It is 10 pm. You are in your office on your own, making a technical presentation to an internal audience. This audience is, however, spread around the globe and viewing your complex slides on their PCs. Every so often a side conversation breaks out in a different office and in a different.
Tough presenting? Yes and you can expect to do more teleconference presenting, especially in New Zealand and Australia. The use of this type of presentation is increasing rapidly, because the technology enables huge savings of time and money and helps reduce the carbon emissions involved in air travel. Unfortunately, the NZ end of such presentations is often scheduled at late evening hours to fit in with northern hemisphere timetables.
So, if there will be far more teleconference presentations, how can we make the best of them?
Get the protocols right:
Make sure that a facilitator is appointed to manage the whole process. Get the whole group to agree on the etiquette that will be followed, including aspects such as: no side discussions, speakers always going through the facilitator and always identifying themselves as they start to speak,
Help the audience concentrate:
Take into account that this type of presentation is difficult for the audience's concentration as well as your own. Help them with the listening process as much as you can:
1. Use repetition.
Plan to include a preview of your presentation early in your presentation, so the audience get a sense of what to expect. Regularly repeat key words and summarise the main points so far. Make a final summary near the end
2. Plan for variety
Structure your presentation so that it has a variety of short segments, with some differences in approach between segments. Make sure your slides use varied visual effects and take the time to briefly orient the audience to more complex slides. Include some humour in your slides
3. Build a personal connection
Form a mental picture of someone in your audience at their particular location and imagine that you are speaking to them. Create this impressions by using names of people in your audience. Ask questions that get the audience involved and as you ask them, use someone's name.
Work on getting your personality to come through, so that the audience can get some sense of personal connection. Do this via voice variety, turns of phrase, metaphor and anecdote. • Use people's names to keep them focused on your presentation.
Use plenty of pause. We do this frequently when speaking to a visible audience and you need to replicate this with your invisible audience.
4. Manage the logistics
For the audience, provide a PDF of your presentation online, in case the slides don't show on their screens. Keep a paper copy of the slides handy in case the slides don't show up on your screen. For a good personal touch, think about emailing a summary of your presentation after you have finished.
These teleconference presentations are here to stay, it is up to presenters to 'get with the programme'. For some more tips - on the technical side look at: chacocanyon and on the communication side look at:coachboz