Perfect presentations: Face-to-face and virtual

Business leaders are determining how to host successful meetings in this “new normal” environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While people have been holding virtual meetings during lockdown, hybrid meetings look set to be a popular trend in the future.

The challenge is to create perfect presentations for both face-to-face and virtual settings. The importance of presentations within meetings can’t be over-emphasised, as they grab delegates’ interest and inspire people to reach team goals.

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Honing presentation skills
Presentation skills will help the speaker to communicate often complex information in an interesting and simple way that will keep the audience engaged. Rather than just talking all the time, they can use different means, such as audio-visual content and images.

With many companies booking a meeting room for later in the year, when hopefully the pandemic will have abated, it seems likely that more hybrid meetings will be taking place, to avoid packing too many delegates into the venue and to enable people who may not be able to attend, due to travel or other restrictions, to take part.

You can create the perfect presentations for both face-to-face and virtual settings with some careful planning. If you’re preparing for a presentation, always consider you may need to speak to delegates who are there in person and others that might be taking part through a video link.

Face-to-face meetings
One of the key elements of a good presentation is maintaining an audible tone so that every audience member can hear you, no matter where they are in the room. This might sound obvious, but make a conscious effort to articulate the words as carefully and clearly as possible, maintaining an easily-audible voice-level throughout.

Also, maintain an optimal pace, giving listeners time to understand and absorb the information. Learn not to speak too fast, as people may switch off. Similarly, don’t speak too slowly, or it will appear to drag. Maintain a normal speaking pace, without racing through the speech.

Vary your tone of voice, putting the emphasis on enthusiasm and using gestures appropriately to keep the audience involved. No amount of technology, no matter how good, will ever replace an enthusiastic and articulate speaker who’s a great communicator. This encourages the audience to ask questions, collaborate and communicate, as it makes them feel more motivated.

Using gestures emphasises the points you’re making as a speaker. If you stand still in one spot and communicate in a flat tone, it won’t keep the audience’s interest for long. Obviously, don’t move about and gesture so much that it becomes a distraction. Just keep the tone and your manner professional and enthusiastic, without going over the top.

Virtual meetings
When you’re presenting to a virtual audience as well, there are other factors you must take into account. One is getting the lighting right, to make sure your audience can see you properly. Of course, this applies to the in-person delegates too.

You need bright front-lighting, so the light shines on your face. If your back is to a window, your face can appear to be in the shade, unless you close the blinds. Natural light is a popular choice, as it’s less harsh, but if your meeting room doesn’t have windows, use the appropriate artificial lighting to enhance your face.

Choose a background that looks professional, avoiding clutter and distractions. Find out whether your virtual presentation platform permits the use of virtual backgrounds, such as Zoom, or whether it can blur your background, as with Microsoft Teams.

It’s important to understand your technology in general, as nothing will spoil your presentation faster than a blip with the technical side. Have a dry run, so you’ll feel comfortable with the platform you’re using.

It’s preferable to have someone assist you with the tech during the actual meeting, allowing you to focus on your presentation. Make sure the camera is placed at eye-level – if it’s too low, you may appear to have a double chin if you’re continually looking down. If too high, it won’t seem like you’re talking directly to virtual delegates.

Being animated and enthusiastic will enhance a virtual presentation too. In fact, it’s even more important to be lively and grab delegates’ interest when you’re video-conferencing, as it’s easier for people at remote locations to just switch off when they’re looking at a computer screen.

Whether you’re presenting in-person or virtually, or even at a hybrid meeting merging both styles, remember it’s like giving a performance. People’s time is valuable, so make sure you create an authentic audience connection and don’t leave them feeling short-changed.

&Meetings offers a range of affordable meeting rooms and training rooms in London which are available for future hire. We’re taking bookings now for future meetings and will put in place the necessary measures to enhance COVID-19 safety procedures.

Give us a call now on 0800 073 0499 to book an affordable venue for your future events.

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