The pandemic has forever changed the way we communicate and connect, making virtual presentations part of our daily lives. While we have great knowledge of how to do on-site presentations, in the virtual space we connect differently and therefore demand a special presentation skill set.
This blog article recaps the main arguments from a LinkedIn Live with Karin Reed (On-Camera Coach | Communication Expert) and Barbara Covarrubias Venegas (Founder #virtualspacehero) on how to rock your virtual presentation.
While speaking through a webcam might be new to much of the world, karin has been teaching business professionals how to be effective on-camera communicators for nearly a decade, translating her experience as an Emmy-award winning broadcast journalist and on-camera spokesperson into a methodology based upon the MVPs of On-Camera Success™. She has been quoted as a thought leader by various prestigious publications, including Inc. Magazine, Fast Company, Business Insider and Forbes.
Her most recent book, Suddenly Virtual: Making Remote Meetings Work, written with meeting scientist, Dr. Joseph Allen, was even featured by McKinsey & Co in their “Author Talks” series, showcasing the latest best-selling business books.
Connect with Karin on LinkedIn here
🧠What does it mean to find the Right Mental Mindset On-Camera?
We all know that having the right mental mindset is crucial when holding a presentation, be it on-site or on-camera. No matter how many people are in your audience, they always feel like you are talking just to them. Considering a presentation as a one-to-one conversation brings you closer to the audience, whereas staying in the presenter mode tends to create distance.
The right mental mindset on-camera means…
➡️ Thinking about your audience as one person.
➡️Visualizing your viewer. Choosing a person that represents your audience will allow you to act more naturally on camera.
➡️Being aware that you reach your audience through your camera. In many ways, the camera in online meetings presents a portal to the people. Don’t forget to pull your focus and energy through the camera lens.
🤔What is important when thinking about body language?
When talking about body language in virtual presentations, the best advice is to do what your frame size allows you to do.
Be aware that the way your frame yourself creates either closeness or distance between you and your conversation partner. Generally, it can be said that the less your audience can see your body, the closer they will feel to you as a conversation partner. Depending on how close or far you are to your camera, you will either have more or less room to gesture. On a tight shot for example it can be distracting to have your hands in the frame all the time. However, if you are a hand talker, allow yourself to use your hands but try to keep them a bit lower.
If you are on a wider shot being framed from the waist up, you have more room to gesture as you have more space.
In the end, it all comes back to considering the conversation space that you are creating and aligning it with the gestures that would be appropriate in that environment.
“Focus on your message and your body will follow.”
💥How can you keep your audience engaged for more than 7 minutes?
While all our lives we have been conditioned to deal with screens passively, like we do when we watch TV or movie, virtual meetings force us to fight this default stance of being passive observers wanting us to be active participants.
Let’s have a look at four practices that help you keep your audience engaged:
💡Engage your audience by making it do something
Whether you work with direct engagement through a poll or with indirect contribution by asking a rhetorical question – it`s all about avoiding your audience falling into a mode of a passive observer. Put your audience at the centre of your content. Using phrases like “Imagine your last..” is a great strategy to make your audience think about what you say and make them stay engaged with the topic.
💡Don’t hide behind your slides
If you are using slides, make sure you don’t hide behind them as it diminishes the level of engagement that people have during a virtual presentation. That said, get savvy at being able to move in and out of sharing your screen. Be aware that even if a slide initially helps to impart information, there comes a point where the slide is no longer being absorbed and therefore becomes a resting spot for the eyes of your audience. The only way out of that is to take the slide away and the people back on the screen.
💡Ask people to turn on their camera
Whenever possible, ask people to participate with their cameras on. This not only makes your audience more active participants, it furthermore makes them more accountable and focused.
💡Use the Chat Feature
Be aware that participation takes on different forms in the virtual space. If you are hosting a meeting in which people connect without a webcam, the chat function can be a great way to let participants add their input. As a host, weave in the chat in the verbal discussion and vocalise what others contribute in text form.
🪄3 Ways to Create a Webcam Setup that Wows
✨Set up your webcam correctly
Allow yourself to sit high in the frame by positioning yourself in the middle and leaving equal space on both sides. For the three-finger test, take three fingers and stack them over your head. This is the amount of space you should have between the top of your head and the upper line of your frame. Finally, position your webcam in a way that it points straight back and is not showing the ceiling.
Communication is a lot about reading each other’s facial expressions. Therefore, you must make it as easy as possible for your audience to read your face. A ring light can be a great tool to optimise your front lighting making sure your face gets illuminated evenly.
✨Optimise your audio
You won’t rock your virtual presentation if you are not heard properly by your audience. Investing in an external microphone allows your audio to be louder and clearer. Additionally, it blocks out the background noise and minimizes distractions bringing your communication to the next level.
Overall, mastering the art of presenting oneself in the virtual space is crucial for team leaders, members, and speakers. It enhances professionalism, communication skills, relationship-building abilities, and adaptability, ultimately leading to career success and the ability to make a meaningful impact in the digital world.
A strong virtual presence instills confidence in team members and audiences, establishing credibility and professionalism. By presenting yourself effectively, you demonstrate your expertise, knowledge, and commitment, which can enhance trust and respect from others.