We’re living in an exceptional time; an extraordinary moment in everyone’s lives. At first, 2020 marked the beginning of a new decade, but it quickly showed us that this triviality of the Western calendar would only be a footnote compared to the great event that awaited us.
The reality is that we are going through a pandemic. A genuine war!
COVID-19, more commonly known as coronavirus, came into our lives suddenly and took away many of the freedoms and rights we thought were untouchable until now.
The world as we know it has stopped, and we go about our routine from home now. Fortunately, and unlike what has happened other times with other pandemics, this new world is equipped with tools that allow us to be connected as a society.
This means that we do not and should not stand still. Our social life and work keep happening, only in a different way for which we were not prepared. We just need to adapt.
We’re taking this new reality into account and thinking about your professional life, especially your presentations, so we decided to write this blog post for you.
A document with a number of strategies that will help you have a successful presentation from the comfort of your home.
1. SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE: BE STRATEGIC
Having an online presentation from home is very different from standing live in front of an audience, but, in fact, there are things that don’t change, no matter the format.
1.1. Set a goal
Start by setting a goal for your presentation. There are many kinds of goals, and your goal is not always to sell something. Your goal may be to get the audience to accept a change in the company, or to act differently in light of a problem. There are as many goals as there are presentations. What matters is to know exactly what your goal is.
1.2. Know your audience
The presentation must, under all circumstances, be created in line with the audience. Each audience is unique and particular, and its characteristics and needs must be taken into account when creating any presentation. You should ask things like: Do you know anything about the subject we’re going to talk about? Or is it the first time you’re hearing about it? Are you dynamic or do you have a rather conservative profile? What could I say that would help you solve your problems? Your presentation will only be effective if you are able to reach the audience and “transform it” somehow.
1.3. Write a script
Telling a good story is the best way to engage your audience and to properly convey the idea you want. Whether you’re selling a product, trying to get a project approval, explaining an idea… in the end, your goal is always to get the audience to subscribe to your idea. Stories have the power to move people and make them act, regardless of what that action is. Divide the presentation into 3 parts: introduction, development and conclusion. Make sure you have one main message, one thing people should really bear in mind once you turn off the call.
1.3. Remember the most important thing: creating empathy
Yes, even if you’re tens or hundreds of miles away, you can create empathy with someone. Most people forget an important aspect: to look at the camera when they’re speaking. This will bring a sense of closeness to whoever is listening. You already know the rest: speak with passion with a proper use of your voice and body expressions, just as you would in a meeting room.
2. IF YOU NEED TO, CREATE A PRESENTATION FOCUSED ON A DIGITAL FORMAT
Depending on your purpose and audience, you may or may not need a digital format. Since you and your audience aren’t in the same room, it’s harder to build a connection. Therefore, if you need to visual support for your speech, share your screen when necessary, but make sure it is you people see most of the time. This will help you connect with people and create empathy.
2.1. Highlight key messages
Online presentations have different dynamics from onsite ones. That’s why it’s very important to make them as clean and simple as possible, seeking to highlight key messages to your audience while complementing them orally.
2.2. Create an engaging design
Prioritize the use of images and infographics as tools to bolster messages and improve content comprehension. Also, choose font sizes that suit the devices people will use during the presentation, such as phones, and use neutral colours to avoid contrast.
2.3. Use simple animations
Animations are always a great engagement tool. Use them to create a dynamic presentation. However, don’t exaggerate in volume and complexity, in order to avoid distractions and problems while presenting slides.
3. CREATE A PRESENTATION SET
We already know we don’t live in perfect conditions and not everything will turn out perfect. Relax, we’re all in the same boat. You don’t have an office? Don’t worry, neither do many of us. If your children barge in, act natural. It’s going to happen to most people, after all. Nevertheless, there are things you can do for everything to go as smooth as possible.
3.1. Choose the best place
Find a quiet and distraction-free room in your home, a spacious place with good lighting where you can spend long periods of time without being disturbed.
3.2. Ensure technical conditions
Make sure the place has enough space and means for all work logistics. It’s very important you make sure your internet connection is good. You don’t want your presentation to be unfinished.
3.3. Choose a suitable background
Choose a clean background with simple elements: a wall with a painting or a shelf with books, for example. The idea is to set a mood that doesn’t distract the audience from the person doing the presentation.
3.4. Use a proper headset
We’re talking about online presentations, so it’s crucial to have the best sound possible. We therefore recommend that you use a headset with a good microphone, reducing background noise and increasing the clarity of your speech to the audience.
4. THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT: PREPARE YOURSELF
The one presenting must be the centre of attention, whether live or virtually. There’s no point in everything being ready if you’re not.
4.1. Rehearse your presentation
Rehearse the presentation several times to ensure you know what to say and the dynamics with the computer and the PowerPoint are aligned, so that everything goes smoothly. Rehearsing is mainly used to prepare the brain. When rehearsing, your brain can’t tell real from fake, so, when the time comes, you will react better to uncomfortable situations.
4.2. Get dressed as if you were going to work
Just because you’re presenting from home, that doesn’t mean you should be wearing pyjamas or a messy outfit. Get dressed as if you were going to work and show professionalism, thus making sure the audience isn’t uncomfortable.
4.3. Test all equipment
In any presentation there may be mishaps, especially when they’re made from home. Problems like losing the Internet connection or having your microphone turned unknowingly it are more common than you might think. So, to avoid this kind of situation, test all the equipment before starting the presentation, and make sure that everything is functional and properly prepared.
We believe extraordinary times like these are also opportunities to reinvent the way we look at things and the way we do them.
Take advantage of this time, which is testing our ability, as human and social beings, to evolve, and ensure that when everything returns to normal (because it will), you will be even more prepared for any challenge.
We hope this blog post will help you shine in your next presentation!