You might think that giving an online presentation training would be a snap. Then you realize it involves standing up in front of a roomful of people and talking -- a thing that consistently ranks among the top fears for most people.
But there are many pitfalls along the way to developing a good presentation. It behooves you and your team to know what they are, and to avoid the mistakes that rookies make.
How Online Presentations Differ From In-Person Ones
Obviously, the main difference between online and in-person presentations is that you're not meeting physically in one place. How you communicate with all the participants may vary.
From a conference call where you're all looking at e-mailed materials, to a presentation via one of the popular collaborative software packages, such as join.me or Go-To-Meeting. The software offers the advantage of checking on who has shown up, and also making sure everyone is looking at the right slide.
Some other things to be mindful of:
- Some collaborators may be in different time zones; make sure they all understand when the presentation will take place. You may need to provide start and end times for key time zones around the globe.
- Provide internet and computer access requirements so participants can determine in advance if they are likely to have any technical problems. And, do plan for how you may respond to anyone with technical or access problems. You might give them a contact link so they can seek help.
- Remind everyone to show up on time. It's annoying to the rest of the group to arrive on time and have to wait for laggards. Choose an online tool that has calendaring features that can alert people about meeting time. Start without them if they are not present.
Tips for a Good Presentation
Here are some time-tested tips for a good presentation.
Avoid text-laden, complex slides that are hard to read. The slides should not contain every single point you need to make, but should be a brief, topical summary of the main points -- easy to read at a glance, and therefore easier to remember.
Simplify material. Make it concise and easy to understand. Slides should have 3-4 minutes of material; more than 15-18 slides could overwhelm. Run through the presentation before you meet with your team, making sure it's assembled in a logical sequence that clearly delivers the information. Record yourself on the collaborative software so you can review your presentation skills. You may need to slow down or speed up. Be sure to speak clearly.
Add graphics. Don't just type up a stream of text, slide after slide. Break it up with graphics, tables, charts, whatever you can find. This increases interest and breaks up the gray look of too many words. However, don't go in the opposite direction and load your presentation down with too many images, gifs, emojis, or long videos.
Lighten up. If you can find a way to inject a bit of levity into your presentation, your collaborators will appreciate it. Laughter helps people relax, and can even help increase attentiveness. Tell some stories and give some examples of what you're talking about.
Encourage collaboration through messaging. This will help you understand how engaged the group is. Messaging prevents interruptions.
Make a plan for action steps. The time to create action steps is not during the presentation. But do conclude your presentation by summarizing the need for actions steps, and invite collaboration, based on the material presented, as a follow-up to the presentation.
Reserve time for questions. If the presentation is an hour in length, you might allow 15 minutes for questions. Be mindful to intervene (kindly but firmly) and prevent needless rambling and repetition.
End on time. Don't let the session run past the agreed end point. Your attendees may have different meetings or other work to get to. You can take questions and answer them later, sharing them online, if you didn't have time to get to them all.
Get some training. Whether it's you giving the presentation, or the people you manage, everyone can benefit from training.
Train Your Team for Better Presentations
Polished online presentation skills will help your employees gain confidence that can help your business gain a competitive edge by communicating your message the way you want it done. While your team may possess fine technical skills, training can help them develop their abilities to: speak clearly and articulately; organize and write a logical narrative; and work with graphics and text to create a professional-looking product.
If you're interested in your team improving their online presentations, why not enroll them in Infotec's presentation trainings in various skills that can hone their abilities? To learn more, contact Infotec today!