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Updated: Apr 23, 2021

Presenting Remotely – Breaking Through the Technology and Fear Barrier

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, many people have been forced to stay at home and adapt to a new way of life, which includes conducting business remotely. What had been unchartered territory for many, presenting to a computer screen, has since become the norm. Make sure your remote presentation goes well by following these tips.

Connect with your audience Unlike giving a speech on stage to a large audience that may appear to the presenter as a sea of unknown faces, presenting remotely can appear to your audience as if you are speaking directly to them, like a one-one-one conversation. Even if you can’t see your audience, consider starting with small casual talk, even asking how others are doing. This sets the tone and atmosphere helping others feel less isolated and instead builds connection. This can be done briefly, with a quick introduction.

Avoid talking over others You may not be able to see your audience, especially if anyone opts to turn off their camera. However, don’t assume silence equates to audience boredom and disinterest. Pause momentarily after asking a question to give people time to respond and to avoid talking over others. Some may hesitate, uncertain what others will do. If no one responds after a few moments, then you can chime in using an upbeat tone with “let’s move on”.

Have a Plan B Expect the unexpected. Mistakes happen and technology doesn’t always work as planned. Consider what could go wrong and plan accordingly with a back up plan. For example, poor internet speeds may limit what you can do, as well as what other’s may be able to do. Know your topic well enough that you can explain your topic if your visuals don’t work.

See what your audience sees Do a computer to computer trial run (I use my iPhone to computer) to check how you look on camera to your audience.

See what your camera captures. For example, clutter, food, blaring televisions, kids playing in the background etc., could be distracting and inappropriate. Also, check how you appear. You want to be clearly seen without shadowing.

Eyes level with the camera Your eyes should be even with the camera to appear as if you are looking directly at your audience, not down and not up at them.

Know what you are sharing on your screen If you open your screen for your audience to see, make sure there is nothing visible that you don’t want seen. Close out any windows and applications you prefer to keep private and that may be a distraction to the viewer.

Relax and be yourself Keep in mind that you are communicating with other humans, not a machine. Staring into the eye of the camera can seem awkward, especially if you can’t see your audience on the screen. You can pretend the screen or eye of the camera is a real face that you are talking to. Even if your audience can’t see you, smile anyway which can relax you and reflect well in your voice.

- Lisa Kleiman

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