We’ve all embraced technology to carry on our work successfully, been in virtual meetings, and learned to live a more online working life in the last few months.
Presenting at a virtual conference or meeting is different to face to face in some ways. Unlike a Teams or Zoom meeting you couldn't see other participants as they didn't have cameras on and were muted at the start of the meeting. You log in and are then in a virtual room. The ‘host’ introduced me and then I took control of the session presenting my screen to show my presentation. I could see the number of participants in the session and as a presenter could see their names and I could see the Q&A to see whether I had questions coming in. I had a second screen so that I could see what was being shared to the meeting.
Unlike an in-person event you aren’t distracted by people coming in late or leaving early but you also can’t see how your audience is reacting to what you are saying.
So my tips and reflections:
- Because you can’t see your audience it is a good idea to have a couple of poll questions as you go along – it lets you know that they are still there and engaging with you.
- Check into the session early so you can test that your screen is sharing and you’ve discussed with your session host and moderator how you will take questions.
- If you can, have a second screen so you can see the meeting while you’re presenting.
- Make sure you have enough material to fill the session – you won’t have questions until the end of the presentation.
- Keep an eye on the time and leave time for questions.
- Keep an eye on the Q&A – another way to know your participants are still engaged.
- Even if you prepare fully expect the unexpected.
- If you’re presenting from home don’t just turn off your mobile phones, unplug the house phone as well;
- And above everything else, keep calm and carry on!
Presenting at a virtual conference was a different experience but one you'll enjoy. You'll still be sharing your knowledge and experience with colleagues and learning from them. I would definitely do it again!