Because a huge portion of today’s workforce now works completely remotely or in hybrid roles, being in the know about how to present during virtual meetings is essential. An effective meeting needs to be elevated when it’s online, regardless of which platform you and your team members have selected to use. Maybe it’s with Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams; whichever software you’re implementing for online meetings, it’s important to focus on your presentation skills, your body language, your communication style, and of course, the content of your slides.
This article will cover what a virtual meeting is and some best practices for presenting during virtual meetings so you can feel confident and prepared to facilitate meetings online every single time.
What is a virtual meeting?
A virtual meeting is a meeting that takes place with various individuals who are joining from different physical locations through online technologies or platforms. While a virtual meeting takes place completely remotely and online, a hybrid meeting is different in that some attendees may join the meeting in person, and some of the attendees join from a remote location. In a fully virtual meeting, the slides are shared in advance and are also available for viewing in real-time through the share-screen option of the software that has been selected. Typically the online platform will also have other functions such as a chat box, file sharing, and a recording option so you can refer to the meeting later or share it with others who weren’t able to attend.
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11 tips for presenting during virtual meetings
- Do a technology check before the meeting
- Leave comments and reactions on the collaborative agenda
- Keep eye contact with the camera
- Enable Fellow’s companion mode
- Assign a notetaker during the meeting
- Manage your audience
- Speak with a strong, clear voice
- Decide if you want to share your entire screen, a window, or a tab
- Embed your presentation in the meeting notes
- Time your presentation beforehand
- Record the presentation
1Do a technology check before the meeting
Make sure to do a thorough technology check well before the meeting date. You want to ensure that when you go to open particular files and share them with your audience, the process is seamless. Make sure to check that both your microphone and camera are working, especially if you’re using external or add-on technologies. Ensure that whichever materials you would like to share with the attendees are prepared in another tab or window so you don’t delay the time and productivity of the meeting.
2Have attendees leave comments and reactions on the collaborative agenda
Another best practice concerning how to present during virtual meetings is to have your attendees leave comments and reactions on your collaborative agenda. This will help limit any kinds of distractions that arise because there will not be any interruptions pertaining to questions or comments on the content of the meeting. It’s even more effective to ask your team members to leave their questions in the collaborative meeting agenda before the meeting so the facilitator has time to review the questions and address them either before or after the meeting takes place. This saves time and ensures the meeting will flow more effectively.
3Keep eye contact with the camera
In a Harvard Business Review article, author Joel Schwartzberg makes a great point: as a presenter, you need to ensure that, in a virtual meeting, you maintain strong eye contact with the camera. Schwartzberg shares:
“Every presentation coach will tell you that direct eye contact is a vital way to reinforce your point […]. It’s challenging to focus on your camera for an entire meeting — especially while others are talking — but know that you increase the impact of your points when you look deep into the dot. Practice looking into your camera during video conferences when you speak, even for brief moments. The more you use it, the more comfortable you’ll become with it.”
4Enable Fellow’s companion mode
Use an effective software tool like Fellow, which has a feature called companion mode. This feature is part of the desktop app that allows users to join a meeting through a notification, the tray app, or within Fellow. Once opened, companion mode will only show the note for that meeting you just joined and is kept on top of other windows by default. The note shows as a condensed floating view of the desktop app that appears alongside your video call or other windows. This ensures that you aren’t looking all over your screen at different tabs. Your focus is in one place and you and your attendees can also take meeting notes during the presentation with ease.
5Assign a notetaker during the meeting
Assigning a notetaker for the duration of the meeting is also incredibly helpful when presenting during virtual meetings. When you assign a team member to take notes on your presentation, you gain the ability to see what kind of information was portrayed during the discussion and can later access valuable notes on important decisions, action items, or news as necessary. Not only does a notetaker give you great insight into the information that you conveyed, but they also create a historical record of any meeting that takes place.
6Manage your audience
Learning how to manage your audience is another important part of facilitating online meetings. Before the meeting, dedicate some time to planning so you can think about how much and in which way you want the attendees to participate when a good time is for people to ask questions, if you want to have any kinds of collaborative problem-solving or brainstorming components, or if you prefer to simply present information and gather feedback after the meeting.
Pro Tip: Write down details on how you want to manage the audience in the meeting agenda beforehand so you can set expectations and everyone is in the know.
7Speak with a strong, clear voice
To effectively facilitate a remote meeting, speak with a strong, clear, and audible voice. In episode 67 of Fellow’s Supermanagers podcast, Gary Rogers, America’s leading public speaking skills coach, shares:
“If you are up in front of an audience, saying or doing anything, give them projection, so they can hear you. Give some inflection in your voice. And most importantly, use some enthusiasm, and you’ll hold their attention a lot longer.”
If you want to convey credibility, confidence, and authority, use an audible and strong voice.
8Decide if you want to share your entire screen, a window, or a tab
Plan well in advance how you’re going to deliver the presentation, in terms of sharing your entire screen, a window, or a tab. If you share your entire screen, you want to ensure your presentation is up and ready to go. Many applications and platforms can embed the presentation into the meeting software so everything is in one place. If you choose to share a window, it typically will appear as separate from the meeting software, so it’s usually necessary to have two screens for this option. You can also share a tab, which is similar to sharing a window except for that the participants will likely be able to see any other tabs that you have open as well.
9Embed your presentation in the meeting notes
Embedding your presentation into the meeting notes is a great way to enhance your virtual presentation. In doing so, you help those who weren’t able to attend the meeting know exactly what the presentation was about. When you embed media into a Fellow note, the media will be directly inserted into the body of the note. Once embedded, you’ll be able to interact with the media in the same way you would on the main website. For example, if you embed a YouTube video, you’ll be able to play the YouTube video without ever leaving the note. This is great for adding context and content to your meeting notes.
10Time your presentation beforehand
Time your presentation well in advance of when you’re facilitating the meeting. Not only will this give you some valuable practice to tweak the flow of your presentation and the slides, but it will also help you ensure you’re staying on top of the timing allocated for the presentation and allow you to determine if you’ve left enough time for questions or any discussions that may take place. Try to set aside a few minutes at the beginning and at the end of the meeting to have some casual discussion, as it’s important to connect with your team members especially when you’re working remotely.
11Record the presentation
Be sure to select a software that lets you record your virtual meeting so you can refer to it later and so people who weren’t in attendance are able to access the information and decisions that were made. This will ensure that the entire team remains up to date with the progressions of projects, action items, and brain-storming and problem-solving initiatives. Moreover, having these recordings is a great way of reminding yourself of what was discussed before your next meeting.
Learning how to present during virtual meetings in an effective and impactful way is an extremely valuable skill. Google Meet, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams are some of the most popular software for conducting remote meetings, but it’s important that you do your research on which platform will elevate your meetings the most for what you and your team are trying to achieve. It may be valuable to host specific meetings or workshops with your team members to identify the best way to present during virtual presentations so everyone is getting the most out of these meetings.