Mastering the art of presenting well virtually

It’s been a while for what many thought would be temporary, remote work. Some of us have been doing it for years. Still, that was a blend of virtual and in-person engagement. Today, many are most comfortable with the virtual environment, from a safety perspective, and yet a lot of people are not comfortable from a presenting perspective. 

Here are a few tips from the book Remote Work Rockstar (which I wrote, with Barb Zant, and published in May) for mastering the art of presenting yourself, and ideas, best when your platform is virtual:

Remember email, phone, text, video are all virtual so give yourself credit—you have been successful at virtual for some time now.

Schedule the meeting at a time that is best for the client, customer or prospect rather than when is best for you so that you are being considerate of what may be going on with them at this time.

When you enter the conversation, establish and share a goal, set and use an agenda ahead of time and then create a presentation that is what your audience of one, or many, wants (and deserves) to get.

Consider it a presentation, not just a meeting, so prepare, practice and be ready with your best rather than “jumping on” and sharing your screen.

As tempting as it is to be doing more than one thing at a time when presenting and when engaged in presenting ideas, even if there is no screen share, limit distractions and resist switch-tasking (there is no true multitasking) where your brain and energy have to go from one idea back to another repeatedly.

Build your slides with Animation and Appear in PowerPoint, as a full screen in person is bad and a full screen in a virtual environment screams “Tune out for a minute, this is going to be long.” The build is the conversational gate or pacing for you.

Use a deck and do not send it ahead. You may, after a virtual meeting, send it as part of your follow-through. Sending it ahead takes out the experience of your presentation and minimizes the information down to data. You are the presentation. You can, and are, encouraged to bounce back in from the slide share to speak and engage before returning to the share. This encourages conversation, much like during an in-person meeting.

Think and speak in less “I,” “Me,” “My,” and use more “You,” “Yours,” “Ours,” in your statements and your mindset. This is about working together, so ensure that it is conveyed. Even when selling a product or service, the collaborative approach is relationship-building, where the “Here’s what I have for you,” methodology is off-putting.

Lead, and guide, versus direct in your language as you take ownership of responsibilities. People are taxed enough as they attempt to move forward in their business. Respecting you may feel similarly, if you set up the next steps, and provide a summary, you are bringing ease to doing business with you.

Finally, consider sending attendees gift cards to a local restaurant so everyone can be enjoying something at the same time or have food delivered to the participants. When you ask them their favorite local spot, you’ll be supporting another business and having the sense of being together through a shared experience.

While presenting live is best, make the most of your virtual opportunities by welcoming video, embracing the chance to “see” others and providing your best you as you drive your reputation, and your business, ahead through remote work efforts. ♦

Debbie Lundberg is the founder of her Florida-based firm, Presenting Powerfully, where the focus is “Reversing the Slobification” of America with effective communication, professional behaviors and thriving relationships. This happens through four offerings: keynotes and talks, strategy and facilitation, teaming and training, and consulting and executive presence coaching. Additionally, Lundberg co-hosts “The Business Of Life Master Class Podcast” with her colleague and broadcast partner. A published author, certified life coach, certified leadership coach and certified image consultant, Lundberg’s latest book, Remote Work Rockstar: How to work and lead successfully in a virtual environment, was released in May 2020 and is available through LuLu Press (lulu.com) or directly via her website, debbielundberg.com

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