5 Best Practices for Presenting Online

5 Best Practices for Presenting Online

As the world (increasingly) shifts to digital-first experiences, companies are using webinars to engage with their audiences. A 2021 report from Business Wire shows that webinars in the U.S. rose by a staggering 162% in 2020, with a combined attendance of 60 million. Marketers and salespersons swear by webinars to engage leads and increase revenue.

How can your organization cash in on the trend? It starts with upping your presentation game. Let's look at some best practices for presenting online.

5 Best Practices for Presenting Online

Doing a virtual presentation can be nerve-racking. Fortunately, you don't have to be a charismatic leader to pull off great presentations. With some preparation and a lot of practice, you can sail through your next webinar. Here are five best practices for presenting online to help you prepare.

1) Get the Technology Right

Technology lies at the forefront of any successful online presentation, so you must choose tools that are reliable. Google Hangouts is a decent option if you are on a tight budget. However, if you need to track analytics, opt for a more dedicated, robust option, such as Viostream. Whatever platform you are using, get familiar with it well before you host your event.

Hardware tools are just as important. Check your laptop, camera, lighting, microphone, and any other piece of gear you plan to use during the presentation. Make sure everything is in order and can handle online streaming. Invest in a reliable internet service provider (ISP), especially if you are live streaming the event, and do a dry run a couple of days before the scheduled event to identify any glitches in your system.

Related Reading: How Does Streaming Work?

2) Leverage ISSAQ

That weird acronym stands for:

  • Icebreaker. Prepare a virtual icebreaker to kick things off. Light questions can be a fun way to go, such as asking your audience about the last meal they ate. You could also keep the icebreaker more relevant to your presentation. If you are presenting on key trends in the music industry to an audience of independent musicians, for instance, maybe ask your audience about their favorite artist.
  • Short story. You could also start the presentation with a brief anecdote. It could be personal or a friend's experience that applies to the presentation. Just make sure to keep it short and snappy.
  • Statistic. An interesting fact can really capture your audience's imagination. Dig around the internet to find some fascinating facts. If you are keen on doing some number crunching, Statista is an excellent resource.
  • Analogy. If you are presenting on a complex subject, draw an analogy to break it down. You could look at your everyday life for inspiration.
  • Question. Ask your audience members a rhetorical question to get their brains fired up.

Use any of the above best practices for presenting online as a starting point for your presentation. Such techniques help lay the foundation for your webinar, which is critical to improving engagement rates.

Related Reading: 3 Ways to Boost the "TED Effect" of Your Next Video

3) KISS, Please

Keep it simple, stupid. This is somewhat of a cliche, but for a reason — it works.

Don't overcomplicate your presentation with too many slides, animations, or transitions. Figure out the absolute essentials to drive your point across, and remember that less is more when it comes to presenting online.

4) Acing the Camera

Camera shyness is a real thing. But with practice and some basic considerations, you can come out flying. For instance, look directly at your webcam or your camera instead of the screen. This helps you make eye contact with your virtual audience. Wear something comfortable but appropriate. You don't want to be presenting in your joggers to a group of mid-level executives.

Before you go live, practice speaking in front of the camera as many times as you need to get comfortable. When you're ready, enroll the help of a friend to listen to your presentation and give you feedback.

Also, be sure to include contingency plans in your practice sessions. What is your strategy going to be if you suddenly panic during the presentation? How do you plan to calm your frayed nerves before your online event? Being prepared for these possibilities will make you more confident.

5) End on a High

After you're done speaking about the subject, you want your audience to remember you or, at least, look back and feel satisfied. Giving them tangible solutions, takeaways, or advice at the end of your presentation will help, but there is more you can do.

Nothing creates recall value like a good freebie, so you can also include a relevant digital giveaway. It could be as simple as a PDF with a list of tools and resources that are helpful for your audience. In our example of presenting to a group of independent musicians, a thorough checklist for their release day is a pertinent idea.

Similarly, if you are presenting to employees in the workplace, maybe giving away actionable productivity tips will work. You could even give them access to exclusive content that's reserved for industry professionals, such as market research reports.

If you can, end the presentation with some humor. If you can tie it back to your icebreaker at the start, you have nailed it.

Related Reading: How to Write a Video Script

Quick Checklist for Presenting Online

Here is a quick checklist to help you navigate the pressures of presenting online. You can print out these best practices for presenting and keep them handy while preparing for your online events:

  1. Check camera, lighting, and other equipment before the presentation.
  2. Figure out optimum lighting in the space where you will be presenting.
  3. Reduce distractions before the presentation (for example, switch off your phone, get a babysitter, send your pets to another room, etc.).
  4. Avoid wearing stripes or checks during the presentation. They may create the illusion of movement, which can be distracting. Solid colors look much better on camera.
  5. Check your sound. Switch off any sources of noise before the presentation, such as the air conditioner or refrigerator. If possible, pick a room that is far away from street noise.
  6. Keep all the reading material you will need during the presentation at hand — in case you need to prompt yourself.
  7. Relax and smile! Things may go wrong during your presentation, but the audience will remember your attitude more than any mistakes.

How Viostream Can Help

Delivering seamless video experiences to your audience can be tough, especially if your audience is tech savvy. There are a million things that can go wrong. That's why we built Viostream, a scalable, failsafe video hosting platform. Viostream lets you host interactive live streams, capture detailed audience analytics, and control access to your video content. Level up your video strategy with Viostream.

Paul Vecchiato
Paul Vecchiato
Paul Vecchiato (Chief Technology Officer) is an experienced technology professional with over 15 years experience in developing and delivering complex web applications across a wide variety of industries.
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