6 ways to boost your virtual presentation skills

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Virtual presentation skills are absolutely crucial in today’s workforce, but it’s not always easy to know how to develop them. Unlike in-person meetings, it’s easier for your audience to tune out or start multitasking if they get the slightest bit bored during your presentation, and it’s not hard to imagine that happening. After all, screen sharing is ingrained in the way we present online, but once the shared content takes over, your audience loses sight of your body language and facial cues.

We’ve started seeing more speakers and event hosts turn to Prezi Video to solve that issue — by sharing the screen with their content, they’re able to create more engaging virtual experiences. Watch the videos below for inspiration, and read on to learn new online presentation skills and improve the way you present virtually. 

virtual presentation

Choose the right lighting and background

The lighting and background are like your outfits during your online presentation. Bad lighting obscures your face and disconnects you from your audience. Make sure that you’re facing the light because straight-on is the best angle for just about everyone (especially with natural light, but a lamp works as well).  Keep in mind that your audience’s eyes will wander over your background during your presentation. Your background should add to your professional presence and match the content that you’re sharing. If you think your room is messy, try to use a Prezi virtual background to overlay an image or blur your background. Consider adding a name tag and using a branded template to incorporate your brand’s design into your presentations. 

virtual meeting with good lighting

Position your camera to make eye contact  

One of the most common virtual presentation skills that people will recommend is to make eye contact with your audience, but when you’re not able to actually see your audience in person, you have to fake it. Focus on making your audience feel connected and engaged. Look directly at your camera instead of your notes, your own face on the screen, or other participants. Position your camera at eye level so that you don’t need to lower or raise your head to find the camera. If you want to stand to feel more energetic while presenting, use a standing desk that helps you maintain your computer at eye level. When you’re not speaking, be mindful of your facial emotion in front of the camera.

position the camera at eye level to make eye contact  

Practice, practice, practice 

Practice makes perfect. Spending time preparing and practicing your presentation is the best and most straightforward way to improve your online presentation skills. You will feel much more relaxed and confident during your online presentation if you’ve done enough practice beforehand.

virtual presentation cartoon

Add visual variety to capture attention  

As more people turn to virtual events to reach their audiences, one of the biggest challenges is standing out and getting others to tune in. In global speaker Richard Mulholland’s webinar on becoming an amazing public speaker, he demonstrates how to present in a way that’s captivating for the entire runtime. Watch his video here:

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Key takeaways: Simply having content next to you on the screen is already more engaging than screen sharing, but Richard takes it a step further. He uses a mix of images, text, and graphics to add some visual flair to his virtual presentation, and then takes advantage of the entire screen by displaying these visuals on either side of him or along the bottom. The result is a virtual presentation that feels more dynamic and compelling than traditional webinars. 

Use visual aids to make your content memorable 

Your audience is likely inundated with videos to watch and sessions to attend, so unless you can make your virtual presentation impactful, people will immediately move on to the next piece of content afterward. Check out this example from keynote speaker Carla Johnson, in which she talks about innovation among B2B marketers, to see how she makes her message memorable:

Key takeaways: One of the risks of filling your screen with text is that your audience will end up reading instead of listening (or they may try to do both and miss a lot of key information). To combat this, Carla uses clear visuals and minimal text throughout, which helps reinforce her message without dividing the audience’s attention. 

She also summarizes her main points again at the end of her talk, complete with an accompanying on-screen graphic, to drive home her message and leave viewers with something to take away. 

Interact with the audience to build a connection 

Talking through a monitor, even when everyone’s on camera, can still lead to video conference fatigue. However, virtual presentations also offer the opportunity to connect on a more personal level with your audience. Just take a look at this session on personal growth and success with career coach Diana YK Chan for a prime example of effectively engaging viewers:

Key takeaways: By using Prezi Video to stay on the screen throughout the session, Diana stays connected with her audience and is able to convey more meaning through facial cues and hand gestures. Additionally, instead of only answering questions at the end of her session, Diana interacts with the audience consistently, asking questions and even displaying answers on the screen in real time. This way she can build rapport and keep everyone engaged, even in a longer session. 

There are also many other ways you can improve your virtual presentation skills, including building a home studio, understanding the goal of your presentation, storytelling, using a variety of presentation modes, smiling, and more. Discover more ​​presentation tips and improve your virtual presentation skills by watching this video from Prezi’s content editor Naba Ahmed:

With so much video content already out there, now’s the time to improve your virtual presentation skills and stand out from the crowd. If you’re speaking at an upcoming virtual event or conference and want to work with us on a stellar presentation, feel free to reach out to us at prezieditors@prezi.com to learn more.

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