For the last several months, we’ve all relied heavily on video conferencing to connect with family, friends and coworkers. While sitting and staring at the computer screen for hours isn’t considered the most ideal, it seems like it will be our normal way of working—and living—for the foreseeable future. According to TrustRadius, the use of web conferencing has grown 445 percent since the pandemic began, with tools like Zoom and BlueJeans growing 674 percent and 225 percent, respectively.
If anything, the additional time working remotely has challenged us to improve our presentation skills. From weekly team meetings to client presentations, participation in virtual presentations and webinars has increased substantially, and require us to focus and be more engaging than we would be in person.
As we look ahead to the fall and begin considering planning virtual events, here are a few things to consider when leading an effective virtual presentation.
- Make sure that visibility and audio are crystal clear. Practice a dry run of your presentation with a coworker or team member to avoid surprise technical difficulties that may come the day of the presentation. Especially if you plan to record it for later consumption, it’s important to have the presentation flow as smoothly as possible.
- Time is of the essence; don’t go on for too long. Sitting through a two- or three-hour virtual presentation isn’t the most appealing. Keep webinars to an hour. While virtual presentations may seem like the ideal medium to share lots of information, it is critical to have main points that you will want to convey to your audience.
- Promote, promote, promote! Sharing with your community via social media and email newsletter will be essential to getting your audience involved in the conversation. One way to keep the webinar top of mind for attendees is to send a calendar invite that contains all of the video and phone conference information. This way, if someone’s schedule changes and they can’t participate by video, they can still listen to the conversation by phone.
- Encourage conversation in the chat function. Include discussion questions throughout your presentation that will get attendees speaking to one another. With some video conference platforms, you can also create breakout rooms to encourage further conversation among attendees. Harvard Business Review suggests“creating an opportunity for attendees to take meaningful responsibility” by incorporating engagement in the chat function so that an hour-long meeting or presentation doesn’t feel monotonous or stale.
- After the webinar is complete, follow up with a recording or additional information. Once the webinar is complete, follow up with all attendees—not just those who attended but anyone who registered—with the recording of the presentation and any other calls to action. The recording is also an asset that can be shared on your company’s website and social media channels.
Virtual presentations can be a creative way to demonstrate thought leadership, connect with clients and customers, and create evergreen content that can grow your audience.