At Incisive Media we've had to change the way we stage live events, moving away from physical venues and into the virtual conference space.
Virtual events are the same as their physical counterparts in many ways, but quite different in others. They continue to offer a great opportunity for delegate networking (although, alas, without the free snacks and coffee) and an ideal way for sponsors to promote their services and brands. However, what's changed is the audience dynamic. People are much more likely to dip in and out of the event, logging in for presentations that look interesting but feeling no sense of social obligation to remain if the talk starts to drag. After all, diversion is just a browser tab away.
Presenters need to learn how to make the most of this new medium to ensure they are getting their message across in the most effective way possible in order to keep their audience engaged.
Speaking to an iPhone camera from your kitchen is a vastly different experience from addressing a packed auditorium from a stage, and it can take a bit of getting used to. To help you get it right - and avoid the pitfalls - our colleagues at Incisive Media Studios have put together a video to explain the art of presenting at virtual events, drawing on lessons learned from our successful Deskflix virtual event series.
At less than half the length of an average keynote, it could be the most valuable nine minutes you'll ever spend.
Top 10 tips
- Start with the audience. Who are they? What questions do they need answering? How can you answer them right now?
- Pitch by not pitching. Resist the urge to turn your presentation into a full-throttle sales pitch. Tell a good story instead and try to remain visible on screen to keep the human connection.
- Prepare and prepare early. The best digital presenters put as much time and effort into their talk as they would for a live show, but what works on stage may not work in a virtual event. For one thing, you can't feed off the audience reaction so you need to act like a TV presenter. The video gives more tips.
- Use questions to help build engagement. We can help here by creating recorded or live Q&A with our experienced presenters, or you can pose questions via slides.
- It's not your home, it's a TV set, so chuck out those empty pizza boxes, box up your children's toys and clear the clutter.
- Sorry, you're part of the set too. Dress for the part, just as you would at a live event and try not to wear a top that clashes with the background.
- Be relaxed and expressive, but watch your hands.
- Don't read from notes. Rehearse what you're going to say and aim for a relaxed natural delivery.
- If using slides keep them simple. The audience may be watching on a small screen.
- The power of compression. Flabby presentations lose the battle for attention. So, if in doubt, leave it out and make every sentence count.
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