Do you find yourself called on to deliver digital presentations, speaking with colleagues or clients online or via video?
Make eye contact, project energy and contrast, speak, move and connect with your audience. Keep them fully engaged, maintain their attention, interest and curiosity whilst delivering a clear and compelling message is often the brief.
How do you do all of that through digital presentations online or by video?
It’s no longer good enough to simply: “Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em, tell ’em, and then tell ’em what you’ve told ’em.”
Inspire, enthuse, unite and lead change seems to be the order of the day.
Presenting face to face is an onerous task for even the most experienced business professional and now we are increasingly called on to do it digitally. In fact, it’s almost becoming ‘the norm’.
At Mindful Presenter, we understand completely the challenges professionals face when presenting and how important it is to evolve with the changing technological landscape, we work in. Here are 7 keys to delivering powerful digital presentations.
1- Know what you are up against
I recently attended an online presentation whilst preparing an invoice, accepting a LinkedIn connection request and responding to an email.
It’s not something I’m proud of or brag about as my ability to multi-task. Despite my guilt I’ve done it before and it’s likely I’ll do the same thing again. Research suggests that the human mind is conditioned to wander 47% of the time. When you’re attending an online presentation and are not only invisible but have access to a wide range of other distractions, I’m sure that number soars.
That’s the first key; awareness.
If you approach and craft your presentation with the absolute awareness that it doesn’t matter how good it is, you have an enormous amount to compete with you will be compelled to raise your game.
2- Start with a promise
Which do you think is more likely to grab and keep your attention?
a) A six-point agenda
b) A promise of something that will make a tangible difference to your life
Therein lays a significant challenge. It’s easy to ramble through a six-point agenda and a great deal harder to make a promise you can keep. That’s what its all about though. We live in a world where we are all overwhelmed with information. The last thing we need is someone reading through a scripted agenda that we could read for ourselves in a fraction of the time.
Make your audience a promise you can comfortably keep; and make sure it’s the first thing you do.
3- Stick to the point
I have long been a huge fan of the work of the late Stephen Covey. The author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which sold over 25 million copies shared some great truths and wisdom. Famous for a number of very powerful quotes one of my personal favourites is, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
I’ve heard many business presenters open their presentation with that one quote and then immediately continue to talk about everything other than ‘the main thing’.
When presenting digitally you want to focus on one topic and one topic alone; if you don’t you will very quickly lose your audience.
4- Think like a designer
Remember, the moment your audience feels the slightest bit bored you will lose them to one of the other multiple devices they have at their fingertips. The bullet points and charts are guaranteed to send them off. When using slides:
Keep them simple
Use high quality, compelling graphics
Colour arouses interest and evoke emotions – use them well
Stick to one point per slide
Ditch the templates
Use single images
Forget the fancy transitions
Create bill boards not slides
5- Get them talking too
Don’t forget, your audience is only 5 seconds away from Facebook or Twitter so lecture them and they’re off. Get them involved and keep them engaged by not only ensuring that you content is rich and compelling but:
Ask for their opinions
Keep it interactive
Create a poll
Run a quiz
Ask for a show of hands
Invite questions and comments
Plan ahead of time to get your audience involved every 3 to 5 minutes. Don’t leave it any longer and don’t leave it to chance.
6- Let them see you
Presenters are often uncomfortable with the fact that they can’t see their audience and that’s quite understandable. Imagine how your audience feel if they can’t see you. Facial expressions and non-verbal gestures are crucial elements of high impact presenting. People like to see people, not just hear their voices.
Make yourself visible by using a webcam, don’t rely on your voice alone to hold their attention and stay connected.
Digital presentations are very visual, aesthetic experiences. Not only do your visuals need to look great but you do too.
Make sure the lighting is good above and around you.
Dress in plain colours, leave the stripes and patterns in the wardrobe.
Remember to keep looking into the camera rather the screen.
Prepare the space around you carefully as they will see that too.
7- Speak with impact
You’re not in the same room as your audience, you can’t see them but if you’re using a webcam, they can see you. There is a great deal of pressure on your vocal chords to ensure you stay connected and speak with impact.
If you are one of those speakers who generally has a quieter voice or can sound a little monotone or even have problems slowing down, its likely to sound worse online. Don’t rely on chance or hope that your voice will serve you exactly how you want it to on the day:
Stretch and challenge it beforehand
Do some vocal exercises and warm up your voice before you speak
Record yourself on your phone and play it back several times being very honest with yourself about how you sound
Get some feedback
Make appropriate changes
Crafting and delivering a digital or video-based presentation is a significant challenge. Implementing these 7 keys will serve you extremely well and leave your audience feeling very grateful you did.
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If this article has inspired you to learn a little more about how effective your presentation skills are you may want to take a look at our presentation training and presentation coaching pages to see how we may be able to help you. You will also find a great deal of really helpful ‘free’ information in our Learning Centre.
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