Top 10 mistakes remote presenters make


10.   Looking at anything but the camera:  The little light in the middle-top of your laptop? That’s where your camera is and that’s where you should be looking. NOT at the thumbnails of your audience. That may feel to you like eye contact, but to them it looks like you’re looking off to your left. Look at the  light, which is the camera, and every one of your audience members will feel you’re looking at them.

9. Being backlit, (or worse) not lit at all. If light is coming from behind you, that’s known as being backlit. It will put your face in darkness; not a good look for anyone.  Make sure light is coming from directly in front of you. Natural (window) light is best. If that’s not possible, get a lamp and put it right in front of you – take the lampshade off and put a BRIGHT bulb in the socket. The more light the better.

8. Sitting and presenting:  Just because you’re presenting remotely doesn’t mean you should be sitting. (And if you sat when you were presenting live and in person, don’t do it again.) Sitting makes it hard to speak from your diaphragm, hard to use all of your energy and hard to have good posture. Also, if you’re on a chair with wheels, sitting makes it super easy to move yourself back and forth, which looks super creepy to your audience.

7. Taking too long to get to the point (aka, what your audience cares about). Listen, when we were live and in person your audience was captive. If you wanted to take 10 minutes to talk about yourself, your company, its history, the org chart, you could – you would bore them to death but they couldn’t do anything about it. In a remote environment they can effectively leave; they can surf their phones, answer email, put you on mute and talk to their spouse. Don’t give them a reason to leave! Get to the stuff they care about as quickly as possible – and stay there.

6. NOT making it all about them: In a remote presentation it is more important than ever to make your message relatable – at the very least – to your audience. Why? Because if they don’t find your content important to them, they’ll split. And you will not even know they’re gone. Remember to turn your focus 180 degrees (on them) and keep it there.

5. Telling it all, without any structure: Let’s not make it even harder on a remote audience, shall we? Give your “all-about-them” content a solid structure, so they can easily follow you. This requires thought on your part and editing discipline. If it’s not directly relevant it’s GTG (got to go).

4. Going long: Never should you go longer than the time you’ve been given, but in a remote presentation you should go even shorter. Attention spans are short, opportunities for distraction are endless. Give them the most compelling to them stuff and then stop talking.

3. Reading:  You should NEVER ever read, unless you’re presenting to kindergarteners or anyone else who doesn’t know how to read.  An audience can read 7-10 times faster than you can speak.  Plus; they CAN READ.  Why should they sit and listen to you read to them? And in a remote presentation they won’t stay. They’ll read what’s on the screen and then grab their phones or open their email or talk to their spouse.

2.  Creating visuals that aren’t aids:  Speaking of reading slides; you should never show slides that are text intensive.  Period.  Your visual aids should always be something that says what you (with words) cannot.  We’re talking charts, graphs, pictures.  Any visual you create should act as a synergistic component; it should illuminate in ways that are beyond you and your words. And one more thing; make your visuals animate one at a time. That way you’ll know everyone is looking at what you’re talking about.

1.Neglecting to Practice:  There is simply no way around this one.  You MUST practice.  OUT LOUD.  You must put your presentation in slideshow mode and click and talk your way through it. (Spoiler alert; the first time through will be a “stumble through”; you’ll see where things are in the wrong place, or are missing or don’t belong. GREAT! Better now than in front of an audience.) Once you get everything where you want it practice a few times more. That way you’ll be super confident the day of the presentation.

Keep these 10 mistakes in mind as you prepare for your next remote presentations. Follow these recommendations and you’ll be giving a remote presentation that NAILS IT.

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