IRL presentations are like fancy dinners with appetizers, main courses, and maybe a dessert too. There are so many introductions and tangential remarks. But with virtual meetings, time is a luxury you don’t have. So think of Zooms more like a delicious protein bar (if anyone actually liked protein bars). Be as efficient as possible while satisfying the Teach Love America shirt moreover I love this needs of the presentation. Economy of language is your friend. If you’d like attendees to ask questions, make sure the Q&A function is turned on and the expectations are set. Just because people are asking in real time, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to answer then too. If you think it will veer you too off course, let the audience know you’ll be saving your responses until the end. Living rooms are inherently less stuffy than convention centers, and your presentation should reflect that. Depending on the subject matter, this is likely not a time for black-tie formality. Instead, use this opportunity to be a human. Crack a joke, let people into your home, and acknowledge that though you’re not technically in the same place, you’re all in it together.
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Okay, yes, it’s a casual setting, but people are still tuning in to hear you…so you better know what you want to say. Whether it’s a total script or a bullet pointed outline, prepare it ahead of time. It will keep you on task, and make the Teach Love America shirt moreover I love this whole thing run smoother. If you’re on a panel, ask for the questions so you can prep answers. The beauty of a digital frame is you can casually use your notes to guide you and no one will know. Don’t just write it—read it too. To desensitize yourself to the high stakes, it’s helpful to mirror the circumstances of your future talk. So if you can, rehearse on camera for a group of friends. Ask your friends for feedback and edit accordingly. While you’re at it, test all your tech—the event link, sound, and video to ensure you’re good to go on the big day. If you’re presenting with others, arrange a pre-event prep call. Get to know each other beforehand and discuss the flow of who’s speaking and when. Since there will always be inevitable lag times or delays in the tech, practice long pauses between points to avoid talking over each other. A more informal chat should feel off-the-cuff, but as antithetical as it sounds, natural might need some rehearsing.