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  • Vernon Roberts

5 Indications Your Virtual Presentations Need Help

Deep down we all know when something just isn't right. Generally our intuition is a pretty good indicator. When preparing for virtual presentations, we should use this same intuition as a guide for the content we will deliver. Many times we prepare for presentations with our main thought being, "What am I going to say?" With this thought in mind, we then string together a litany of words hoping to provide our audience with enough stories or data to make our message convincing.

Just as in virtual presentations, in-person presentations have some of the same challenges. Many of us aren't blessed with getting honest feedback from our colleagues and friends. As you well know, feedback is a scary premise for most people because it involves the possibility of someone's feelings getting hurt. I once received feedback on a presentation that traveled from a person I was working with through a number of channels and then to me after three weeks had passed.

The problem with this was that I had given that presentation three more times during those three weeks. Some quick feedback could have made a big difference for me. This is similar to a situation where a friend or colleague has spinach on their teeth after a meal. Do you tell them or do you pretend it's not there? You know what I'm talking about.

One of the keys to making better virtual and in-person presentations is self-awareness. The challenge is that many of us cannot detect our own “ums”, “uhs”, monotone voice or low energy. We also have a hard time editing ourselves which leads to an overload of detail that the listener may not care about. It's further compounded by the external feedback conundrum that I mentioned earlier. As a result, we are left to figure it out on our own or “find our own spinach”.

Here are some indicators that will help you know that you need to make a change to your presentation. Ask yourself these five questions:

  1. Did I talk for long stretches with no listener interaction?

  2. Do my slides have too many words for my audience to actually READ while I'm talking?

  3. Were my slides static? Did I use annotation tools to highlight and circle important points?

  4. Did it take longer than the first two or three minutes of the presentation to get to the point?

  5. Did I read every word on the slide rather than adding value to the words that are there?

We all want to make a good impression when we speak, both at work and in our community. In order to be truly effective, take some time for self-assessment. If you ask for feedback from others, be specific. Use the questions above as a starting point and make sure to ask the feedback giver to be specific in response to those questions.

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