In the era of social distancing, remote presentations that are conducted via videoconferencing software have become increasingly common. Unfortunately, being forced to conduct a presentation remotely can often make it all the more difficult to keep your audience interested and engaged. In order to help you create remote presentations that will be as engaging and captivating as possible, we’ll take a look at six helpful tips for how to engage with your audience during a remote presentation.
Show Your Face
Psychologists estimate that up to 93% of all human communication is non-verbal, involving cues such as body language, facial expressions, and gestures. If your presentation consists of only slides and a voiceover, you may struggle to communicate your message clearly – and you will almost certainly struggle to keep your audience engaged. While you certainly want to design the slides that your presentation includes as if they are the star of the show, be sure to use a webcam to show your face throughout the presentation as well. Allowing your audience to see you as well as your slides as you conduct the presentation is sure to make it much easier to keep their interest.
Create Opportunities for Audience Involvement
Regardless of whether your presentation is being conducted remotely or in person, you don’t want to spend the entire time talking without including any opportunities for audience involvement. Every few minutes, pause your presentation and ask if anyone has any questions that would like to have addressed. Simply soliciting questions from time to time throughout your presentation is a simple way to keep your audience involved, avoid digital fatigue and ensure that your presentation is more than a one-sided affair.
Design a Visually Appealing Presentation
Research suggests that people only remember about 80% of what they see compared to only 10% of what they hear. If you would like to keep your audience engaged and present your messages in a way that is most likely to make a lasting impression, it is essential to design a presentation that is visually appealing.
Thankfully, designing professional presentations is a whole lot easier than it used to be thanks to the availability of presentation templates. With a presentation template, you can start out with professionally designed slides that already include attractive visual elements before adding your own custom text. In addition to changing the text, presentation templates also allow you to easily add your own design elements into the mix.
Presenting remotely removes a lot of the visual elements that would otherwise serve to help keep an audience engaged, making it all the more important to design a presentation that is as visually appealing as possible. With the use of presentation templates, though, this is something that is actually quite easy to accomplish.
Be Sure to Speak Loudly and Clearly
Videoconferencing software has improved a lot over the years, but it still isn’t always as effective as it could be when it comes to capturing audio. If your audience is not able to clearly hear what you are saying without having to strain their ears, keeping their interest is going to be a near-impossible challenge.
In addition to making sure that you are using a microphone that is able to clearly capture what you are saying, it’s also important to ensure that you are speaking loudly and clearly pronouncing your words. One great tip that can help ensure that your audience will be able to easily hear you when it comes time for your presentation is to record yourself speaking using the same microphone that you will use during your presentation. Listen to the recording once it is complete and make sure that your words are easy to hear and understand. If you find that your voice is muted or difficult to understand, you may want to try speaking more loudly and clearly and/or investing in a higher quality microphone.
Create Attention-Grabbing Headings
Every slide in your presentation should include a heading that is designed to pique interest and offer a glimpse of the information that will be covered. Don’t be afraid to get a little clever and creative with the headings that you include. Keep in mind that your slide headings don’t necessarily need to convey a lot of information, but they do need to be interesting.
Request that Your Audience Keep Their Webcams On
One of the simplest ways to improve audience engagement during a remote presentation is to request at the beginning of the presentation for everyone in attendance to turn on their webcams. Having your audience keep their webcams on throughout your presentation accomplishes a couple of helpful purposes. For one, it allows you to more easily gauge their reactions and adjust your presentation in response. Perhaps even more important, though, is the fact that people are much more likely to remain engaged with a speaker when they know that the speaker can see them.
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to keeping an audience engaged during a remote presentation is the level of disconnect that audience members will feel between themselves and the speaker. If the people watching your presentation feel as if they are simply viewing a pre-recorded video, it is all too easy for them to become disengaged and distracted. Having your audience members turn on their webcams during the presentation is a great way to make your presentation feel more like an in-person presentation.
Of course, requiring that audience members turn on their webcams may discourage some people from viewing your presentation in certain circumstances. It’s better, therefore, to keep this as a request rather than an ironclad requirement. In most cases, simply making a single request for audience members to turn on their webcams will be more than enough to encourage a majority of those in attendee to do so. Once you are able to see the faces of the people you are presenting to, engaging with them will be a much more achievable goal.