Now that more people are working from home, Zoom presentations are becoming a daily staple. Depending on your day, you may sit through multiple Zoom presentations in one day, or give a few yourself, which can eventually lead to a feeling of meeting fatigue. But the real challenge many people have with virtual meetings isn’t the quantity; it’s the fact that it can be hard to distinguish one meeting from another. A presenter might simply share their screen to show you new information, which wouldn’t be that different of an experience than meeting with a colleague to work on a shared screen.
Presenters on Zoom also have difficulties that they never had to experience in person. For starters, the screen just doesn’t have the same impact as a person standing in front of you, and listening in on a presentation by yourself is less exciting and has less emotional impact than being in the same room as the speaker. You also have to remember that your audience is sitting in front of their computers for most of the day, so the temptation to open up other windows and multitask is a lot higher. Not only that, but the things they watch after work on these very same screens tend to have a very high production value that most of us (even the best presenters) cannot dream to compete with.
So with all these challenges, how can presenters improve their Zoom presentations and create engaging, impactful experiences? Here are 5 interactive Zoom presentation tips to help get you started.
Start with a great presentation design
As you start preparing your presentation, take a beat to put on your design thinking cap. Your audience has tuned into your presentation because they want to hear what you have to say, and the design of your presentation plays a big part in keeping them hooked.
The design of your presentation isn’t just about putting colors together and making sure the layout looks nice, though. You need to consider the medium your audience is using to view your presentation. In an age of virtual presentations, your audience is likely tuning in on a small laptop screen (or even a phone screen). That means that text-heavy slides are probably not effective and, conversely, intricate designs could actually be overwhelming.
This is when you can start getting creative with incorporating interactive Zoom presentation ideas into your design. Think about the most engaging content that your audience has access to virtually. Much of it comes from huge steaming platforms, like Netflix and YouTube. What keeps people interested and coming back to these platforms is not the designs or the high-quality production (although those are nice, too) — it’s the storytelling.
Be sure to use storytelling principles in the design of your Zoom presentation. Rather than creating an excessively designed presentation that can easily overwhelm audiences, consider how the design is enhancing the narrative you’re telling. Simple designs can have a huge visual impact when they’re timed well.
Joshua Peterse, a designer at the presentation powerhouse Missing Link, points out that we’re now in the business of designing scenes, not slides. Watch his video to see six examples of using Prezi Video to set the scene and make your presentations more impactful:
As Joshua mentions, Prezi does a good job of incorporating you into your content, and that’s thanks to Prezi Video. Prezi Video is a virtual presentation tool that shows your content next to you as you present. With the ability to connect to Zoom and other top virtual meeting platforms out there, it’s the perfect way to connect with people in remote and hybrid work.
Here are a couple of ways that you can start designing an engaging presentation in Prezi.
Use a professionally designed template
If design isn’t your thing, start with a template. Prezi has over 200 presentation templates to help you get started on anything from sales pitches and training presentations to internal meetings. Customize these with your own content to make them your own.
For more interactive Zoom presentations, use a video template that displays your content next to you on screen. Take a look at the “design thinking template,” for instance:
Reuse slides or a previous presentation
You can edit any presentation made with Prezi, PowerPoint, or Google Slides in Prezi. This allows you to seamlessly bring your existing content with you on screen instead of having to share your screen.
Give everyone in your audience a front row seat
Rich Mulholland, founder of Missing Link, knows the power of face time with your audience. In his Prezi video, he recommends getting right in front of the camera so your audience can see you better. This gives you a chance to show your enthusiasm, expressions, and body language throughout your presentation. Those are the most interesting elements of a presentation that keep people engaged, but they’re easy to leave by the wayside in a Zoom meeting.
Oftentimes, organizers for webinars or virtual presentations will make the mistake of setting up presenters far from the camera and have them face one another when there are multiple presenters. This doesn’t engage audiences, though, and it doesn’t take into account the real benefit of using Zoom for your presentation – that you can give every person in your audience a front-row seat to your presentation.
Watch Rich’s Prezi video, where he describes the significance of being close to the camera and shares other interactive Zoom presentation ideas:
Another great interactive Zoom presentation tip is to incorporate more movement. Adding movement to your presentation is going to spike your audience’s attention, give them a little boost in serotonin, and keep them focused on the screen.
Lorraine Lee, Prezi’s Editorial Director, depicts how powerful movement is in grabbing attention, even compared to static visuals and the presenter. Watch her video on creating engaging virtual presentations to see this example in action and to learn more interactive Zoom presentation tips to keep your audience engaged:
Lorraine recommends at least two slides or movements per minute in a Zoom presentation. These don’t have to be big movements to have a big impact — just enough to add some variety to your presentation and give your audience something new to pay attention to.
There are a lot of ways to add movement to your Zoom presentation, but it’s safe to start with two standbys – GIFs and videos. GIFs are a fun way to elicit an emotional reaction from your audience and to show a little bit of your personality, while video is one of the most popular forms of media out there.
Read our article to learn how to use GIFs and videos in your virtual presentations.
Get your audience involved
No one wants to hear the same person talk for the entire duration of a long meeting, so mix things up by getting your audience to participate. Ask them questions and get them to answer in the chat, raise their hands, or show an on-screen response. What you’re aiming for isn’t just participation for the sake of participation; you want them to interact with your ideas and get closer to the main point of your presentation. That’s what makes this one of the most useful interactive Zoom presentation tips.
To that end, your audience doesn’t need to actually speak in order to get involved with your presentation. Zoom allows your audience to show reactions like a thumbs up or a raised hand. Prezi helps you take this a step further and lets your audience share their own questions, comments, or images on their screens. This way you can read everyone’s screens to get a lay of the land and respond to questions quickly.
See how on-screen responses can get your audience to participate more meaningfully online in this example:
Practice and record yourself
Of course, your presentation is going to go a lot smoother if you feel confident when you deliver it. Practice your presentation before you get in front of the camera to work out all the little details. Get acquainted with the tools you’ll use, like Prezi Video and Zoom, as well as your accessories like the mic, camera, and lighting.
Recording yourself is a good way to view yourself from the audience’s perspective and spot areas of improvement. Try recording your presentation in Prezi Video, where you can practice everything from using your tools to practicing your timing.
As long as people are working remotely or in hybrid offices, Zoom presentations are going to be the standard, so now is a great time to learn how to make them engaging and interactive. Check out the Video Gallery to see more examples of great virtual presentations. Have a helpful interactive Zoom presentation tip of your own? Record a video and tag it with #Zoom for a chance to be featured in the gallery.