So you put on an appropriate shirt, hush your housemates, click on the link, and wait for the video to load while you check your hair on your phone screen. Most likely, this is not how your meetings used to start before the pandemic. Now, most of us are forced to work from home in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
If you’re not that big on public speaking (that’s understandable since it’s one of people’s greatest fears), you’ll hate Zoom presentations even more.
However, having decent online presentation skills is now more important than ever. Here’s why.
The Pandemic Has Forced Us All to Go Online
Whether you need to do a school presentation, attend a business meeting, or do a job interview, chances are, you’ll be doing it over Zoom or a similar platform.
Since the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic, we have taken various measures to prevent further spread. Social distancing is the best we can do, so we’ve transferred most of our interactions with other people online. People are working from home, children attend online classes, and we even speak to our loved ones in this way.
Suddenly, you need to pitch your products or services to clients online, and your success rests entirely on how you manage to express your ideas on camera.
On the other hand, maybe you have a job interview, and you don’t even know how to join a Zoom meeting. This scenario is something many people have faced recently because a lot of them were laid off or forced to find new sources of income.
That’s why it’s essential that we have solid online presentation skills and be familiar with the technology we need to use in the process. Focusing on what you want to say during an interview can be tricky if you’re not sure whether your camera is well-adjusted and the other party can hear you well.
So if you want to be able to function properly in this new normal, you need to adapt and work on your online presence.
Online Presentations Are More Challenging
Being in the same room with the people you’re presenting to is a lot different than staring at your camera while hoping your audience is listening. Most of them won’t even have their cameras on, so most likely, it will feel like talking into the void.
So even though you’re not talking in front of people, you’ll actually need a lot more confidence for online meetings and presentations. Our attention spans are shortening, and it will be quite challenging to catch the attention of your online audience and keep it throughout your speech.
For starters, there are so many distractions in the virtual world. How many times have you caught yourself checking your messages or multitasking during a meeting? We’ve all done it, and when we do it, we tend to drift off and not really listen to the presenter.
Moreover, you have only your voice and face to rely on. The impact of body language on your presentation is negligible. If you don’t have a great camera and microphone or your connection is glitchy, it will be even harder for your audience to follow through.
Your presentation skills need to be top-notch if you want to engage your audience and keep them listening.
What You Can Do to Improve Your Zoom Presentation Skills
As you can see and you’ve probably noticed already, presenting online can be a true nightmare if you’re not properly prepared. However, there are some things you can do to take your online presenting game up a notch.
Always Turn on Your Video
It’s one thing when the audience doesn’t turn on their videos, but it’s quite another problem when people can’t see the presenter. Not many people can successfully follow an audiobook, so they certainly won’t be able to endure an audio business speech, especially if it’s done in a monotone voice.
It’s paramount that you turn on your video so that people can see you as you speak. They can focus on your face, especially if you are not planning on showing a slide show or sharing your screen. It will feel a bit more natural.
Be Clear and Concise
We’ve already mentioned the shortening attention span, and online, it’s even worse. You can’t drag your presentation ad infinitum if you want to leave a positive impression and not have everyone in the audience hate you.
So speak clearly and be as brief as possible. Prepare your presentation in advance so that you can see which parts of it are necessary and which are just fillers. Try to vary your intonation so that your speech appeals more naturally to the ear. Drab speakers are hard enough to follow in person, let alone via Zoom.
Take a Course
If you’re terrified of presenting anything online, maybe it’s not a bad idea to take a presentation course. Training with a professional can boost your confidence significantly, and they could point out what you need to work on exactly.
When you’re trying to improve your skills by yourself, you might not necessarily know where to start and how. However, a professional will know just what to do to help you out. These courses are usually done in small groups, but you can also choose one-on-one coaching if you’ll feel more comfortable that way.
Take a Practice Video
What better way to experience your own presenting skills than by taking a video of yourself. If you’re not sure what to work on to better your skills, you should do a mock presentation and record yourself. This video will allow you to see and hear where you’re lacking. You may even feel embarrassed watching it for the first time, but don’t worry. In time you’ll get much better.
Of course, you don’t need to do this before every online presentation. You can do it a couple of times until you’re sure you’ve got everything right.