21 Ways to Give Better Virtual Presentations

Eleni KelakosAudience Connection, Professional Speakers, Strategic Tips, Virtual Presentations

Giving virtual presentations is a challenge for even the most seasoned professional speakers. However, with a few strategic adjustments, you can make your virtual presentations engaging and effective. Here are some suggestions to help make presenting virtually more palatable for both you and your audience.

1. Be Bossy

At the beginning of your presentation, set clear expectations for your audience. Let them know what you need and expect from them. If you want them to show their faces and not turn off their video, tell them. If you want them to participate actively and be prepared to be called on randomly, even if their video is off, communicate that clearly. If you prefer them to pepper you with questions or wait until specific times to ask questions, make it known. Your audience members are following your lead, so take the reins firmly and confidently!

2. Start with You, Not Your Slides

Give your audience a chance to connect with you as a human being before introducing your slides. Resist the urge to share your slides immediately. Spend the first five minutes speaking directly to your audience. Use this time to deliver a strong opening or hook, set up the overarching premise of your presentation, and preview the agenda. This approach helps build a connection and makes your message more relatable.

3. Call People by Name

Break through the tech barrier by using people’s first names as often as possible throughout your presentation. Addressing individuals by name personalizes the experience and makes your audience feel more engaged and valued. It’s a simple yet effective way to foster a sense of community and participation.

4. Gently Insist on Engagement

Encourage participation by not just asking for volunteers but also calling on people who aren’t engaged or contributing, as you indicated you would do at the start. For example, say, “Marcia, I’d love to know your perspective on this.” This approach can draw out quieter participants and diversify the conversation. Remember to thank individuals for their contributions, which can encourage further participation.

5. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Yes or no questions don’t invite deeper engagement. Instead, ask questions that provoke longer, more thoughtful responses. For example, ask “Tell me about your family” instead of “Do you have kids?” Use follow-up prompts like “Tell me more…” to keep people talking and to delve deeper into their responses. Open-ended questions stimulate richer discussions and make your presentation more interactive and dynamic.

By implementing these strategies, you can transform your virtual presentations into engaging, interactive experiences. Remember, the key is to connect with your audience, maintain clear communication, and foster an environment of active participation. Happy presenting!