Virtual presentation tips: Expert advice from Prezi’s Virtual Presentation Innovators

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The move from in-person speaking events to the virtual stage is not a one-to-one transition, and the most successful speakers have found creative ways to adapt to this shift. That’s why we’re excited to introduce our Virtual Presentation Innovators — a group of speakers who have been paving the way for more engaging virtual presentations (with some help from Prezi Video). Watch their videos below for some of their top virtual presentation tips to present more effectively in online settings.

John Hall: Understand the principles of virtual keynote speaking 

John Hall, the co-founder of Calendar, is no stranger to virtual keynotes. In fact, he’s often listed as one of the top virtual speakers. “There’s a misconception that virtual speaking can’t be as effective as in-person speaking,” he says, but he argues that there are big pros to virtual presenting. 

In his video, he outlines five virtual presentation tips you should follow to help you stand out and take advantage of the benefits that come from presenting online. Not only should you make your presentation more visual, but you should also add interactivity (in a way that you can only achieve through virtual tools) and clear calls to action to make your virtual keynote more effective than in-person events. 

Elena Valentine: Start with a story 

Nothing draws an audience in like a good story. This is something Elena Valentine takes to heart as the CEO of workplace media company Skill Scout Films. Stories can help you capture attention quickly, as well as humanize your content and make it more relevant to your audience. 

“What we most want when we are engaging in a presentation is not for people to just lean in but for people to feel something,” Elena adds. “Stories inevitably help us make emotional connections.” That emotional element is a key part of our virtual presentation framework, and will often make the difference between a good presentation and a great one. 

Russell Anderson-Williams: Stand while you present

One of the main challenges with virtual presentations is that you’re working with limited real estate, which can hinder how much your audience is actually comprehending. That’s why Russell Anderson-Williams, the founder of presentation design company The Prezenter, emphasizes the importance of standing while presenting. 

In particular, he points to the “7-38-55” rule, which states that 7 percent of meaning is conveyed through spoken word, 38 percent from your tone of voice, and a whopping 55 percent from your body language. When you sit, Russell argues, you cut off 55 percent of what you’re trying to say. Standing during virtual presentations allows you to use your body language and create a much more compelling presentation. 

FUJI (Tomohiro Yoshifuji): Think outside the box (or the screen)

Even among the talented people who make up the Virtual Presentation Innovators, FUJI stands out as one of the most inventive, which is why he was one of our 2020 Staff Picks and a Prezi Awards winner. In this short clip, FUJI demonstrates that clever imagery and positioning can lead to something that feels more like magic than software. 

Try some of his tricks, such as incorporating your background into your virtual presentations or using hand gestures to “unlock” your content and amaze your audience. See even more of FUJI’s work and discover more inventive virtual presentation tips with his presentation agency, Re-Presentation

Jessica Chen: Focus on online engagement

You may be ready for in-person meetings again, but video calls won’t be going away anytime soon. “Even if you are back to normal, if you’re engaging with other businesses that are still remote, you’re still going to need to learn how to communicate well over video,” says Jessica Chen.  

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But don’t worry — as an Emmy Award-winning journalist and founder of business communications agency Soulcast Media, Jessica knows how to keep your audience paying attention to any online meeting. In her Prezi video, she pinpoints the challenges you’ll face when leading a discussion, giving a presentation, or interacting one-on-one, and offers solutions to help you present more effectively. 

Rich Mulholland: Activate your audience

For Rich Mulholland, a renowned global speaker and founder of presentation agency Missing Link, audience engagement is absolutely crucial, whether it’s on a virtual event, a video conference, or even a piece of asynchronous communication. But there are too many cases where presenters underutilize their audience. 

“How often has your time been completely and utterly wasted because someone didn’t respect your attention?” he asks. 

In his video, Rich explains that to keep audiences engaged, you need to balance relevant content with functional technology and effective presenters. If you’re missing any of those parts, you’ll only make people confused, frustrated, or bored. By bringing together these elements, though, you’ll be able to truly activate your audience: “An activated audience doesn’t just sit there and take notes,” he adds. “They take actions.”  

Mandy Schild: Establish your virtual brand 

Your virtual presentation is a great way to drive awareness of your brand and values, but you shouldn’t stop there — your entire online presence is vital in driving business success. To help you get started, Mandy Schild, a Presentation Specialist at Present Savvy, spoke with Julia Carter, a Virtual Team Trainer at Zestfor, on the importance of building a cohesive virtual brand.

While you can’t control what your audience thinks about your brand, you can control what they experience. Learn the five-step process to really establish yourself in the virtual space and create positive interactions with your audience. 

But wait, there’s more! This video is only part one of a three-part series. Be sure to check out the rest of the series to learn about other aspects of virtual communication and for more virtual presentation tips. 

Dave McKeown: Learn from Peloton 

At first glance, Peloton doesn’t seem like an especially relevant place to look for virtual presentation tips, but Dave McKeown, the founder of Outfield Leadership, sees interesting parallels. 

“I’m a big believer in taking inspiration and guidance from areas outside of our typical fields,” he states. “And the world of home fitness over the last 12 months or so has done a really good job at engaging with the participants during their sessions.” 

In his Prezi video, he highlights the things that Peloton does that you can apply to your own virtual presentations, such as providing recognition, laying out a clear plan, building community and trust, allowing the audience to practice, and providing time for reflection. 

Brian Fanzo: Make it interactive 

The above advice from our Virtual Presentation Innovators helps you get in the right mindset when it comes to presenting online, but Brian Fanzo, a keynote speaker and founder of iSocialFanz, takes it a step further. You may have already seen some of his other stunning videos, but now he takes you behind the scenes and provides a clear walkthrough of creating a virtual presentation in Prezi Video. 

You’ll not only get a step-by-step guide, you’ll also better understand why Brian makes certain design choices, and how he factors in interactivity during the creation process. 

Whether you’re giving an online sales pitch, updating your company, or presenting a keynote on a virtual conference, these expert virtual presentation tips will help you create a presentation that stands out and resonates. Find even more inspiration by checking out our Video Gallery, and get started with Prezi Video for your next virtual presentation.  

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