The past few months in 2020 has provided us with completely new challenges talk-wise.
3 min read
By Hein Haraldsen
December 18, 2020
My advice would be to try to stick to as normal procedure as possible, and in some way try to forget that the situation we are in, and that it is different from what we all want it to be.
Dont focus on what is not working.
First of all, most of us are at this point pretty tired of technical issues of various kinds, we are also fed up with joking about it, so why not try to to minimize the effects that these have on the points you want to get through? If you have issues with the camera or the sound, try discretely to fix it without drawing too much attention to it. We are more than used to this now. If it takes way too much time, you could consider adding a small comment, but try to tone it down.
What can you do to make it easier for yourself to hold the presentation? As many may have noticed, the lack of feedback you inevitably get from the audience when they are actually present with you, can be a bit off-putting.
Some platforms, like Zoom and Teams, have the functionality to choose a sequence of participants to focus on. Just as you would in a more classic talk, you can choose to watch more closely those who seems to paying the most attention, and have a vivid body language.
How to handle non-attentive audience?\ \ What do you do if you spot someone in your (maybe even preselected) audience who seems to drop their attention, or maybe even yawn or looking at their phone? Just as in a live setting there is really little you can do about it, other than trying to ignore it (and then focuse on someone with more orderly digital manners), and try to push through as unaffected as possible.
\ Another tip would be to dress and act just as you would in the hopefully more normal setting we eventually will return to. To run your talk while standing should also be as natural as it would be in a live setting.
Remove background stuff.\ \ Also try to remove any background noise, both visually and audially, from your talk. While it still is somewhat cute with animals, plants, santa clauses or home-made snowmen in the background of your surroundings, this is probably still best in more familiar settings with your closer collegaues. Try to keep it a bit more professional and avoid needless distractions where you can.\ \ Keep clean slides.
Your slides may have to be altered a bit from a regular talk. Keeping slides clean is always a virtue - with the smaller screens that is most often used by the participants in a digital setting - one must focus even a bit more to keep headlines and text visual enough so the audience will be able to read it with as little effort as possible.
Good luck in honing your presentation skills even digitally!