Enthusiastic engagement is the goal of every presentation. Achieving that in the same room is always a challenge; achieving engagement via a video screen from a different continent is another thing entirely!
Is a live presentation the best way of communicating?
It may be standard practice at the company to present projects to the teams at certain stages but does this pre-date the hiring of remote workers? Sometimes systems just haven’t adapted to remote workers. If you feel that there is a better option to doing a live online presentation then propose it to the boss. You need to be confident that you’re communicating in the most efficient way possible. Why are you having to address a group of colleagues and not sending a report to your manager? There may be very good reasons but if there aren’t you’re wasting their time and yours.
What is the purpose of the presentation?
Clearly with any presentation you need to identify the aims. If you are presenting remotely it’s crucial to write down the aims and stick to them. When a conventional presentation may naturally evolve into a wider discussion, this is tricky to control and maintain efficiency when you’re in a different room. Brevity is key to retain engagement.
Be creative about how you’re going to develop the engagement after your fifteen minutes of fame. You don’t have the luxury of informal, water-cooler conversations and the vast majority of presentations are only useful if you are going to receive input and feedback. Would setting up a team chat on software such as Slack help you to continue the conversation? Can you formalise feedback through an online form or forum?
Decide on your tools
Before running to PowerPoint check that your employers don’t have an equivalent (or better) system. There are so many ways of presenting online now. You don’t want to learn a new piece of software for a 10 minute presentation but you might discover a programme that saves you hours and adds an exemplerary professionalism to your presentation skills. I love Prezi! It’s not for every situation but it’s especially good for demonstrating critical paths or relatively complex systems. Check it out!
Clear visuals & support material are essential
We all know that presentations can often be hit and miss in actually achieving their goals. So much is down to the presenter, the team, the time of day, the subject…. Just because the words came out of your mouth doesn’t mean that people have listened and absorbed the information. If you can, and if it’s appropriate, include some visuals, be that in the form of diagrams or illustrative images.
With every presentation you need to be concise but with a remote presentation really try to limit the time but have clear reference to the supporting information i.e. make the key point and refer the audience to the section of the document they have in front of them.