Take your virtual presentation to the next level.
The honeymoon is over on working from home. How you show up online is a reflection of your professionalism, dedication and impact. It’s time to start moving your career forward, starting with how you present online. Zoom CEO, Eric Yuan, reports that there were over 300 million daily Zoom meeting participants in April – and that number is growing by the day. What can you do to improve your presence online, in virtual meetings? To really see what’s possible, I reached out to one of the best virtual presentation experts out there: Forbes contributor, Brant Pinvidic.
Brant is the producer of TV shows like The Biggest Loser, Bar Rescue and Extreme Makeover, as well as the author of the best-selling book, The 3-Minute Rule. He’s passionate about helping leaders to harness Hollywood secrets for a Zoom meeting or online pitch. He offered these five insider tips for delivering a powerful virtual presentation.
Invest In Your Studio – “What would you spend,” Brant asks, “on a traditional business trip, where you traveled on an airplane to meet with a client in another state, stayed in a hotel room, rented a car, whatever?” That’s the amount that Pinvidic says you should spend on your home office setup. If you rely on presentations to advance your career and connect with your customers, consider your camera, your background and your audio. If you want to stand out in a crowd, make sure your setup isn’t working against you. You don’t have to trick out your studio like Brant’s, but making a home office investment is typically something that most companies will support. Consider a second monitor, a separate webcam and a decent USB microphone if you want to be seen and heard at your best.
Be “Deal Ready” – “In every pitch, you have to have something that is actionable,” Brant says, pointing out that you have to prepare for success by making sure it’s on the table. What’s the call to action you are offering? “When I pitch a show idea, I have to be ready for the next logical step, and if someone wants to put together a deal, I’ve got to be prepared.” So do you. What’s the outcome for the presentation? What’s the deal you’re prepared to make? What’s at stake in this presentation – for you, for your audience, for your company? If you aren’t sure, maybe your next Zoom meeting needs to be an email.
Be Direct – and Be A Director – “Why are you doing this meeting on Zoom?” Brant asks, rhetorically. “When you get people online, they’re most likely coming from their home offices, where they’ve got tons of distractions.” Get straight to the point and be crystal-clear on what you hope to accomplish with the meeting. Brant says you’ve got to think like a director – edit out the extra slides, trim down the things you don’t need. Because that’s what people want in a virtual presentation: clarity. If you’re still delivering your same old PowerPoint from 2019, you’re making a huge mistake. The world has shifted: are you using yesterday’s tools to find tomorrow’s results?
Prepare for the Competition – “When you’re cooking something, you always prepare the ingredients beforehand. You don’t create a great meal without planning and preparation,” Brant shares. “You have to prepare your presentation in the exact same way. You have to prepare for the competition. I’m not just talking about other businesses, I’m talking about the millions of distractions that compete for your audience’s mindset. You must dedicate more time and energy into the virtual presentation, because the stakes are higher.” You can’t show up for a one o’clock meeting at 12:59 and press the “Join Meeting” button – you need to put in some effort if you’re going to stand out and share your story. What would be one thing you could do to plan for smoother transitions, better Q&A or simplified delivery, in your next PowerPoint presentation?
Consider Your Background – Brant isn’t talking about your LinkedIn profile. He means the pile of laundry next to the broken toys beside the cat box – that’s what everyone on the Zoom call sees when you come online. Don’t leave your career to chance – take a director’s view of your surroundings, and craft a backdrop that shows your professionalism. Virtual meetings are a window into your world – make sure the camera reveals a good representation of your professionalism, if you want to make an impact. “Be deliberate about your background, and make sure you’ve got decent lighting,” Brant says – that way, you show up at your absolute best.
Today, the connection point is a virtual platform, and communicating via Zoom is a brand new game. Working from home has made us all equal and, when it comes to Zoom meetings, seems that we’re all equally bad. These strategies, along with a small investment in your home office, will help you to stand out in your next presentation. “The confidence in the value of your information is key,” Brant says. So, don’t wing it. Don’t show up one minute before that big meeting and hope for the best. Hope is not a strategy. Take time to re-think what you can change, edit or cut inside your slides. What can you do or say or share so that your message comes across in a way that’s concise, clear and compelling? Take time to think it through. Planning builds confidence, especially in you next online meeting.
Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.