by David dos Santos

Presenting in person is already a daunting task, presenting online presents a whole new set of chal- lenges. With the correct methods and best practices, presenting online can be as effective or even more effective than delivering in person. Whether you are teaching a course or presenting a workshop here are some best practices to keep in mind.

Check, Double-check, Triple-check your Technology

There is no faster way to lose your audience and potentially lose your credibility when your technology fails, whether the platform fails or is the result of user error. You should be comfortable with your video conferencing software and updates on your computer.  At the end of the day, your computer is your responsibility. It is also a good idea to have a backup internet connec tion such as a mobile hotspot or have a backup co-presenter.

Maintain an Active Presence

The best way to maintain an active presence is to turn on your web- cam and frame yourself according- ly. You do not want to be too far or too close to your webcam. Preferably, you should frame yourself from chest level up, where your face and hand gestures are fully visible. Continue to use hand gestures for emphasis when explaining some- thing. A good mental exercise when presenting and sharing your screen is to imagine your audience in the same room as you and look ing at your screen.

Appearance is Key

You should look to dress in a man ner which does not distract or annoy viewers. A simple black shirt works well because it is a very clean look. Avoid wearing clothes with too many stripes, wild colors, or unusual designs as it will be distracting. When it comes to colors, red can bleed, white can make you appear too bright. The background is also important, if possible, a solid colored wall is preferred. If that is not possible, the background should be clean and neat. You can also utilize background changing tools that your video conferencing software provides.

Create an Active Audience

Managing the audience is often the most challenging part of presenting online. It is easy for the audience to be distracted and trail off. You can also have the opposite issue when the audience is con- stantly interrupting with off topic questions. You should mute partic- ipants while pausing at intervals for questions. At the same time, plan intervals where you ask the audi- ence for input. If the group is small, you can ask questions with an open microphone or if you have a larger group, utilize the poll features in your video conferencing platform.-

Presenting online is not that differ- ent than presenting in person, in fact you will be utilizing most of the best practices in both cases. Even if you were presenting in person, you would still need to know your pre- sentation platforms inside and out. Developing your online presenta- tion skills will easily transfer back when you present in person again.

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