The modern workplace, team-oriented for many years, has turned virtual. More people telecommute, many teams are global, and travel costs limit face-to-face meetings. With increasing frequency, we deliver presentations by telephone or Internet. Here are some tips for making your virtual presentations more effective.
- Limit interruptions
- Mute all audible signals in your environment: telephone, mobile devices, computer, pet macaw and teapot. If at home, disable the doorbell. If in a hotel or at work, use a do-not-disturb sign. Close your office door or find a room with a door to close.
- Use high-quality equipment
- If you're connected by telephone, have the highest quality available — avoid speakerphones or mobile phones. Use a headset to keep your hands free. If using the Internet, high-speed connections are best. If using video, check the lighting and have a good quality camera.
- Use video and graphics only if needed
- Use simultaneous Web and video channels in parallel with audio only if the presentation truly requires them. Using video or graphical channels exposes the presentation to technology risk, and that risk should be justified by a need.
- Prepare for technical contingencies
- Have backup channels in case your intended communication channel fails. Prepare to make do without video or Webcasting if necessary by prepositioning materials for the audience to download.
- Attend to your physical needs
- Have drinking water available, and drink through a straw if you're using a headset. For your best voice, sit upright or stand.
- Have good access to your materials
- If you need reading material, avoid paper shuffling by spreading the pages on a desk, or tape them to a wall if you aren't on camera. If you're on camera, use a teleprompter or cue cards. Keep a notepad and pen handy. Have your appointment calendar ready.
- Guide your audience
- Use simultaneous Web and
video channels in parallel
with audio only if the
- If your audience is following your presentation in written form, announce your place whenever you change to a new page or slide. If some exhibits are documents, prepare them in advance with page numbers, line numbers, internal hyperlinks, and bookmarks to ease direction and navigation.
- Remember the recording
- If your presentation is recorded, and if some of the audience is present audio-only, take care to describe explicitly what they cannot see: page or slide numbers, features of graphics, URLs, and other items they might not have.
- Speak clearly
- Speaking clearly is always essential, but in virtual presentations, you might be unaware of some competing noise sources, such as line noise and local noise at the listener's location.
- Be fascinating
- In the virtual presentation context, you're competing with powerful distractions for audience attention, including email, texting, games, food, and interruptions. Be funny, dynamic, and intriguing. Omit long descriptions of what everyone knows.
Is your organization a participant in one or more global teams? Are you the owner/sponsor of a global team? Are you managing a global team? Is everything going well, or at least as well as any project goes? Probably not. Many of the troubles people encounter are traceable to the obstacles global teams face when building working professional relationships from afar. Read 303 Tips for Virtual and Global Teams to learn how to make your global and distributed teams sing. Order Now!
Your comments are welcomeWould you like to see your comments posted here? rbrenmhXARWRMUvVyOdHlner@ChacxgDmtwOKrxnripPCoCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.
About Point Lookout
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.
Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.
Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.
More articles on Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness:
- Doorknob Disclosures and Bye-Bye Bombshells
- A doorknob disclosure is an uncomfortable, painful, or embarrassing revelation offered at the end of
a meeting or conversation, usually by someone who's about to exit. When we learn about bad news in this
way, we can feel frustrated and trapped. How can we respond effectively?
- My Right Foot
- There's nothing like an injury or illness to teach you some life lessons. Here are some things I learned
recently when I temporarily lost some of my independence.
- The Perils of Piecemeal Analysis: Content
- A team member proposes a solution to the latest show-stopping near-disaster. After extended discussion,
the team decides whether or not to pursue the idea. It's a costly approach, because too often it leads
us to reject unnecessarily some perfectly sound proposals, and to accept others we shouldn't have.
- Some Hidden Costs of Business Fads
- Adopting business fads is an expensive organizational pattern, with costs that extend beyond what can
be measured by the chart of accounts most organizations use. Here are some examples of the hidden costs
of business fads.
- Just Make It Happen
- Many idolize the no-nonsense manager who says, "I don't want to hear excuses, just make it happen."
We associate that stance with strong leadership. Sometimes, though, it's little more than abuse motivated
by ambition or ignorance — or both.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming August 28: Playing at Work
- Eight hours a day — usually more — of meetings, phone calls, reading and writing email and text messages, briefing others or being briefed, is enough to drive anyone around the bend. To re-energize, to clarify one's perspective, and to restore creative capacity, play is essential. Play at work, I mean. Available here and by RSS on August 28.
- And on September 4: How Messages Get Mixed
- Although most authors of mixed messages don't intend to be confusing, message mixing does happen. One of the most fascinating mixing mechanisms occurs in the mind of the recipient of the message. Available here and by RSS on September 4.
I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenmhXARWRMUvVyOdHlner@ChacxgDmtwOKrxnripPCoCanyon.com or (650) 787-6475, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.
Get the ebook!
Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:
- Get 2001-2 in Geese Don't Land on Twigs (PDF, )
- Get 2003-4 in Why Dogs Wag (PDF, )
- Get 2005-6 in Loopy Things We Do (PDF, )
- Get 2007-8 in Things We Believe That Maybe Aren't So True (PDF, )
- Get 2009-10 in The Questions Not Asked (PDF, )
- Get all of the first twelve years (2001-2012) in The Collected Issues of Point Lookout (PDF, )
Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info
- The Race to the South Pole: Lessons in Leadership
- On 14 December 1911, four men led by Roald Amundsen reached
the South Pole. Thirty-five days later, Robert F. Scott and four others followed. Amundsen had won the
race to the pole. Amundsen's party returned to base on 26 January 1912. Scott's party perished. As historical
drama, why this happened is interesting enough. But to organizational leaders, business analysts, project
sponsors, and project managers, the story is fascinating. We'll use the history of this event to explore
lessons in leadership and its application to organizational efforts. A fascinating and refreshing look
at leadership from the vantage point of history. Read
more about this program. Here's a date for this program:
- Baldwin-Wallace University, 275 Eastland Road, Berea, Ohio
44017: November 7,
Kerzner Lecture Series/International Project Management Day, sponsored by Baldwin Wallace University and the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Project Management Institute.
- Baldwin-Wallace University, 275 Eastland Road, Berea, Ohio 44017: November 7, Kerzner Lecture Series/International Project Management Day, sponsored by Baldwin Wallace University and the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Project Management Institute. Register now.
- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
- Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.