many tips and tricks you can easily and quickly implement to turn your next virtual presentation from drab to fab! Get ready to grab your virtual audience’s attention – and keep it – with these tips inspired by The Bob Pike Group’s Creative Training Techniques®.
So much can be said about how to select the best conference app (we could curate a whole article around this topic!). The training experts at The Bob Pike Group suggest first to look at your current skill level. If creating a presentation from scratch feels daunting, the quickest way to tackle that is to pick a program with a strong tutorial built in. Also consider the line of work the training is targeting. For instance, a creative industry will need an app that can support complex and color visuals whereas an accounting business requires an app with a less cluttered and clean look.
Since body language and physical movement can’t be used to its best ability for a virtual presentation, use more slides than you would normally use during a live in-person presentation. Since your audience only sees your slides (for the most part), the more engaging and eye-catching visuals and colors, the better. Keep slides colorful and use graphics/photos as much as possible.
While you may be able to see your audience, the bigger problem is that they most often can’t see you! The human face has been long known to be very compelling and effective in marketing and advertising. The same goes for online training. Over 90% of how we communicate is through nonverbal cues like hand gestures and facial expressions. The no-brainer solution? Use a webcam or have a simple slide with your photo and credentials to add a face to your voice. The more you make yourself visible, the more engaged your audience will be.
If you do use a webcam and you’re able to put yourself on screen—be active! Communicate your passion and energy for your subject matter and ideas by standing up and moving around (just not too much as to distract participants). Practice making your “telephone voice” engaging and full of emotion. While it may feel a bit awkward at first, the more vocal energy you can exert will keep your audience awake and focused on the course material!
Socialization is extremely important for participants, especially during virtual presentations. Human beings are social creatures who need both individual and team time. It’s easy for the social inclusion piece to get lost when you are communicating with participants behind the camera and microphone. Utilize your language to create an intimate dialogue to make participants feel like they are part of a group. Instead of saying “can everyone hear me?”, try a bit more personalized approach with “can YOU hear me?” Likewise, use the word “we” as much as you can to create that “we’re all in this together” vibe. It’s simpler than you think to slightly tweak your wording to give participants a personalized experience.
Make your presentation as interactive as possible. Encourage your audience to use built-in tools available in the virtual meeting or presentation software. For example: voting in polling questions, asking questions via the chat function, or using drawing/white-board tools to interact with a slide. Every couple minutes, be sure to ask your audience questions or create the opportunity for other types of interactions. Let them know at the start that you’ll be randomly calling on them with questions throughout the session to keep them engaged and ready to participate on a moment’s notice. Just make sure you plan and prepare ahead of time so interaction doesn’t fall by the wayside.
Understanding how to keep your audience engaged requires some strategic but necessary adjustments in the design and delivery of your online presentation. It’s not impossible! The Bob Pike Group team offers many tools to help you turn your next virtual presentation into a lively session participants won’t soon forget.
Register for an upcoming Interactive Virtual Trainer, Microlearning or Virtual Train-the-Trainer Boot Camp to get expert guidance and easy-to-implement tips to adapt your classroom content for remote work and learning.