There is no question that effective communication is critical to the success of any organization. For years, companies have been training people on how to deliver engaging, clear and concise presentations to communicate important business information internally and to customers.
As more and more communication becomes conducted virtually, new skills and knowledge are required to ensure employees can be equally as effective when technology is involved. Virtual presenters need to be able to develop the right message, use technology properly and keep their audience engaged.
Delivering an effective presentation starts with developing the right message. First, you need to have a clear objective of what you want to achieve. You must be able to answer the question, “What do I want my audience to do as a result of my presentation?”
Once you have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve, you need to decide on the information you need to provide to get the audience to take that action. It is important to consider information like:
- What is the background of my audience — how much do they already know about the topic?
- How do they like to receive information? Do they like a lot of details or just the bottom line?
- What objections might the audience have to the action you want them to take? How will you overcome these challenges?
After considering the answers to these questions you are ready to structure your message. A complete presentation has an engaging opening, a main body (which usually consists of three to four key points) and a powerful conclusion. Don’t forget to think about how you will transition from topic to topic. Transitions play a key role in helping the audience follow your story.
Now you are ready to deliver your message. When delivering virtual presentations your biggest challenges will be using the technology effectively and keeping the audience engaged.
Rule number one — know your technology and use the functionality it has to create interest. If you can, use video so the audience can see you. Nonverbals are an important part of communication — research shows that it can account for up to 55 percent of the message.
To create additional engagement use tools such as:
- Pointers to focus the participants on the right content on your slide.
- Text tools to type addition words.
- Whiteboards to capture ideas.
- Highlighters to underline key points.
Finally, get your audience involved. Start by asking them to close any noncritical applications like email that could distract them from your presentations. Also, include slides that indicate when discussions are involved. Encourage the participants to use chat functions to share their ideas, or (if your technology allows) make sure that they have annotations rights so they can also write on the whiteboards and slide. Don’t forget to monitor the chat box regularly.
There are many other factors that go into delivering engaging, clear and concise business presentations. By mastering the basics presented in this blog however you will be off to a great start. To learn more consider enrolling in presentation skills training that focuses specifically on delivering in a virtual way.