Better Zoom Presentation Skills are More Important this Year

Before the pandemic hit, barely anyone knew about Zoom. These days, everybody uses this video conferencing platform to chat, create podcasts or recordings, and even do business. 

Now that the place where we hold meetings and presentations has changed, so has the entire skill set needed for making a good impression on your audience. Here are some components of an effective Zoom presentation and the skills required to create one. 

Keep it simple 

When creating a presentation, it is essential to develop slides that are easy to take in and understand. The goal is to get the point across in a single glance, without overwhelming your audience with a lot of text, different fonts and graphics, or other extra content. 

The best choice would be to use a plain white background, a bold font that is large enough for people to read if they follow the presentation on their phones, and keep the text centered if the sides get cut off on some devices. Remember, keep each slide focused on one point, concept, or idea.

Use visual aid whenever possible 

If there is some data you need to share with the viewers, use graphs and pie charts. They add color to your presentation and make it easier for the audience to interpret the info. 

Videos are a great tool to explain your subject more clearly, show the product in action, or to provide background information on the topic. Zoom supports embedding Youtube and Vimeo videos, but you can also make a video and upload it directly. 

When it comes to using stock photos, memes, and gifs, the choice is up to you. Know your audience and the message you want to communicate. Sometimes, they work. Other times, you risk coming off as too unprofessional. 

Clean up your background

If you want the audience to take you seriously, remove any clutter behind you that might pop into the frame during the presentation. 

Like with the slides, a clear white background would be ideal as it won’t distract the listeners from what you are saying. If all else fails, consider using a virtual background, as long as it fits your style and looks realistic and professional. 

Minimize the risk of interruptions 

No matter where you are at home, there is always the risk of unwanted interruptions. Find a quiet, well-lit area where the light source is in front of you, and lock the door if you can. 

Let your family or roommates know that you will be in a meeting and ask them to be as quiet and considerate as possible. If you have pesky pets that like to jump on your lap or your computer keyboard, have someone take care of them while you are busy. 

Make sure that your laptop is fully charged and that the charger is plugged in.

Speaking of devices, it would be wise to use Do Not Disturb mode on your phone and Mac, or Focus Assist on a PC running Windows 10 to mute notifications.

Dress in a professional manner

Just because you are working from home just like everyone else doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look your best. Wear something professional. Dress for the part so people will take you seriously.

Besides, choosing a professional outfit can give you the self-confidence boost you need for a great presentation. Looking smart can also make you feel smart.  

Have your notes in a convenient place

Notes are a valuable resource to have on hand in case you forget something important. 

But, during a Zoom meeting, you need to be careful where you place those notes. 

During a Zoom presentation, it is essential to draw the audience’s attention to your face. At the same time, it can be too awkward if the audience notices your eyes drifting away. 

The best option would be to place a few sticky notes directly below your webcam or to the side of it, so it still looks somewhat natural when you are checking your notes. 

Keep an eye on your audience

When talking in real life, it is vital to maintain eye contact. The closest you can get to it during a Zoom meeting is selecting the view that puts all the audience members at the top row, above your video. That way, even if you happen to look into your reflection, things will look as natural as possible, as if you are maintaining eye contact. 

Engage your listeners

A presentation that is too monotonous can quickly bore the audience. Make sure to take regular breaks during your presentation and do whatever you can to engage the people listening to it. 

You could stop to ask them a question or their general opinion regarding the topic you’re currently discussing. Try adding some multimedia content such as a short video clip to break your presentation’s routine and stop the listeners’ minds from wandering off. 

If all else fails, have a funny story or an anecdote that is somehow related to the subject matter ready and use it to shake up and revitalize your audience. 

Record your presentations

Using Zoom’s record feature enables you to revisit your presentations and see which areas need improvement. Understanding how you did can make it easier to do better in the future. 

If it is difficult for you to be objective when judging your work, consider sending the recording to a friend or a relative, someone who can offer a fair critique of your performance. 

Get the help you need

The way we work and when and where we work from has changed, maybe forever. When the pandemic started, Zoom entered the arena of video conference apps and tools in a big way, and it’s still dominating the market. 

The skills needed to make a compelling and captivating virtual presentation are not the same as those for a real-life presenter. Fortunately, there are people out there that know what they are doing. Consider a service that offers presentation training and one-on-one coaching sessions that will help you better grasp this continually changing and evolving technological landscape that we’re all forced to live and work in. 

Investing time and effort into becoming an excellent virtual presenter is an investment in the future, no matter how unpredictable it might seem sometimes.

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