As a result of the global pandemic, most of us have had to present on Zoom, Skype or Teams. Even when things go back to "normal", chances are a hybrid work environment between office and home will take place. And that means, more presenting online.
There are clear disadvantages to presenting online. From technology issues and poor connection, to being unable to fully use your body language, to not having the same level of human engagement. After all, you are quite literally talking to pixels on a screen.
But virtual presenting has a number of opportunities too. Here, HelpMePresent's founder Niluka Kavanagh considers three.
You can depend on your notes more
When presenting in person, I typically advise my clients to have a few small prompt flashcards with key bullets of what they want to address. For presenting beginners, this may include fuller sentences and paragraphs if they are starting out in the world of presenting.
When presenting online however, you have the added benefit of a screen which you can put your notes on. The result? There's less concern around depending too much on your notes, or looking down at them too often. Instead you can remain centred, focused and "facing" your audience, if you have all your notes on the screen in front of you. No one will notice, as long as you make sure to scroll the document so your eye is always reading at the same level/place on the screen (ideally near the top so it's closest to the webcam). A real hack worth trying.
It's probably less scary
A second major benefit is that presenting to a large audience online is far less intimidating than in person. I recently presented virtually to 800 people at the professional services firm KPMG, where I work. This was pretty intimidating - but far less so than if I had 800 faces staring in front of me in a large auditorium. If stage-fright is something you struggle with when presenting, a virtual environment may be the opportunity you need to start practicing in a less threatening context. You are in the comfort of your own home, after all.
There's more opportunity for interactivity
On the face of it, in-person presenting should lend itself to far more audience interactivity. But typically it's left only until the Q&A at the end. By contrast, online presenting carries with it the opportunity to engage your audience far more. From online polls, to chat boxes, to collaboration tools, there are specific mechanisms that help create engagement and interactivity throughout your presentation. Poll's in particular present a brilliant chance to gain a litmus test on your audience's thoughts and feelings on a topic in a way that would be hard to gauge in person (most people feel much more comfortable completing an anonymous poll on a screen than being asked directly in front of everyone). Use these additional interactive tools when presenting online to create engagement and interest in your audience.
Do you think online presenting has more benefits? Comment below if so! For 1-1 practice and feedback with virtual presenting, reach out to book a session today.
HelpMePresent is the tutoring of presenting. We offer 1-1, flexible, accessible sessions that can be easily booked, including packages specifically for women and international speakers. Click to book now.