Best Practices for Presenting Virtually vs. In-Person

As a remote team we have found that virtual meetings can be largely different from in-person meetings. Especially when we are presenting something new. One of the times we are presenting is when people who are new to Bento want to learn about what we do.

Lately, in these cases we set a Zoom meeting and share the details with them through our computer screens. While meeting virtually has its benefits, there are also some challenges. If you are used to presenting in-person and suddenly find yourself having to present virtually, here are our best tips.

Prepare the “Stage”

When presenting virtually it’s important is preparing your audience for what is going to be talked about. This is no different from presenting in-person … you need to communicate and prepare your audience. But when you’re doing it virtually it’s even more important to over-communicate verbally as there are less non-verbal cues for you and your audience members to read.

Also, it’s helpful to have your notes ready around the screen so it is easy to see. Sometimes we find having digital notes helpful. Other team member like to print & post notes next to their computer screens. Whatever you are comfortable with, just make sure you’re not consistently looking down.

Also, it can feel easy to be casual during Zoom meetings… but dress accordingly as well so that the professionalism is still there, even online.

Another thing to pay attention to is to be in a well-lit room with the light in front of you, not behind you. Just like an in-person meeting, you are trying to make the person(s) on the other side of the screen comfortable with you and properly seeing you without weird shadows and lighting are important.

Communicate in a Clear & Concise Way

During online presentations, it is more difficult to keep attention on you compared to an in-person presentation because there are way more distractions for both you and the people you’re presenting to. To alleviate the stress of listeners losing interest, be as brief and concise as possible. Get out everything you need to say without fluff to get your point across quickly. 

Try to be in a Quiet Place

Being in a quiet place is key during an online presentation. Sometimes it may be difficult with everyone being home, we get it! When you can, being in a quiet place with little distractions and outside noise is helpful. If there are external noises and distractions, your audience can get distracted as well.

Check for Connectivity Issues

Prior to a virtual presentation, it’s a good practice to test your connectivity with a team member to make sure everything is working properly.

That being said, sometimes the Internet cuts out or other technical issues come up during a presentation. We find it helpful to make sure to say things like “Please make me aware if I cut out or you can’t hear me.”

You can’t control all technical issues during a virtual presentation, but you can help create a virtual rapport with your audience members. When you verbally share that you’re aware connectivity issues can happen, you show that you care about what they are hearing or seeing and that you care about their time as much as your own. 

Ask Questions Regularly

To keep your audience tuned in, make sure to ask questions after talking points. This solidifies your points and lets you know how well your audience is perceiving your presentation.

Presenting to an audience that listens and answers questions will ensure they understand the information you are sharing and the presentation will go smoother because of it. 

If your audience members communicate that they don’t understand a key point or message, make sure to take the time to explain it to them. This helps create a virtual rapport with the people on the other end of the screen.

Be Aware of Clicking Around too Much

We have found it best to have tabs or pages pulled up before a presentation if you’re doing any sort of live demo.

If you do need to click around to get to something, consider stopping the screen share and then restarting when you have the appropriate pages pulled up.

It’s easy to want to click around a lot as a presenter on a screen, but hard for a user to follow and sometimes there is a delay. Being aware of this and preparing tabs or pages beforehand greatly helps the confusion that clicking around a lot creates.

Test Bluetooth Headsets

We’ve found that sometimes bluetooth headsets cut out or distort voices so test these first. By testing these you know that your mic is on, it can be heard, and that is connected.

To make things easier though, it would be smart to always have a backup mic that connects directly into your computer so that connectivity issues gone.

You can’t control everything during a virtual presentation but you can prepare the best you can!

What are your best tips for presenting? Share your best tips in our blog comments below: