How to Succeed Using Inventive Virtual Presentations
At the close of an exceptionally challenging year, senior business leaders are still facing expectations of meeting – or even exceeding – company goals. With less than a month left in 2020, the finish line is in sight, and success or failure is often determined by one key factor: employee productivity. An economic recession, ongoing global pandemic, and uncertainty around prolonged remote working are contributing to a trend in employee disengagement, according to global analytics and advice firm Gallup, including a big drop at managerial levels. Keeping teams engaged and productive through the end of this unique year and beyond will require inventive thinking around virtual presenting.
Due to the pandemic, virtual meetings are now a mainstay for many businesses’ communication efforts and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. The Harvard Business Review outlines the impact this change is having on employees’ productivity levels. Their analysis shows that Zoom fatigue is real and it is affecting the bottom line.
One of the big reasons on-screen meetings are so draining is that employees often split their attention while listening. There’s a lot to compete with during a virtual meeting, including email, social media, domestic life, etc. If senior business leaders want to keep their teams engaged, they must deliver engaging virtual presentations. Yet this is often a big challenge for companies unused to communicating with employees solely in the virtual realm.
eSlide has been a fully remote company for more than 10 years. We rely on our favorite communication tool – PowerPoint – to help Fortune 500 companies across the globe keep their teams motivated and galvanized – even in the most challenging times. Here are some tips on how to make sure your virtual presentations keep employees engaged so you can finish the year strong and meet the benchmarks that are expected of you.
Perfect Your Business PowerPoint Presentations
A well-designed PowerPoint slide deck is the foundation of an engaging virtual presentation.
Always follow the golden rule of one key point or message per slide. This prevents the audience from becoming overwhelmed with information, potentially disrupting their focus on the presentation. It also allows the presenter to change slides often. This enables them to maintain good pace while they present and keep the visual energy high, which is another way to retain the audience’s attention.
When possible, use a visual demonstration of each slide’s point or message. Visuals engage the brain more quickly and effectively than words alone. Visuals also make it easier to elicit an emotional response from an audience which helps keep them interested.
If possible, allow the audience to see the presenter’s face some of the time and the business PowerPoint presentation some of the time, rather than remaining fixed on one or the other. This variety helps to keep people engaged, and also allows you to leverage the power of eye contact – even in a virtual setting.
The more interactive your presentations are, the more engaged your audience will be. One way to boost interactivity is by making polls a part of your business PowerPoint presentations, using software such as Poll Everywhere. Polls give employees an opportunity to provide instantaneous feedback and because they can do so anonymously, they may be more inclined to participate. The presenter can use the feedback to make certain the audience is understanding the material and change the presentation’s focus if necessary.
Break-out rooms are another tool which can add interactivity to a presentation, particularly when dealing with large audiences. Working in smaller groups changes a meeting’s dynamics. Fewer participants enable more direct participation from the audience and give presenters a chance to absorb important feedback. Tasks or questions can be assigned to each group to encourage interaction. Use break-out rooms to help refocus attention, minimize passive listening, and boost engagement.
A more traditional Q&A format can also be used to help encourage engagement. If you’re including a Q&A in your virtual presentation, enlist an assistant to help monitor and collate questions as they are submitted. This allows the presenter to focus on their answers, rather than incoming questions.
Set the Stage
Never make assumptions about a virtual presentation audience. There may be a range of technical know-how or virtual etiquette understanding. Every presenter should set expectations for their audience before they start their presentation and leave nothing to chance or assumed knowledge.
Start by making sure your audience understands the format for the meeting and presentation and what the expectations are for it. Should the audience’s cameras be on? Will there be break-out rooms? How should questions be submitted, e.g., via Zoom chat, Slack, etc.? Will the meeting be recorded? Your PowerPoint presentation can begin with a slide that sets the stage by answering these and other questions.
Let the audience know what to expect after the meeting too. Will the PowerPoint slide deck be made available to them? How should they expect to receive this or any other materials?
Finally, make sure participants know what to do should any technical glitches occur. Helping your audience navigate the virtual experience with ease will help them stay engaged.
A Strong Finish for 2020
This year has seen unprecedented shifts in the business landscape. Even with the upheaval, senior business leaders are still under pressure to meet their company’s goals. In fact, most need to do more with less, as resources are diverted to deal with the impacts of the pandemic.
But the news isn’t all bad, as this does present an opportunity to shine. The rapid move to remote working has proven that businesses can pivot to new ways of communicating and integrate them as a normal component of operations. If leaders can harness and build on these successes – using some of the above techniques to engage and motivate their teams – they can finish the year strong. And by delivering a healthy Q4, senior business leaders can demonstrate to corporate leadership that they have the skills needed to drive success, even in challenging times. For more ideas on creating and delivering outstanding business PowerPoint presentations, get in touch with eSlide today.