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10 Zoom Presentation Tips for Your Next Online Meeting

9th December 2020

More and more people are working from home. Which means that online presentations using tools like Zoom and Teams are becoming the new normal.

Sound familiar? The first thing to note, is that giving an online presentation is very different from presenting in person. Presenting from a screen, rather than in person, can make it difficult to engage with and motivate your audience.

If you’re still getting used to presenting on Zoom, this article will give you 10 top tips to help you succeed and deliver a powerful presentation in your next meeting!

1. Make Your Script Savvy

Before you even start designing your online presentation, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to say. Your presentation script is an important tool that will maximise your impact on your audience and make it easier for you to deliver. Even if you struggle with getting your thoughts on paper, sticking to the basics is the way to go:

  • Make sure you’re clear on the concepts you’re talking about.
  • Stick with simple words. Just because you may understand it, doesn’t mean everyone else will. If you want to use more technical words, include quick definitions too.
  • Infuse your personality into your writing. Try writing as if you are having a real-life conversation with someone.

Follow a ‘story’, from start to end, to ensure your presentation flows effortlessly. Start by explaining what you are going to cover in your presentation, and then follow the P-E-E structure for each section or paragraph. Make your Point, Provide Evidence (in the form of a statistic, experience, real-life application etc.) and, finally, tie it all together with a final explanation/analysis of your point.

2. Make a Great Online Presentation

Preparation is key! The idea is to create a presentation that complements what you have to say. Designing and using a presentation, whether you use PowerPoint, Keynote or another tool, is the perfect way to keep your audience included as well as keeping you on track. The best online presentations are simple and straightforward, so make sure that you use relevant, high-quality visuals whilst pin-pointing the key messages that you are talking about. Remember, your audience will be viewing on their computer screens – and perhaps even on their mobile phone! – so avoid filling up your slides with long sentences and use bold text to emphasise key points. When creating your presentation, stick to a plain background for your slides and focus each slide on only one point or idea. Make sure that you work towards your script, so your presentation perfectly matches the time and pace at which you will be speaking.

When it comes to visuals, you don’t have to stick to just images. Use a mix of charts, graphs, statistics, videos and icons. Visuals are a great way of illustrating your points whilst keeping your audience interested.

3. Tidy Up Your Background

Appearances count, especially when you are delivering a professional presentation. Ideally, your background should be as plain and de-cluttered as possible to avoid any distractions.

If you can’t find a clean, empty background, consider using a virtual Zoom background if your device has the capability. Make sure to pick one that looks realistic and professional. You can even go the extra step and design your own Zoom background, including your logo, name and job title

4. Check Your Equipment

Imagine you are powering through your presentation when, all of a sudden, your laptop runs out of charge and dies. To avoid any technical issues, make sure to check your equipment beforehand. Plug your computer / laptop into charge, test your audio and microphone and check your internet connection.

5. Stick Your Notes in Your Eye Line

If you’ve presented in person before, you probably like to keep your notes or pointers close by. This is the same during a Zoom presentation.

Avoid keeping a notepad next to you as this will mean you’ll have to keep looking down. Another alternative is to stick a couple of post-it notes right below or next to your webcam. So, even when you’re reading from your notes,  you will still be looking directly at your screen and audience.

Depending on the tool you use to create your presentation, you can simply use the presenter notes feature instead.

6. Practice Before the Presentation

Practicing your Presentation before the actual meeting will improve your delivery, increase your confidence and allow you to streamline your script and presentation whilst ascertaining any questions that may arise. This is also a key step, if you have a time limit on your presentation which you need to meet.

Never walk into a presentation unprepared. This is especially important for online presentations, as it can be even more difficult to wing it when you’re not interacting in person. Why not run a demo Zoom meeting with a friend or family member, or just practice alone before the presentation?

7. Start on The Right Foot

The beginning of any presentation is perhaps the most important stage, as this is when your audience can gauge how charismatic of a speaker you are as well as their interest in the subject you are discussing. Some tried-and-tested ways to start a presentation to keep your audience hooked include:

  • A shocking / interesting statistic
  • Using a prop
  • Asking a question
  • Quoting an influential person
  • Showing a stand-out visual or interesting short video

8. Pause Regularly to Check in on Your Audience

If you’ve ever participated in an online presentations, you may be aware that they can get monotonous really quickly, and it’s not unusual for people to start zoning out. To ensure your message hits home, take regular breaks throughout your Zoom presentation and engage your audience in conversation.

You could pause to ask questions, ask what they think about a certain topic and check that everything you are saying is making sense. Not only does this re-engage your audience, but it also keeps them actively listening.

9. Use the Chat Feature

Zoom’s chat feature is another great way to involve your audience without disrupting the flow of your presentation. Think about sharing certain resources or links in the chat, or even ask your audience to input any questions they may have (which you can then go through at the end!).

10. Record your Presentation

You may not like the sound of your own voice, but watching your presentation back is the perfect way to improve next time. Make sure you hit ‘record’ when you deliver your presentation. In your own time, watch it back and give yourself constructive criticism; perhaps you could talk slower next time, or include less text in your presentation. Perhaps you need to practice your script more next time so you spend less time looking at your notes. You could even ask someone you trust to watch your presentation and provide an outside perspective.

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