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​Ten top tips to tremendous telepresence (or how not to blow your video conference presentation)

November 12, 2020

Which one of these four statements is incorrect?

A. Future AI developments are expected to drive growth in the video conferencing sector.

B. The video conferencing sector is forecast to double in value to nearly $8.5bn by 2027.

C. Cisco, Zoom, and other video conference providers are reported to be investing heavily in new launches and upgrades.

D. We are all experts in the art of presenting at video conferences.

For those of you who chose statement D, please give each other a virtual pat on the back.

Sadly, despite being forced into adopting video communications this year, many people are sadly missing the opportunity afforded by it to make a powerful impact.

So here are my top ten tips to making your on-screen presence an on-screen present for your audience:

  1. Practice, practice, practice
    A famous comedian once said: “My best ad lib lines are those I rehearse the most.”
  2. Know your audience
    Understand why they are on the call, what they are looking to get from it, and remember - they want you to succeed.
  3. Don’t drink coffee just before you speak
    Coffee can constrict your vocal chords and can put you off your stride by making your voice sound different to you over the broadcast.
  4. Wear comfortable clothes (appropriate to the occasion)
    New clothes will look smart, but can be a distraction as they are not worn into to your shape.
  5. Know your lines and don’t apologise
    Opening fluently will get you into the swing of it from the start.
    Try not to read a script – when people can only see your face close up, it is obvious and you will lose empathy
    Post-it notes behind the camera can serve to act as aide memoires – but don’t be reading
  6. Check your equipment is working and you are not going to be disturbed
    Technology failures do happen, but check your camera, sound levels and screen sharing are all good.
    Try to ensure you are not able to be disturbed as the distraction of background activity is magnified on screen.
  7. Keep slides simple
    If you are using slides, remember they are a reference point not your speaking text.
    Never, ever, just read what is on the screen (it will bore both you and your audience).
  8. Relax, speak slowly and vary your enthusiasm
    A good guideline for speaking is three words per second (which is slower than you normally speak) and will sound odd to you, but perfectly normal to your audience.
    Vary the pitch and modulation of your delivery and don’t be afraid to use pauses to let messages sink in.
  9. Leave them with your key message
    Do not let someone else’s point be the final takeaway.
    So, after questions, close your presentation by reiterating your key message, then close the event.
  10. Always start and finish on time - Being late is disrespectful to your audience, so log-in early and if there are loads of people joining you, consider setting the meeting to start at 5 minutes past the hour (or half hour) so those coming from another call have time to dial in for the start.

Here’s to great engagement and successful meetings.

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