Many people would rather gnaw their arm off than give a presentation. Add technology to the mix, and boy howdy, do a lot of people get scared—even seasoned presenters. Wayne Turmel’s forthcoming book, 10 Steps to Successful Virtual Presentations, can help both new presenters and seasoned pros get over their fear of presenting virtually.
Why is virtual presenting so scary? Well, first off, there’s the public speaking part, which makes many people very uncomfortable. But add to that the fact that so many people have been on the receiving end of bad web presentations, and that can have a seriously chilling effect on people’s desire to present online. Moreover, a lot of people are not familiar with the benefits and tools that virtual presentations offer, so they don’t know how effective and even fun web presentations can be.
Wayne Turmel dispels those fears and explains in clear and friendly terms how to plan and deliver great virtual presentations that get results. The 10 steps presented in the book are
- Identify your objectives and outcomes
- Learn the platform
- Create a project plan
- Work with others
- Create compelling content
- Create visuals that support your presentation
- Sharpen your presentation skills
- Present and multitask effectively
- Follow up and keep learning.
Here are some of his pointers from Step 2, “Learn the Platform”:
- Before trying to learn the platform yourself, participate in as many webinars and online presentations as possible (there’s no shortage of free presentations out there). See what good presenters do (which you’ll want to emulate) and how poor presenters fumble (so you never perform the same way in front of any audience). Notice all the different tools and functions other presenters use, and imagine how they can help you in your presentations.
- Roughly speaking, 90 percent of the platforms perform 90 percent of the same functions.
- When demonstrating a computer application or training people in its use, one of the most powerful things you can do is let them use the tool themselves. To do this, you need to give an audience member “presenter” status. Many presentation platforms allow you to change the presenter at any given time. WebEx, for example, allows you to pass a little “ball” icon to a new presenter by simply right-clicking on a person’s name and hitting the “make presenter” button. On other platforms you can right-click on a person’s name and make him or her the presenter.
- Many platforms allow you to keep transcripts of the chat screen, so if people ask questions you can’t answer during the presentation, you can get back to them later with an answer.
- Don’t try to circle things with your mouse using the highlighter tool—it’s too difficult. Most platforms have a circle tool (as well as a box tool) that will create perfect circles around what you’re trying to highlight. With a little practice, you’ll be able to place the tool perfectly and, with a drag and click of the mouse, draw a perfect circle (or rectangle).
- The no-show rate for a free marketing webinar is about 50 percent. You exponentially increase your viewership by making your webinar recording available after the live event.
- A great way to create human connections but not make yourself crazy is to use your webcam to introduce yourself to the audience and then turn it off when you begin the body of your presentation. This will save bandwidth (reducing the chance of something freezing up for you or your audience) and also free you from worrying about what you look like while presenting. In cyberspace, no one needs to see you scratch your nose.
The book features lots more tips, tools, guidelines, and worksheets that will help you become a great virtual presenter fast. 10 Steps to Successful Virtual Presentations will be available for purchase at the ASTD store in December.