Updated: Apr 9, 2020
Video is your friend. It wasn’t that long ago that we’d scramble to turn off video at the start of a virtual meeting. Now that in-person interactions are limited, video has become invaluable in aiding conversation flow and limiting the awkwardness found in many conference calls. Video provides real-time feedback on how content is received and if the audience is engaged in the conversation. This allows you to adjust your presentation strategy in real-time and facilitate a productive meeting.
Create a concise agenda. Virtual meetings require more effort from all participants than in-person meetings. Help your content make the biggest impact by creating a thoughtful agenda and removing anything that could be delivered effectively by email—either in advance or as a follow-up. Everyone will appreciate having clear meeting objectives established at the start and the cadence of concisely delivered content.
Designate a leader. The leader is responsible for moving the agenda along, keeping track of time, prompting participants, and fielding Q&A. Other presenters need to track the conversation closely and contribute the right information at the right time. Having a note taker will allow the leader to focus on their primary role.
Present a professional environment. While your temporary office in the kitchen might be fine for most meetings, stand out from the crowd by fine-tuning the details for important client meetings, interviews, and presentations. Select a location with good lighting, facing a window, or use the white screen of your monitor for a positive, illuminating effect. Presenting as part of a team? Use a consistent, branded image as your background to communicate cohesiveness.
Keep your eyes on the camera. Take a “cue” from professional presenters and put your talking points on cue cards, a second monitor, or a whiteboard placed in your field of vision, beyond your computer so you can deliver your content while maintaining eye contact. Avoid placing notes in your hands or on a side monitor which will break the connection between you and your audience. And no multi-tasking—people will notice!
Test the technology. Confirm that all participants have downloaded the presentation software in advance of the meeting. During the dry-run, practice sharing screens, switching user controls and flipping between visuals. If using facilitation tools, make sure you are comfortable taking notes and manipulating the tools in front of an audience.
Be human. Presentations can be nerve-wracking, especially during current conditions. Relax, be yourself, add some humor, and focus on genuinely connecting with your audience.