Top Tips for Presenting Online
Top Tips for Presenting Online
With ‘online’ being part of the New Business Normal, we thought we’d share some of our experience of working online to help anyone who may need some support. So we’ve created a month’s worth of daily Top Tips for Online Presenting. We hope that you find them useful.
Always the first question: What’s your objective? Whether you’re selling, having a meeting, or an interview – whatever you’re doing, being clear about what you want and what your audience wants, is essential to good preparation online.
Think about your audience; a must, if you’re selling. Always start where they are. If you know them, what’s on their minds right now? If you don’t, what’s their situation likely to be? See it from their viewpoint. Next steps tomorrow.
Work out a plan of approach; don’t just wing it. Write it down. Allow more time for online; people need more time to react and it’s harder for some to interject, particularly if you’re strong and vocal.
If it’s a meeting, why are you holding it? Be clear about your agenda. How could you make it useful for everyone? Give them time to write down their goals, then go to them individually. And then listen, without interruption.
Harder to read the ‘mood’ of a meeting or prospects online. You’ll get it from what they say, and what they don’t say. Ask good open questions. Then wait. Have some patience. Become a good listener – are you the best listener you know?
For an interview, take time for good prep so you can focus on the candidate; don’t just think: what’s the next question? Harder to read them online so look/listen for all the clues: surroundings, dress, tone of voice, as well as what they say.
If you’re selling, what’s your objective? Which step of the sales process are you in? Rapport building? Qualification & Discovery? Presenting and Convincing? Creating Desire? Closing? Tomorrow, why Rapport is the most important step.
Whatever you’re doing, you’re always in the Rapport step; lose Rapport and you’ll lose the sale. Start with ‘how are things?’ They will have changed since last you spoke. Tomorrow, the one important area you may forget.
Watch your background; it doesn’t have to be an empty shell, but do move any clutter. It sends a signal about who and how you are. If you’re looking to persuade or influence me, I’ll notice any mess. Tomorrow, what to put there instead.
Speaking of backgrounds, don’t overfill it, but can you get a plant in there, or a picture, or some books. And don’t apologise for anything there; it only draws attention to it. Tomorrow, what are you wearing?
Don’t forget your dress. Ok, you may not want business dress, but you can still look as though you’ve made an effort. And don’t forget the bottom half, in case you have to get up to close the door or put the cat out! Tomorrow, a warning!
Do warn others in the household that you’re online with some important stuff, so they don’t wander in half-dressed – it has happened! Tomorrow, it’s all about your eyes.
Get your camera up to your eye level, or just above. Remember to look into the camera when you’re speaking; otherwise they just see you looking down as you look at your screen. Tomorrow, to sit or to stand?
Most speakers will be seated; so sit up, feet flat on the floor, look awake and interested. If you choose to stand, your voice will have more energy; big advantage. Keep a strong stance and keep looking at the camera. More on voice tomorrow.
Online you’ll need to work harder to make your voice more interesting. If it’s important, make the time to practice, out loud, at least the day before. Record yourself on your phone. Sounding ok? If not, change it. Tomorrow, how to do that.
3 things make an immediate difference to your voice: Pausing – don’t be afraid to pause more; more emphasis on certain words; and more energy, generally. Do some running on the spot to get your energy moving. Tomorrow, it’s about slides.
If you’re using slides, have them ready to share. And leave your video on; don’t hide behind the slides; seeing your video builds trust and rapport. Tomorrow, how to make your slides more interesting.
Make your slides more interesting; your audience will be looking at them for longer. Experiment with more pics and graphics, not more bullet points. Take close-up photos of stuff around. Add more slides – it won’t cost any more…
Watch the time. Allow a few moments for people to arrive; ask how they are, then get on with it; we all prefer that. And finish on time. if you have to run over the agreed time, then get their OK before you get there. Tomorrow, what people want.
Remember that people buy with emotion and justify with logic, even in business. However good your logic is, you’re going to have to ‘move them’ with emotion as well. Stories are a great way of doing that. Tomorrow, what stories?
You’ll want good stories if you’re selling. Don’t make them up and keep them short. Talk about happy customers; how the product came into being; how it works, brilliantly. How quickly can you say it and keep it interesting? Tomorrow the facts.
Bring your facts alive: make them interesting; make them beneficial. What do the numbers mean? What are they relative to? What’s the trend? Don’t allow your audience to think: ‘so what; where are we going with this?’
It’s more difficult to get feedback online than if you were presenting in person. Leave space for some good questions, then wait. Open questions are always good, but choose them well. Tomorrow, some examples.
Open questions (what, how, where, tell me about…) are usually better than closed (does it, would you, has it….) e.g. What do you think? Or Where do we go next? Or What would be of interest? Tomorrow, the value of closed questions.
Most of us use too many closed questions, because it’s a habit. But they do have a value when you want to confirm or summarise, e.g. ‘Has that happened before?’ Or ‘So, in summary, you’d like…. Is that right?’ Plan your questions before the session.
People will be distracted; your presentation may not be the only thing on their minds right now. Don’t get upset; just pause and wait for their attention to return. Or ask a good question. Tomorrow the first of 4 keys to a great presentation.
Check your presentation against the 4 keys of great presentations. First, is it Interesting? Would you get their attention with your presentation? Would anyone stop to listen to you in a busy exhibition hall? No 2 tomorrow.
2nd key to a great presentation; is it Clear? Do they understand what you’re saying? Do they really get it? So now we’ve got Interesting and Clear. No 3 tomorrow.
3rd key to a great presentation; is it Relevant? How does it apply to them? Do they get its significance? So now we’ve got Interesting, Clear and Relevant. No 4 tomorrow – this is the special one.
4th key: is it Compelling? If you want behaviour change, you’ll need to be compelling. If you left half-way, would they bring you back, or let you go? So, Interesting; Clear; Relevant; Compelling? How does your presentation measure up?