The Top 10 Challenges of Virtual Presentations
Have you noticed that it’s more challenging to deliver a virtual presentation than a real world (in-the-same-room} presentation?
It’s not your imagination. Delivering a virtual presentation is much more challenging for several reasons. Let’s review the missing pieces, then see what we can do about it.
Have you noticed these challenges with virtual presentations?
The Feel of the Empty Room
When you are in the same room with people, you feel the shared experience. Contrast that with a virtual presentation where each person tends to feel isolated and lonely because they are in separate rooms.
Fix: Engage with the audience on a more personal and relevant level.
When in the same room, the audience feels your energy and returns it to you.
Not only is the energy not exchanged in a virtual setting – the camera filters out what little energy was transmitted but not received. And speaking to the camera drains energy from the presenter. No wonder people feel lethargic.
Fix: Keep it short and make it more engaging.
Flexible as a Brick
The live presentation offers more flexibility. The speaker can adapt the delivery based on immediate feedback from the audience. The speaker can bounce back from simple mistakes or a weak moment. When you are in the same room, The audience is more forgiving of errors and flawed delivery.
The virtual setting is rigid. It’s difficult to adapt quickly.
Fix: Check in with your audience more frequently and be prepared to adapt. Have options ready.
When you are together in the room there’s opportunity for spontaneity and interaction among the audience and between audience and speaker. In Zoom you have Chat. It’s a useful tool but not the same.
Fix: Learn how to maximize all the tools of your platform. That might include Chat, Polling, Rooms, White Board…
In the real setting, the speaker receives immediate feedback from the audience. That might be laughter, smiles, nodding heads, writing notes, hands raised to asked questions and applause.
Fix: Be clear on your purpose and message. Know your audience well. Invite feedback throughout the presentation.
I wonder if the Rolling Stones were ahead of their time with the song – I can’t get no satisfaction? Because that’s exactly the feeling you have during and after a virtual presentation.
Fix: Get over it. Enjoy the moment and rest after.
Body Language Missing
When in the same room, the audience reads the clues and emphasis from your body language. You can read their body language to evaluate their level of interest and connection.
Fix: Make the most of your face, hands and voice.
How does the audience know when you are talking to them? When they see your eyes looking directly at them. That conveys the feeling, “The speaker was talking to me.”
While you’re looking at them you can receive their support and interest from the returning eye contact. Add a smile or nod and you’re connected.
When speaking online, you must stare at the camera to convey the feel of eye contact for your audience. While you’re doing that, you can’t look at them on the screen because they won’t perceive you as looking at them. If that sounds weird, it is. Feel free to read that again.
Fix: Get used to speaking to that glass eye of the camera as if you were on TV.
The more your presentation relies on technology, the greater the risk of technological glitches. Remember Murphy’s Law? In a real presentation, microphones, computers and projectors might fail,
In virtual the environment, add poor camera and microphone, band width, WIFI, barking dogs, nosey and noisy family members…
Fix: Upgrade your equipment. Check everything and have a plan B and maybe a Plan C.
The Multiplier Effect
Each of these challenges is difficult by itself. Imagine the angst when you are faced with a few or more combined during your presentation.
Perhaps you were a decent presenter during live presentations. The virtual environment works against you because it magnifies your flaws and weakness.
That might mean that you need to revisit the fundamentals of effective presentations. Then you need to wrestle with the challenges of delivering a virtual presentation.
Fix: Prepare, rehearse and know the environment. Stay calm when things go wrong.
Delivering a virtual presentation is much more challenging than a live presentation. It also offers you the opportunity to distinguish yourself by outshining the competition.