Read this short text to help transition to an online presentation format. What stays the same, and what changes?
As many people and organizations are trying to do more with smaller budgets, and new software becomes available, online presentations are becoming more common. Whether using a Webinar format, Adobe Connect, Blackboard Collaborate, Skype, WebEx, Zoom, or some other program, the live, face-to-face audience is now mediated through a computer screen. Despite this change in format, many of the same basic principles of public speaking apply when speaking to people virtually. Yet many business professionals seem to forget the best practices of public speaking when presenting online or do not get that they apply in both settings.
The website TheVirtualPresenter.com offers many tips for presenting online that we have covered in this book, including be audience-focused, have engaging delivery, and use visual aids effectively (Courville, 2012). Yet speakers need to think about some of these things differently when presenting online. We have natural ways to engage an audience when presenting face-to-face, but since many online presentations are only one-way in terms of video, speakers have to rely on technology like audience polls, live chat, or options for audience members to virtually raise their hand when they have a question to get feedback while speaking.
Also, in some formats, the audience can only see the presenter's computer desktop or slide show, which pulls attention away from physical delivery and makes vocal delivery and visual aids more important. Extemporaneous delivery and vocal variety are still key when presenting online. Reading from your slides or having a monotone voice will likely not make a favorable impression on your audience. The lesson to take away is that presenting online requires the same skills as presenting in person, so do not let the change in format lead you to make mistakes that will make you a less effective speaker.
- Have you ever presented online or been an audience member for an online presentation? If so, describe your experience and compare it to face-to-face speaking.
- What are some of the key differences between presenting online and presenting in person that a speaker should consider?
- How might online presentations play into your future career goals? What types of presentations do you think you would give? What could you do to ensure the presentations are effective?
This text was adapted by Saylor Academy under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work's original creator or licensor.