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How to Bring Your Virtual Presentation to Life

Originally published in 2014 on Mandel Communications blog

It can be difficult to make virtual presentations interesting and engaging.

If you’ve ever attended one where a low energy voice coming over the phone was accompanied by drab slides, you know the problem first-hand.

I often hear audiences complain that virtual presentations are boring.  Those same audience members report “multitasking” during virtual presentations, whether catching up on email or shopping online!

But, there are things you can do to grab your virtual audience’s attention – and keep it.

1. Start with your slides.

  • Keep slides colorful and use graphics/photos as much as possible.
  • Don’t stay on one slide for too long. Move along, so that your audience has new material to wake up their brains.
  • Use more slides than you might normally use during a live presentation. During a live presentation, your body language and physical movement help to keep your audience engaged. But, during a virtual presentation, audience members see only your slides.

2. Focus on your audience.

  • Make your presentation as interactive as possible. Call on your audience to use the tools that are built in to your virtual meeting or presentation software, e.g., raising hands, voting in polling questions, and asking or answering questions via the chat or Q&A functions.
  • Ask your audience questions.  Let them know at the start that you’ll be randomly calling on them with questions throughout the session.
  • Plan an interaction every two minutes or so.

3. Be dynamic.

  • If you have access to a webcam and your virtual meeting or presentation software allows it, put yourself on screen, so that your audience can see you.
  • Communicate passion and energy for your ideas. Present standing up and moving around while using a wireless headset. (If you do this, don’t use a web cam! You’ll make your audience dizzy.) Do whatever works best for you to get that energy out there.
  • Practice making your telephone voice dynamic and engaging. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s important to project more vocal energy than you would during a live presentation. Keep your audience awake and focused on your message!
You can see more about our Extraordinary Presenter course, and our full set of Communication Skills courses here