Making an Engaging Virtual Presentation

With everything moving online this year, we've learned there are some specific techniques to help make every presentation shine. 

Tip #1

Keep people engaged. If it's a long presentation, take a breaks and don't just wait for the end for questions. Ask if people have questions along the way because after about ten minutes people tend to disconnect. Some things you can do are:

  • use polls
  • ask people to respond in the chat
  • have them raise their electronic hand so they can speak then call on them in order
  • use the participant list to interact with your participants by name
  • often people will type something in the chat that you can add to or reinforce; it's a good idea to read the comment before responding or adding to it.

Try not to speak for more than ten minutes without some audience engagement.

Tip #2

If possible, have someone monitor your chats. Though doable, without practice it's a challenge to deliver the content and monitor the chat.

Tip #3

Be animated and look alive! It is similar to being on TV. 

Tip #4

Here are several tips related to delivery:

  • Practice delivering the presentation beforehand and time it. You can even record yourself to study where the rough spots are.
  • Be sure to give yourself enough time to take questions: it's better to finish a few minutes early having delivered everything you wanted than running late and not finishing your presentation.
  • Be sure to give people time to digest what you are saying. Speaking too fast is a really common problem. Remember that this is new information to your audience and they need processing time for their brains to absorb it.

Tip #5

Look directly into the camera—not the picture of you on your screen. Put the camera at eye level and make sure your shoulders and part of your upper torso are visible so that you aren't intimidating.

Tip #5

Wear simple clothing. Stripes and patterns can create a moiré pattern that is difficult to watch.

Tip #6

Use a diffused indirect light; don't stand in direct sunlight or point the light directly at your self. 

Tip #7

Your background should be uncluttered and simple.

Tip #8

Keep your slides simple and use large text. Many people are watching using their laptops and small text is just hard to read on them. Look for you most complicated slides and split them into two. It's better to have more slides with bigger text and fewer graphics.

TIp #9

If possible, plug in with a wire instead of using wifi.

Tip #10

Practice ahead of time with the conference tool during one of the practice sessions. In this case, we are using Hopin.