Give Your Audience Something To Take With Them

Give Your Audience Something To Take With Them

July 19, 2011

Chapter 11 – Remote Presentations

Projectors typically have an even lower resolution than monitors. Higher resolution supports more data in the same space, but doesn’t show up properly on presentation projectors. The solution is to give your audience control over the information. Whether they have digital copies or paper ones, everyone should have a copy of your presentation while you are speaking.

Nancy Duarte says, “People will multitask during your presentation. It’s the nemesis of the medium. Instead of ignoring it, use it as motivation to communicate differently.” When someone is reading your handouts they aren’t listening to you. That’s OK. Nobody in your audience will listen to every word you say. Don’t try to force them. Let them go at their own pace. Some of them will want to skip ahead while others will need to go back to see what you were just talking about.

When presenting remotely it can be difficult to provide handouts. If your audience has laptops you can send your slides ahead of time and let each audience member follow along with them at their own pace. Many people will advise you that sending your slides out ahead of time is wrong, but it is the right thing to do when presenting remotely.

People are coming to see you, not just your slides. If your entire presentation is in your slides then you should just send them and skip the meeting or, even better, send a document instead of slides. However, your slides are a much larger part of your presentation when you are giving it remotely. There are three reasons to send your slides ahead of time.

Don’t start your presentation by wasting time. Many meetings lose 10-20 minutes at the start with setup issues. Making your audience watch while someone sets up a projector or waits for your slides to come over email is bad start. Having the slides ahead of time will avoid many technical issues and meeting delays.

Let your audience go at their own pace. Your remote presentation slides should contain more information than the slides you would use for a face-to-face presentation. There will be a much larger difference in how long it takes the fastest and the slowest readers to finish each slide. Let everyone go at their own pace by giving them a copy of your slides.

Give your audience a preview. Many people are reluctant to attend a remote presentation. Your slides, and a good description of your topic, will give your audience a preview of what you are going to say and make it much more likely that they attend.

For high stakes presentations, give your audience something more to bring with them. Create a teaser for your presentation. Let them know why they should attend. Get people excited!

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