When you’re presenting in-person, your own slides can compete with you for your audiences attention. This is why you try have just the right amount of content on your slide as possible so that the audiences eyeballs may be directed back to the speaker. However, online presenting allowed for three different dynamics instead of one.
The presenter and the slide:
It allowed for a dynamic where the audience could just focus on you without having to see a slide. How do we do that in-person?
Create a holding slide. Design a slide that has no new content on it that supports your presentation. It could have just your logo or the event logo. This slide will appear right as you walk onto the stage or when you want the audiences full attention on you speaking. As soon as the audience see this slide they will already have seen it and have no reason to focus on the screen.
When you’re presenting online, your audience has an excruciatingly large number of distractions available to them. They can instantly switch tabs and start watching those videos of cats where they have remixed their strange noises into cool songs. When people invest their attention somewhere, your presentation is at risk of becoming background noise. The truth here is, that the same thing happens with an in-person audience. People can still zone out and focus on things deep in their own minds. The usual advice is you must hold their attention. That’s a frivolous pursuit that needs a frame of mind change.
We can’t hold their attention, so instead interrupt their distractions.
You need to try consistently win back your audience. Here’s a quick list to do just that:
- Manage your pitch, pace, and pause in your speech. For example, you speak louder to clearly communicate your point and then pause. Let it sink in the audiences minds.
- More slide changes. It is usually one slide per minute but with the attention span of people these days we would recommend two slides per minute. The changes on screen, even it is just a color change, draws the audiences attention again.
- Audience engagement. Online you could do polls for example. Now for in-person presentations you can use tools like Mentimeter to still have that kind of engagement.
The golden rule is that your audience can never enjoy receiving your presentation as much as you enjoy giving it. So make damn sure you are enjoying yourself delivering it as much as possible!
When you’re presenting online it can really suck when your entire audience has their cameras turned off. Then it’s just you and your content presenting to the black eye of your camera. When that’s the case you need to find a way to entertain yourself and have the best time ever with that camera. This is something you have to take into the in-person space as well.
Fall in love with your content. When you are writing and practicing your content, make sure you are having a great time doing that. Then hit that stage and have the best time possible with your audience.
So create a holding slide, interrupt your audiences distractions, and enjoy the hell out of delivering your content. You can easily apply these learnings from online presenting to your in-person presenting right now. You’re going to want to watch this video as well for further information.