It’s safe to say that the business environment and the way we interact with clients and prospects is very different than it was just several weeks ago. In-person contact has been replaced by social distancing, and virtual meetings have become the new norm.
We find ourselves moving out of conference rooms and onto platforms like WebEx, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom. Whether you are presenting a sales pitch, internal project proposal, or quarterly numbers to the board, we are all experiencing new challenges in presenting our message effectively as a team. Let’s examine some team presentation best practices that will help you overcome these challenges, elevate your message, and truly distinguish your team from the pack.
Know Thy Content
While knowing your content should always be a constant, it becomes more important than ever when presenting virtually. Every member of your team needs to be intimately familiar with the content they are presenting, ready to answer questions, provide relevant examples, and pivot on the fly.
As part of the preparation process, it is a good idea to think about having at least two variations of your presentation ready – a full version and one that is scaled down for time. Scheduling constraints and technology challenges are real possibilities, so you must be ready to adjust accordingly when your allotted presentation time ends up being shorter than anticipated. Attendees may arrive late or need to leave early because of scheduling challenges such as being in back-to-back meetings. Mastery of your content and the ability to succinctly share why it is important to your audience will make it easier to adjust on the fly without breaking a sweat.
Know Thy Time
The cadence of a presentation is important. As with any meeting, be respectful of time constraints, and be sure to leave openings for the audience to engage and ask questions.
When presenting in person, it is much easier to read a room and act on non-verbal cues. However, when moving to digital platforms, it becomes more difficult to gauge reactions to your content. When we speak too long on a subject without a break, attendees can more easily tune out, especially in a virtual meeting.
When presenting, keep a clock or timer nearby. Personally, I always use the time display in the upper right-hand corner on my MacBook Pro to keep my presentations on-track. Take more pauses than you would in a normal presentation. Ask for audience questions or feedback. Virtual meetings simply do not have the same engagement factors as live meetings. Be sure to stay connected with your audience and pace your presentation accordingly.
“Virtual meetings will continue to be a part of the business landscape for the foreseeable future, and we must prepare accordingly. By adding these simple best practices into your preparation regimen, you and your team will be prepared for success, regardless of the platform.”