ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Ricardo Álvarez-Díaz is the founder and principal of the architectural firm Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón, with offices in Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Presentations can be nerve wracking.
Giving presentations in general, can be difficult and stressful. Virtual presentations however, can present an extra set of challenges that can add to the anxiety. As virtual meetings and virtual presentations continue to become the norm in this post-pandemic world, check out our tips for preparing the best virtual presentation possible.
1. MAKE IT EASY
Make sure that the presentation is easy to follow and understand. It’s best to only show images that represent what you will be talking about, and to have little to no text in the presentation slides. If you’re going to include text in the presentation slides, use a text font and size that are easy to read. Also, ensure that you select free stock images to use in the presentation or purchase the copyrights to the images in order to be authorized to use them.
2. KNOW THE TECHNOLOGY
Know in which platform you will be giving your virtual presentation. Knowing the platform will help you determine what your presentation length and file size needs to be. If you’re going to give your presentation through Zoom, for example, then keep in mind that Zoom’s free version has a 40 minute time limit, so your presentation needs to be less than the time limit.
Similarly, if you’re going to be sending the presentation to someone who will project it for you or if you’re going to be presenting it on a platform where you upload the presentation, then you need to know if your presentation file size will be within the accepted size range before uploading it.
3. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Once you’ve finished creating your presentation, it’s time to practice it. You can practice giving your presentation in front of a mirror, at the desk you’re going to be sitting or standing at during the presentation, or even in front of someone who can give you feedback. Going over your presentation will also help you make any necessary revisions on time. The more you practice and prepare, the more confidence you will gain in giving your presentation.
4. PREPARE YOUR SPACE
Choose where you’re going to be giving your presentation beforehand. Select a space where there is a strong internet connection, that’s free from distractions, and that has good lighting. Make sure that the background behind you will not divert your audience’s attention from your presentation, this means avoiding having flashy artwork on display or any pets running around.
5. BE READY
Ensure that you have a copy of your presentation that you can easily access, and a backup hotspot or internet connection in case something happens. Log on to the presentation platform early and have the device from where you’re going to give the presentation fully charged. Position the video camera so that it frames your face, neck, and shoulders. Most importantly, look presentable. Looking unkempt will give people the impression that you don’t care much about the presentation and give you less credibility.
Once you begin giving your presentation, look directly into the camera, don’t slouch, speak clearly and use hand motions to engage your audience. Don’t shout, people usually listen to virtual presentations using headphones, so avoid hurting their hearing. Most importantly, have fun! It’s good to break the ice and make some jokes. Remember, it’s more difficult to catch people’s attention during a virtual presentation than in an in-person presentation.
7. PLAN FOR DELAYS
Keep in mind that virtual presentations usually have a delay depending on people’s Internet speed and connection. This means that your audience won’t react immediately to what you’re saying since there might be a lag in the video signal. So, if you tend to be a fast talker in real life, practice slowing down just a bit. Be patient with yourself and the audience.
8. SPARK CONVERSATIONS
Once you have given the presentation, make time for a Q&A. Answering people’s questions will create an engaged dialogue around the topic of your presentation. At the end, provide your contact information such as your email, website and social media accounts in order to invite people to connect with you. This makes for a great way of networking!
Online presentations can be challenging, but it is important to prepare as you would for any other in-person presentation. As you can see, preparing for a virtual presentation has even more challenges than in-person presentations since you need to pay attention details such as camera framing, background, and any technological issues that may arise. Following our tips will help you best prepare for your next virtual presentation. Good luck!