Thanks to COVID, 2020’s been the year to embrace technology in a big way, and video communications have been a huge part of working life for many of us. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone, though, and if video presentations still put the fear of God into you, don’t despair. Here are some steps to success…
Establish a rapport with your audience
From Oprah Winfrey and Howard Stern to James Corden and Ellen DeGeneres, the world’s best presenters are those who seem to just connect effortlessly with their audience. Take a leaf out of their books, and not only will your presentation delivery be on-point, but your viewers will enjoy it more.
How do you do it? By establishing rapport. Start with a story or anecdote, show some personality, be yourself. And keep eye contact with the camera, as this will simulate real-life eye contact. It’s also really important you’re sensitive to the beliefs and perceptions of those watching you – especially if your audience is international. Do you need a video translator? Will any humorous elements land well? Have you been sensitive to cultural differences in terms of what’s appropriate and what isn’t? All of this will need consideration.
Practice as much as you can!
You know what they say, practice makes perfect. And it’s especially true when it comes to video presentations. Sure, some people are perfectly happy winging it, but if you’re reading this article, chances are you’re not one of those people and practising will be really beneficial. Don’t just practice speaking your presentation out loud, either. You should actually watch yourself doing it, as well. In the mirror, or on your webcam. The more familiar you are with your content, the smoother the delivery will be.
Nail your on-screen graphics
Some video presentations will simply require the presenter to speak to the viewers, while others will include visual aids, such as slides or pop-ups. If you fall into the latter category, pay close attention to what you’re showing your audience. Proofread everything and, if possible, have someone else give your content a second pair of eyes to double-check for any errors. Spelling errors, repetition, grammar mistakes – these can look sloppy, like you’ve not bothered to check your work beforehand.
Make sure you look the part!
Unwashed hair, tracksuit bottoms and cosy hoodies are all well and good for a day of working from home off-camera, but it goes without saying you’ll need to up your game if you’re presenting on-screen. We’re not saying go OTT. Just that you should simply present yourself in an appropriate way for your industry. For yours, it might be an immaculate power suit. For others, a smart, brightly coloured top and a slick of lipstick. Just ensure you’re clean and tidy. It won’t just make your video presentation aesthetically pleasing, it’ll do wonders for your confidence and therefore your performance.
It can be so tempting to get through a video presentation as quickly as possible – especially if nerves are playing a big part. Instead, breathe and slow down. Pauses can be really effective – not just for the presenter to catch their breath and prepare their next sentence, but for the audience to digest what’s come before. A lively, charismatic presentation is lovely, but don’t make it fast-paced and hyper. You’re going for calm, collected and assured.