Posted by: Cece Salomon-Lee | May 18, 2009

Three Tips for Presenting Virtually

Sample Webcast

Sample Webcast

Note: This post was a collaboration between Cece Salomon-Lee and Dennis Shiao.

A recent post on the Conversation Agent highlights how we learn. According to the post:

UC Santa Barbara Richard Mayer studies how people learn with the use of words and pictures in presentations. He found that there are three kinds of experiences:

1) no learning
2) fragmented learning <– right now, we’re stuck here
3) meaningful learning

To solve the problem we need to change the shape on our assumption on how people learn and move towards:
1) sensory and long term, unlimited to capacity
2) working memory – we can hold three to four chunks of information at any one time

How to create educational presentations for Virtual Events

Presentations for online consumption are different than in the physical world. While video is available, most are still audio with slide presentations. As such, how can virtual event presenters deliver content in a way that enables audiences to receive, retain and remember the information?

Some key questions to consider as you put your next presentation together:

  • What does the audience want?
  • How can audio help emphasize a point?
  • How can visuals and videos help?

Let’s cover each of these.

  1. What does the audience want – this is fundamental to any presentation – you won’t be successful if you don’t deliver what your audience wants.  So spend a lot of time thinking about your audience – what challenges do they face, what information can you provide them, how can you best educate them?   If you’re presenting a product launch to prospective customers, put your feet in their shoes and tell them how the new product will specifically solve their biggest challenges.  If possible, spend some time (in advance) meeting with audience members to help you determine what they want or need.  If the virtual event supports pre-Webcast group chat, visit the chat area to get a pulse on the discussion – attendees will often leave comments on what they’d like to see covered.
  2. How can audio help emphasize a point – while I prefer to leverage visuals to educate, audio is obviously an important component of any presentation.  To emphasize a point, it’s often very convenient to tell a story.  If you’re looking to explain the effectiveness of a product, tell a story about how a customer used the product to solve a challenging problem.
  3. How can visuals and videos help – I find that I learn best via visuals.  For telling a story (e.g. that customer use case), nothing beats a video testimonial from the customers themselves.  Additionally, if your product is software-based, consider “show over tell” – meaning, use desktop sharing to show the software in action, right there in the Webcast viewer

What do you think? What recommendations do you have for presenting virtually?

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Three tips for virtual event presentations by @InXpoLive:

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