3 tips for better online presentations

Some people are very good public speakers. Others are terrified of speaking in public. But none of these groups exalt Zoom presenters or similar online platforms.

The idea itself seems embarrassing. You have to talk to your computer for a certain period of time, wondering what impression you are giving to the audience that you often do not see.

But according to a communications trainer, Sarah Gershman, this is not necessarily the case. She says online presentations can be made much less embarrassing, with a few minor tweaks:

Use Chat
Real-world presentations usually begin with a short presentation and a round of greetings or applause. The speaker then introduces himself to the topic.

How to start a webinar or regular presentation? Dealing with the equipment or the presenter asking, “Does everyone hear me?” The whole thing starts to get embarrassing from the start. The way we can fix this, according to Gershman, is to recreate this sense of interaction of a normal presentation using the chat function.

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“You can start with a relevant question and ask people in the chat to answer you. For example, you can ask everyone to write something they hope to learn from the presentation, ”she says. Read some of the answers (using the names of the people who wrote if you can). When you engage with the audience from the beginning, it feels like people are listening to you, which boosts your confidence for the rest of the presentation.

do as much as possible
That probably sounds like weird advice. After all, the whole problem is that online presentation makes it difficult to keep alive the interaction between the presenter and the audience. But Greshman says that, despite the limitations of technology, presenters need to show that they are aware that real people are listening.

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“One way to simulate the lively nature of a conversation is to ask rhetorical questions during the presentation. For example, when you introduce a new idea, you might say, “Are you ready to try something new?”

The conversation is one-sided, but these gestures may be enough to keep your audience engaged and the speaker not all anxious.

Practice empathy
Some speaking tips are as essential as they work in any format – they are even more important for online presentations. One of these is empathy.

One of the main TED curators’ suggestions for speakers, for example, is to remember that everyone is on your side. The public is not there to judge you. They are there to learn from you, and it is your duty to serve them. The key to keeping your composure as a speaker, in other words, is to try to put yourself in the audience’s shoes.

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Gershman believes empathy is especially important when presentations are made online. “Keep in mind that it is difficult and tedious to listen to a virtual presentation,” she advises. By practicing empathy with your virtual audience, you shift the focus from yourself (and what others think of you), which eases the anxiety of speaking. Empathy also helps you design a presentation that better helps your audience and serves their needs. ”

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