Tips for Better Web-Based Presentations

During a presentation class we recently taught, one of the participant’s asked, “ How is presenting over the web different from presenting live?” It was an interesting question and following are some suggestions for those of you who presents via webcast or web conference.

 Inputs. In many web-based presentations the audience has only two forms of input. First are the slides you are using, second is your voice. It is important that these two inputs are interesting and engaging in order for the audience to stay focused on your presentation. Let’s discuss them in order:

Visuals. As with live presenting, the visuals need to be interesting and creative. Your notes are neither! Think in terms of graphs, charts and pictures. These visual aspects show more information than words can convey.

 Voice. It is easy enough to become monotone during a live presentation, during a webcast it is almost inevitable, unless you make a continuous effort to put energy and emphasis into your voice. Imagine that instead of a visual presentation, you are giving one that is only auditory. All of that energy that the audience used to see physically, they must now hear in your voice. In addition, better enunciation will make sure you are understood by all.

 Interaction. Another way to keep your audience connected to your presentation is to give them the opportunity to interact with you.

Polls. During the presentation you may have want to conduct a poll that asks the audience how they feel or what they might want to see done better.

Questions. Any presentation should make time for questions from the audience so that important points might be clarified. During a webcast you don’t want interruptions, so let the audience know that you will give them a chance to ask questions later in the talk, then make sure you do it.

 Distractions. Because your audience is not used to the limitations of the webcast, you need to make sure that you don’t unnecessarily cause distractions such as these:

 Noise. Microphone sensitivity is extremely high for web presentations. Make sure that you remove distracting jewelry and keep from jostling the lectern or table. In addition, turn pages carefully to avoid the unwanted noise.

Delays. We are used to our communications being immediate, however this is not always true for web-based media. Allow for these time gaps by putting more pauses in your presentation and trying not to interrupt or talk over another person.

Finally, you must practice with the equipment prior to the presentation to avoid embarrassing blunders or technical difficulties.

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