Glossophobia or the fear of public speaking is very common. In fact, some experts estimate that 77% of people get anxious at the thought of having to present. It’s not surprising then that having to speak in a new environment, such as a virtual presentation makes it even scarier for some.
With in-person presentations, you more or less have a captive audience — you still need to be engaging, but your audience is kind of stuck with you for the duration. But with virtual presentations, your audience has a greater opportunity to stray. You now have to compete for their eyes, ears, hearts, and minds against diminished attention spans, increased home and work-life distractions, and conflicting priorities.
It’s not about a learning a whole new set of presentation skills but being confident in the ones you have and fine-tuning them for the virtual world.
Here are 7 ways you can smash any virtual presentation:
- Get the lighting right – I’m surprised at the number of people I speak to online where they’re in darkness, or the pictures grainy or the sun through the window is blinding. Be aware of the time of day and ensure you have good light in front of you.
- Get close – make sure that you’re close enough for the screen to frame your head, neck, and shoulders. People engage with faces and want to see yours. Try to look at the camera rather than individual’s faces as then you appear to others to be looking straight at them. If you can get a suitable structure, standing up also gives you more confidence and energy levels.
- Beware the internet demons! – if possible plug directly into your modem using an Etherent cable as there’s nothing worse than seeing your face frozen in an unflattering pose.
- Practice, practice, practice – I’m not just referring to learning your words here but you also need to practice working with the technology, and the pace, pitch, and tone of your voice. If you think of the time it takes you to write your presentation, that should be 40% of your effort and the other 60% goes into practice
- Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm – the jitters and butterflies before a presentation are as much down to excitement as they are to nerves. I find that standing in a power pose or listening to loud 80’s music really builds my energy to be focused and enthusiastic
- The audience is on your side – one of the most common fears I hear about presenting is that people feel the audience is secretly waiting to laugh at their mistakes. Fortunately, this isn’t the case in the vast majority of presentations as the audience actually wants to see you succeed. Think back to the last virtual presentation you heard, did the idea of judging them negatively occur to you?
- Engage with your audience – there are so many distractions when everyone is in different locations that engaging the audience is even more important in a virtual presentation. Ask people to answer questions in the chat area and then you read out and comment on the chats using their names. Get them to raise their hands or use a poll to maintain their concentration. If you’d find it difficult to multi-task get the support of another attendee before the session to monitor the chat and hands raised.
I hope these ideas help you to confidently give your next presentation. If presenting is a skill that you struggle with do contact me as I’d love to share some other strategies with you.
P.S. I’d love to talk to you about your career challenges and get you clarity and some next steps. You can book a no charge call here.