Making presentations remotely, when you don’t have visual cues from an audience, is a part of our new collective reality. APIW recently featured a webinar with John Rahmlow who gave us some tips and tricks when delivering content virtually. He started off by asking the group if they could think of a great studio musician who gave poor live performances (or the opposite – sluggish record sales but an incredible concert – think bands like The Grateful Dead). Speaking is like music; the virtual event is very different from in-person or written delivery.
It’s important to make your presentation as interactive as possible, using polls or asking participants to make use of a Q&A or chat feature. In this way, people are less likely to be checking their emails or otherwise distracted during your talk. Along these lines, don’t put weblinks or other resources for participants to check out at the beginning of your presentation – if you do, there’s a good chance you’ll lose some of your audience to those other resources immediately rather than after the presentation!
Stand up when speaking to project from your diaphragm and to have a more natural cadence. Standing also gives a speaker the ability to talk with more energy and passion! Oprah Winfrey is a shining example of using energy while speaking.
There were a lot of great questions for John, including what to do if there’s a technical glitch. John suggested that you can acknowledge the issue, and even ask your audience how they’d prefer to proceed, such as by postponing the presentation, or going on without slides (audio only), etc. In this way, the audience can be empathetic to the situation and a part of the solution.