The current situation has left many people scrambling to figure out how to communicate online. This includes giving presentations for defenses, conferences, meetings, etc. If you find yourself having to present online, here are five things to keep in mind.
What do you want people to learn? Since people are all tuning in remotely, people have far more distractions around them including kids in the other room, animals at their feet, etc. Therefore, having a clear goal in mind is more important than ever. Make sure you can distill your message into one sentence. Get rid of any information that doesn’t directly support the purpose of this talk.
2. Reveal info as you say it
If you are showing a PowerPoint, it is going to take up the majority of people’s monitors. People will be focusing on the changing images in front of them. Therefore, you need to animate information onto your screen as you talk about it. If you have everything on your slide at the very start, your viewer's eye will wander around. Instead, animate each point as you bring it up. That way, the images are directly supporting your idea as you introduce them.
3. Minimize filler words (so, um, uh, like)
When you don’t have the advantage of being physically in the room with people, your audio plays a larger role. If you always start a new slide with “So”, it will distract from your main message. To minimize filler words, map out how you will transition to each new slide. Go through your entire presentation and only allow yourself to say the first sentence of each slide. Practice eliminating the filler words. That way, your message isn't diluted with words that aren't important.
If you are sitting at a desk, don’t hunch over to speak. It will affect your voice and breath. You will end up sounding more nervous than you are because you aren’t able to breathe easily. I recommend standing up so you can move a little and feel more active.
5. Camera Angle
Since you aren’t able to be in the room with people, you want to do everything in your power to simulate a real conversation. This includes setting the camera up at eye level. If your camera is too low, people will be looking up into your nostrils. The lower angle is also distracting if you speak with your hands. If your camera is at eye level, you can still speak with your hands and they won’t cross over your face. This lets people focus on what’s most important, which is connecting with you and your ideas.
Bri McWhorter is the Founder and CEO of Activate to Captivate.