CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – DECEMBER 15, 2021
Master the Skill of Virtual Presentations
It’s your job as presenter or facilitator to steer the conversation and let people know at the beginning of your presentation how you want participants to interact with you and each other. Do you want them to post questions and comments in the chat as you go, or do you want them to hold those questions until the end of a section or the end of the presentation? If the virtual meeting platform you’re using gives you a different way to funnel their comments, like an actual Q&A feature, then instruct them to use that feature to post their questions (although, some people just won’t comply and will use the chat feature anyway).
Keep in mind that audiences these days are more vocal. They’re accustomed to being given lots of ways to share their feedback and make their voice heard. Vocal people will often open another channel to chat with each other—whether that’s on an internal Slack or Teams channel or external social media site, so you’re better off giving them a way to voice their input during your presentation rather than shutting it down entirely. This is where it helps to have a producer or a co-presenter with you to monitor that chat and feed common themes from the chat to you so you can respond to them during your presentation.
How many presenters should there be in a virtual presentation?
Let the length of your presentation be your guide. The shorter your presentation, the fewer presenters you should have.
If you’ve only got 15 minutes, there’s probably only enough time for one person to speak.
If you’ve got 30 minutes you might be able to tradeoff between two speakers. For instance, have one person do an introduction, another person do the next section, then hand back to the original speaker for another section, and then finally have them both answer questions at the end.
If you have 60 minutes perhaps you could squeeze in a third voice in a panel format—but you want to ensure smooth handoffs between speakers, and handoffs take time. If you have three presenters in 60 minutes, perhaps one presenter does the introduction and closing, while the other two presenters each present a short segment of 10 or 15 minutes each, followed by a Q&A led by the first presenter acting as a moderator.
If you’re going to have more than three speakers, you’ll need at least 90 minutes or more to allow them each to unpack their ideas—and that becomes more like multiple keynotes within a single keynote. It’s tricky to pull off unless you have a clear structure and storyline that weaves their talks together into a cohesive whole, but it can be done.