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How to unmute your virtual presentation, so you can grow your business
Two of the most common questions our customers are asking themselves right now are:
“How do I grow my business virtually?”
“How do I engage, motivate and persuade my internal teams without face-to-face interaction?”
Both good questions, and both critical to answer.
In recent times, virtual presenting has become an essential business skill. And with many predicting that hybrid working and reduced travel patterns will become the norm, it’s likely that virtual presenting and influencing skills will remain important, long after lockdown restrictions end.
Despite this, virtual presenting is a skill that so many of us are yet to get the hang of.
Because of this, you could well be missing out on important commercial opportunities by not getting ahead of your competition. Plus, you could be missing the mark on ensuring that your team is motivated and enthused, if your presentation is a tad… lacklustre.
To help our customers tackle these issues, we teamed up with virtual presentation experts Jeremy Cassell of Jeremy Cassell Coaching and Emma Lewis of Emperor Presentations to show you how to design and delivery virtual(ly) perfect presentations.
To get the full ‘wow-factor’ of a virtual presentation delivered by virtual presenting experts, register to watch the on-demand recording, or keep reading for a summary of the topic.
According to Jeremy Cassell, the first thing you need to realise about virtual presenting is this:
“Virtual presenters are made, not born”.
Virtual presentation skills are ones that can be learnt, with the right guidance.
But before we go into what those things are; it’s worth picking out what not to do. The top mistakes that reduce the effectiveness of an online presentation include:
- One-way broadcasting
- Not engaging with your audience
- Not getting the basics right
- Delivering too much content in a short timeframe
- Using technology poorly or incorrectly
- Not learning what works
These are all factors that the majority of us are likely to have experienced at some point over the past 12 months. In fact, 100% of our audience admitted that they had been bored, distracted or confused during a virtual presentation since the first Coronavirus lockdown.
How do you improve your virtual presentations?
First, you need to consider what you’re trying to achieve. Whilst this may seem like a basic question, it’s important to think about what your presentation is actually trying to deliver. Typically the purpose of an online presentation will fall into one of five categories: persuade, inform, instruct, arouse or decide.
Once you’ve figured that out, you need to ensure the content supports your aims and your narrative. Presentations often fail because the content doesn’t work. Confused people won’t buy, get motivated or take action if your content is overloaded and dull; instead, focus on being audience-centric, reducing content and making your audience curious.
1. Be audience-centric
It’s important to put yourself in your audience’s shoes – what do they want? Once you’ve established this, it’s worth considering how you’ll build an interactive feel into the presentation even though the audience will potentially be spending a long time staring at a screen.
2. Reduce content
When it comes to content, less is more. And, for something that will ‘hook’ your audience, look to several famous marketing and branding campaigns that use the power of three. Think of the current UK lockdown slogan, for example: ‘stay home, protect the NHS, save lives’, which gets across the point in three simple phrases. The power of three can also be used in repetition if you want something to be particularly memorable, think of Tony Blair’s 1997 speech, ‘education, education, education’.
3. Make the audience curious
What state do you want your audience to be in? A state is a combination of thoughts, behaviour and emotions. We all go through several in one day. So, if your audience is in a bored state, your presentation will miss the mark.
The way to ensure your audience’s interest is piqued is to consider the three s’: spike, STAR and story.
- Spike: a sentence or series of short sentences that gets to the heart of your presentation
- STAR: something your audience will always remember
- Stories: tell a story about yourself, the market, a client or a metaphor. A good narrative will tap into the emotions of your audience and allow them to relate and empathise with the message you’re trying to convey much more than facts and figures alone.
Designing and delivering visual slides
Being a presenter isn’t about being polished and perfect. It’s about being authentically ‘you’.
On a platform where body language doesn’t have the opportunity to be front and centre, as it usually is, there is much more focus on your voice and choice of words, so variety is key. Whether you notice it or not, the way a sentence is delivered can affect the impact that it has. For example, if you want something to sound more credible, you may choose to speak slowly, or if you want to connect with your audience, you may use a slight upward inflection at the end of your sentence. By storyboarding your presentation before you begin creating it, you’ll be able to fit your tone of voice to the slides.
In addition to this, you need to ensure that your slides are visually engaging and not crammed with information. They should be there to complement what you’re saying, not to overpower it. Sometimes this can be tricky, however, in cases where you may need to present stats, financial information, or lots of numbers. In this situation, try to think about other, more interesting ways to share this – for example, you may choose to create an infographic instead.
This is also where imagery can play a big part in making your presentation memorable. According to research, audience members are only 10% likely to remember information from a presentation after three days if it was written information. However, if the information was visual, retention of information goes up to 65%. And, the more interesting, the better. ‘Visual’ doesn’t just have to mean static images – why not try GIFs, video content and even games to capture your audience’s attention?
To learn more about how you can take your virtual presenting skills to the next level, watch our on-demand webinar here, where we were joined by presentation experts Jeremy Cassell and Emma Lewis.
Get help from the experts
Like what you’re seeing but don't have the time to upgrade your virtual presenting skills or visuals? Good news, you can get help from the experts, and it could cost you less than you might imagine.
Our panellist for ‘Unmute Your Virtual Presentation’, Emma Lewis, is part of a best-in-class presentations team at Emperor, where she now helps clients unleash their stories with high-impact, animated and interactive presentations, freeing them from wasting precious time on formatting in the process.
Click here to explore the support and services Emperor can provide in designing sophisticated, compelling and consistent slide templates.
Jeremy Cassell Coaching
For more than two decades, Jeremy Cassell has helped hundreds of people overcome their nerves and deliver exceptional presentations. Jeremy works with leaders and teams to improve their confidence and competence in delivering exceptional presentations – virtually or face-to-face.
If you enjoyed Jeremy’s insights, you can connect with him on LinkedIn. For our webinar audience, Jeremy Cassell Coaching is offering 50% off their video-based virtual presenting series, Design & Deliver, throughout February. Corporate and charity deals are also available.
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