How many of you have attended a meeting on a virtual platform?
How many of you have presented at a meeting on a virtual platform?
People are suffering from Zoom fatigue. Keeping them interested during your presentation can be difficult.
Here’s what you can do to present a virtual workshop like an ace.
- THINK ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND AND WARDROBE
I recently attended a presentation by a well-known speaker. I’ve seen him on stage and found him to be a stellar presenter. At his online class, the room he broadcast from looked like something from a haunted museum. It was untidy, and there was even a skeleton.
To make matters worse, he looked like he hadn’t combed his hair since 2019, and he wore an ill-fitting bathrobe.
Did that make me trust him? Want to give him business? Of course not!
If you are broadcasting from a problematic location, you can utilize a virtual background.
Here is are some easy ways to look more professional:
- There are numerous virtual backgrounds available for free download through a quick online search.
- Before your class, pull up Zoom and click Settings, then click on background & filler.
- Upload the background or backgrounds you’ve downloaded from the internet and play around with what looks best.
- Try on different outfits to see what shows up and coordinates well with the background you’ve selected. Do you look professional?
CONSIDER THE POSITION OF YOUR LAPTOP, CAMERA, AND LIGHTING
Lights, camera… almost action.
While you’re checking how you look through your settings, also consider the angle of your camera.
Having your laptop and camera elevated decreases the dreaded double-chin appearance. If you don’t have a stand, you can set your computer on a box or some books.
Can the audience see your whole face, or are they only seeing the top of your head? You might need to reposition your screen.
How is the lighting? You can purchase ring lights with different settings to bring you out of the shadows. Or you can use lamps you already own and play with positioning to fix any issues.
If you’re wearing makeup, considering adding a bit more.
Computer screens can wash you out. Think about the color you’re wearing and whether it adds or detracts from your appearance.
- YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO SEE YOUR AUDIENCE
Look at all of the people at your workshop!
Actually, you can’t.
If you want to appear to make eye contact with the people viewing your presentation, you need to keep your eyes on the camera.
What does this mean for you?
You won’t be able to see anyone or know how they’re reacting. Sometimes, people won’t even turn on their video, so you’re looking at black boxes or stock photos.
How do you gauge whether attendees are interested or asleep?
- MAKE YOUR PRESENTATION INTERACTIVE
Interactive participation on Zoom doesn’t mean having people respond to you on chat, click reaction emojis, or raise their hands.
Think about how to reconnect with humanity. Have attendees leave on their audio. Tell them you don’t care about barking dogs and screaming children unless it’s insanely noisy.
- Ask questions and persist in getting answers, even if you only hear crickets at first.
- Add funny videos or photos to your PowerPoint. Get people laughing!
- Take a dance break. It’s easy to add music to a PowerPoint slide. Grab some dancing people gifs and get your attendees moving!
- Don’t read your PowerPoint. If you want more tips on presenting with PowerPoint, read my blog post, “Death by PowerPoint.https://lauraakers.com/death-by-powerpoint/
- REHEARSE WITH A FRIEND
Run through your presentation. Here are a few items to consider:
- TIP: If you’re using a virtual background without a green screen, you might appear to have dark shadows around you.
Solution: Minimize this effect by hanging a white sheet behind you.
- Does your PowerPoint play smoothly? If you’re linking to a YouTube video, it might take too long to load.
- Do you need a better microphone? Make sure your message is heard.
- If you need to use notes, consider where to put them. If you look down, the audience will think you’re breaking eye contact. If they’re to the side, you’re also breaking eye contact. Consider taping your notes to a stand or whiteboard behind your laptop.
- Be aware of your voice and energy. If you’re reading in a monotone and aren’t projecting, you will lose your audience. Get excited about what you’re saying!
- There might be problems, but you can get through them with humor and encouragement.
Doing your first presentation on Zoom might seem intimidating, but if you work through the tips I’ve listed, you’ll be off to a great start!
You’re not the only person who feels like they’re talking to themselves alone in a room when using Zoom! (Hey, that rhymes!)
BEST OF LUCK!
If you would like further help with presentation coaching, email Laura for a free 15-minute consultation.