No matter what you’re doing – whether you’re presenting a keynote for a suddenly virtual event, or presenting at town hall on video conference – we can all learn to improve our video presenting game with a few simple tips.
1. Amp your delivery: Audiences are conditioned to turn to TV and video for entertainment. That means a static or monotone delivery plays even more poorly in a virtual event. Virtual presenting requires heightened animation – movement, gesturing, compelling visuals and of course – smiling and animated facial expressions — to keep people’s attention.
2. Invite a live audience: It’s incredibly difficult to deliver presentations authentically and energetically to no one. Even if it’s just one or two people – consider inviting a friendly audience to sit in during filming – you’ll react and respond more authentically if you can see people’s faces and make real connections.
3. Choose the right stage and background: A stage where you can move around, and where the background isn’t too bland or too distracting is key. If the space is less than ideal, consider purchasing a virtual webcam backgrounds.
4. Write for speaking out loud: The way we write is often not the way we speak. With any presentation publicly delivered – it’s important to use language that is comfortable to say out loud. And long sentences and lots of long words strung together don’t play well whether you’re on an event stage or delivering a speech virtually. Work on breaking up sentences and using conversational language. Always read through scripts out loud when editing and prepping to get a sense of what words work together. Remove words that are cumbersome to say and remove or change language that doesn’t match your tone and style.
5. Use compelling visuals: Add fun visuals that you can cut to to keep people engaged and alert. Humor always helps. Audiences need to be visually inspired more since the primary way they are taking in the information is with their eyes versus full-senses immersion at a live event. If it strikes the appropriate tone, surprise them with bold or humorous images when they least expect it. And when possible, add video into your presentations if you can. It’s more dynamic as a communications channel and helps break up long keynotes or presentation and maintain engagement.
6. Consider timing: Virtual and video presentations may have long virtual lives. So adapt references that are time-dependent to be evergreen. (For example: this week, XX number of people will have been diagnosed with coronavirus” becomes “In one week in March of 2020, XX number of people were diagnosed with coronavirus.” )
7. Invite participation: Delivering virtually gives you lots of room to allow for curated audience interaction. Those watching live can submit questions via chat, respond to quick surveys or polls or ask questions live. Just make sure you have help curating and managing those live interactions so you can focus on delivering.
8. Manage logistics in advance: This demands a little prep deciding on how muting and the process of submitting or asking questions will operate for the participants. Test these functions ahead of time to ensure everything is operating correctly. And clearly explain how participation will work at the start of the presentation so your audience knows how to join in.
9. Watch Yourself: No one likes it, but watching your own video back is critical to great video and virtual delivery. Make sure when prepping for a virtual or video presentation – you film a few runs in advance and watch them back before your go-live presentation. Pay attention to what energy is most compelling, which gestures work and which are too distracting, any weird sounds or filler words, and whether you’re keeping your eyes on the right thing or not.