If you want to understand how to give an effective online presentation from home, you will love this article.
In the era of remote work, speaking in front of a computer or smartphone camera is a must. So it is a good idea to practice these skills to present yourself in a professional manner. Achieving mastery is within reach.
Not long ago, when we got used to Zoom (1), Skype, or Teams, we feel that our online presentations at such a scale are only a short-term matter and shortly we will be back in conference rooms, in-person meetings, and major congresses. However, this isn’t the case.
The pandemic accelerated a long process. The whole uproar caused by COVID-19 and related restrictions is providing a further impetus to what has been going on for some time, particularly the shifting of the large majority of our professional (and not only) activities to cyberspace. And while we do not really like online meetings, we haven’t any choice but to improve our public speaking skills online.
How do you look professional in front of the camera? Where to start studying? And finally, what skills did we learn before that we can use now? The answers to these questions will help us quickly do our homework so that we can find our place in the new reality.
How To Give Effective Online Presentations From Home
What type of speaker are you (2)?
To begin with, it is worth taking a closer look and thinking about what your strengths are in public speaking, because that will also build your effectiveness in cyberspace. It should be added here that talking to your boss, for example, when you’re presenting your ideas or reporting on the progress of your assignment, is a sort of public speaking.
We can divide speakers into three main types:
- A mentor motivates, inspires and bases his speech on emotion.
- A sage communicates information perfectly. He is precise and comfy presenting data, statistics, and research results.
- A friend likes to digress. Association and anecdotal evidence were the driving force behind his speech, which seemed to haven’t any plan.
When preparing a speech online, consider your strengths. Highlight them. It’s also a good idea to sketch out what you want to say, in what order. And if you already know what your strengths are, you can begin building your online speaking style without neglecting the fundamental principles we write down below.
1. Make sure you have the right place to record.
This may seem apparent, but even professionals make mistakes. A few months ago, the world watched a BBC interview with Robert Kelly who lives in South Korea. Perhaps not many people remember what this political scientist was talking about, but tens of millions of individuals remember his cute kids entering the room during a live call.
That is why it’s so important to create a place where we will be safe and nobody will enter it unexpectedly. It’s great to have the right acoustics. Let’s check if the receiver will hear us better if we wear headphones or if we use the microphone on the computer or additional.
Background is also important. The bed, even the bed, is not a pretty sight. We recommend using virtual backgrounds: you cannot only choose the most fitted one, referring, for example, to content, but also when connecting from home, you won’t lose privacy. Let’s also take care of the lighting.
The light source must come from the front. If there will be more shows, it’s better to buy a special ring lamp with a tripod where we will place the smartphone. It gives a soft, warm glow, on which the face looks great.
2. Imagine your audience
Let’s consider who we will talk to, even if they’re strangers. Imagine specific people and provide them names. This will help us begin to feel that we are talking to someone else and not to ourselves.
You can even imagine your best friend is sitting in the front row and you are talking to them. This will comfort us in knowing that we are willingly listened to by someone who sympathizes with us.
3. Remember your drawing
You can find hundreds of memes depicting a man sitting in front of a computer chatting online, wearing a suit from the waist up, with shorts and sandals visible below. Funny. But I urge you to be fully clothed. And, obviously, not because there’s any danger of the camera “dropping”.
When we dress the way we would go to a meeting in real life, we stop focusing on clothes. We increase the confidence that’s all the time written on our faces and also shows on the screen.
It’s better if our clothes are plain or minimal motifs. The camera does not like checks, flowers, or dots. Let’s take care of our hair and, if necessary, apply a mattifying powder, particularly if the speech is more formal.
4. Don’t forget eye contact
Whether you are talking to a single person in front of you or to a room full of individuals (there are techniques to give listeners the impression that the speaker is focused on them), making eye contact is important. This also applies to online speeches.
Bring your gaze to the camera eye at the top of the screen. The audience will have the illusion that we are looking at them, and a good rapport will be established between us.
If you need to read text, it is a good idea to place it above the screen, so you remember about it while talking, or place the tablet on a tripod at camera level, preferably operated with a remote control or a dedicated app.
5. Take care of technical matters
Place the computer so that the camera’s eye is level with your face. If necessary, make a stand from several books of the suitable height. Check your Internet connection and have your phone ready with alternative network access just in case.
In most online chat programs, it is feasible to compose a chat message. However, it’s best not to respond to them while speaking. When reading messages, it’s simple to lose thread and bury the whole speech. If such interaction is important, ask someone to moderate and take care of chat questions.
Before we connect, ensure the system is working, slides are playing, etc. Let’s compress the image on the presentation slide to reduce the file size. Then there isn’t any risk that the presentation will hang. Avoid playing videos and recordings, as your audience may hear distorted sound.
6. Speak slowly and rest
Online meetings should take place more slowly as a result of the 2-3 second delay on most systems. An additional barrier for many listeners is the limited information we get from body language in offline conversations.
Whether in an in-person or long-distance conversation, it is a good idea to keep your pace by using short sentences, speaking with commitment, and speaking carefully at the same time. Also, it is a good idea to modulate your voice in a special way and be a little more expressive.
The sound of eating, bad accent or sloppy pronunciation is annoying. If your speech is supported by slides, do not overload it with content. A slogan and a few bullet points will suffice rather than long text or complicated tables.
The most vital thing is our speech, and the slides are just extra. When speaking, it is a good idea to pause every now and then to ask questions.
If we remember that live meetings and presentations consist of 50% non-verbal interaction, we will understand how long our presentation, lecture or workshop should last. Let’s compress our content. Sometimes it is better to leave people a little dissatisfied than to bore them with an excessively long speech.
7. Prepare materials and notes
If you want your audience to focus as much on your speech as possible, prepare yourself notes that you’re going to send to them after the meeting or presentation. Of course, you should tell them about this from the start. Notes can contain much more content than slides.
If the speech is especially important or complicated, it is a good idea to have someone take notes. Graphic notes are a masterpiece, but their preparation requires the presence of an illustrator specializing in such work.
8. Be honest and genuine
This may sound like a truism, but it’s a crucial element. Enjoy your speech and believe in what you are talking about. If you find joy in your speech and realize that people are listening, you’ll grow wings.
It’s good to find fun in connecting with people online. Then we will have fun and our audience will have fun too. Let’s build relationships with other people by involving them in your presentation.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article on how to give effective online presentations from home. I actually hope that its content has been of good help to you.