Ah, technology. It is changing our lives, to say the least especially when it comes to doing business. As travel budgets are being slashed by 20-40% and more businesses are going global, companies are depending on (and sometimes hiding behind) technology.
Whether it's your team, your clients, or your bosses, presenting to an audience large or small can be a daunting task. In today's workplace, everyone needs the ability to present their ideas and persuade people effectively in person, over the phone, and online. With more and more webinars, Skype presentations, and conference calls, you need to know how to captivate an audience when you're not meeting face-to-face.
Of all the programs I deliver now, perhaps the most popular addresses this topic of remote presentations. Take a look at some of the tips from our workshop,"Presenting When You're Not in the Room."
- Stand up. It may sound over the top, but your voice sounds different when you are standing up. After the first webinar I ever delivered, our webinar provider reported an abysmal 48% engagement rate from the audience. The next webinar I delivered, engagement went up to 80%. The difference? I stood up. It actually makes it easier to sound more persuasive and captivating.
- Smile. SAY CHEESE! You may feel fake at first, but on the other end, you genuinely sound more alert, pleasant and fascinating. Your audience can hear you smiling.
- Be overly animated. Bystanders will think you are playing charades, but on the other end you will actually sound interesting. It is necessary to use gestures, talk to the phone, and vary your tone so that you command the attention of your audience.
- Tell a story. All good stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. When making a presentation, think about how you can weave in your main points with smooth transitions.
- Try webinars instead of conference calls. Conducting a webinar is a great way to ensure that you maintain control of the presentation. You have the ability to build your slides, screen share, mute the audience to minimize distractions, allow people to type in questions, and more. You can even record the webinar in case someone can’t make it.
- Make it interactive. Since you can't look at the audience members, use their names throughout the presentation. For example, "Remember when we talked about this last week Nicole?" This will keep people alert. Also, build in quizzes and surveys during webinars to keep the audience engaged. Don't go more than 10 minutes without some kind of interaction.
- Make a leave behind or put detailed information in the appendix. You may find it difficult to make slides with only the key points, or your clients may want all of the little details. Put together a separate leave behind with the extra information, charts, graphs, and citations in the notes section. This way, they are listening to what you are saying instead of reading what is in front of them.
Best of luck!