Giving a presentation while being at the office is a relatively simple task (apart from the nervousness that skyrockets if you are not a regular presenter).
You go to a conference or meeting room where you set up your laptop, connect it to the projector, grab the remote control and start presenting in front of your peers or stakeholders.
However, presenting while you are working from home is a whole different story.
Your spouse/significant other/roommate might start playing the television in the next room or talk in a loud tone while on a call. Oh, and if you have kids or pets, you never know when they will be hungry/bored/loud/ and come inside your room uninvited. You might forget to lock the room and your camera might show someone walking past.
It is easy to let things slide when you work from home. You might have to look after the house. That includes doing the dishes, your laundry piling up, and among all those chores you might forget that meeting you were supposed to join? You can totally reschedule that, right?
When you work from home, you are still expected to be a professional. That means being organised and not letting any mishaps increase your anxiety or affect your ability to present effectively.
Here are some tips to help you make sure your next remote presentation is a success:
Just because you are not standing in front of an audience does not mean you can wing it. Make sure you have a solid plan for your presentation and that you practice beforehand so that you know what you have to speak when.
Whether you are preparing to present a board report, a financial report, a UX research report, market analysis, social media report, usability testing report or simply talking about your work/project status, you might find these designer reports handy.
When you are presenting remotely, your slides and other visuals are even more important than usual. Make sure they are well-designed, easy to read and you do a quick rehearsal to see if a single slide is not taking up too much time.
Since people can't see much of your body language while you presenting remotely, it is even more important to make sure your speech is clear and engaging. While practicing, pay attention to your tone and volume, and try to enunciate your words clearly so that you do the same in the actual presentation.
If you can, try to create a dedicated workspace in your home. This will help you get into the right frame of mind for work and make it easier to focus on the task at hand.
If you do not have an extra room that you can use as an office, try to find a quiet corner in your house where you can set up a makeshift desk. In some “emergency” situations, you can also work from your kitchen table or coffee table. Just make sure that your workspace is well-lit and free of distractions.
However, if you are going to be working from home on a regular basis, it is worth investing in some quality office equipment. This includes things like a comfortable office chair, a noise-cancelling headset, and a high-quality webcam.
Some companies have started giving an amount for you to purchase your office equipment and set up a cosy workspace. Comfort is directly related to your performance in presentations.
In addition to that, remember that a cluttered workspace can be a major distraction. So, before you start working, take a few minutes to tidy up your desk or table. This will help you focus on your work and avoid getting sidetracked by things such as piles of paperwork.
Most importantly, if you live with other people, it is important to set some ground rules before you start working from home. Let them know when you will be working and when you will be available. Creating a dedicated space for yourself that is off-limits to others will help minimise distractions and allow you to focus on your work.
This one is critical. If you are going to give a perfect presentation working from home, you need to have a reliable internet connection. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to speak only to be constantly interrupted by a slow or unreliable internet connection.
If your internet is spotty, consider investing in a Wi-Fi extender or switching to a different internet service provider.
In addition, keep in mind that the number of devices you have connected to your Wi-Fi network can also affect your connection speed. So, if possible, disconnect any devices that are not being used during your presentation.
Just because you are not in the same room as your audience does not mean you can't interact with them. Use polling and Q&A features to keep them involved in the presentation.
It is always a good idea to build in some extra time at the end of your presentation in case there are any questions or technical difficulties.
Just because you are presenting remotely does not mean you have to present the exact same way to every audience. Take into account the different needs and preferences of each group you are presenting to and tailor your presentation accordingly.
When you are finished with your presentation, make sure you thank everyone for their time and let them know how they can contact you if they have any questions.
If possible, enlist the help of a friend or coworker to run the audio/visuals for your presentation. This way, you can focus on delivering a great presentation and do not have to worry about the technical aspects.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is important to remember that first impressions matter. When you are meeting with clients or colleagues virtually, they will form an opinion of you based on how you look.
So, before you join that video conference, take a quick shower, brush your hair, and put on some clean clothes. Of course, it does not have to be a three-piece suit, but you should wear a clean shirt that looks presentable.
If you have been working from home all day, it is important to take a break before the presentation. This might not be possible if you have regular presentations crammed into your schedule.
However, it would still make sense to just take a couple of minutes to step away from your computer, stretch your legs, and grab a snack as it will help you stay focused and give your best while you are speaking and pitching your ideas.
It is true that when you are working from home, it can be easy to slack off on your presentation skills. After all, who is going to know if you are slouching in front of the computer or wearing pyjamas?
But even though you are not in a traditional office setting, it is still important to make sure you are professional at all times and putting your best foot forward when presenting remotely.
Here we sum up a few of the additional things you should take into consideration for an effective presentation:
When you work from home, it can be difficult to stay motivated and focused, especially if you have presentations every other day. One way to help combat this is to make sure that you have a dedicated workspace set up that is separate from the rest of your home. This will help you to stay focused and avoid distractions.
Another way to stay on track when working from home is to create a daily schedule and stick to it as much as possible as it will help you to structure your day and ensure that you are getting everything done that you need to. As a result, you will not feel weary when it is time for you to give a presentation.
It is also important to take breaks throughout the day, even if it is just for a few minutes. Get up and move around, stretch, or take a quick walk outside. This will help you to refresh your mind and will allow you to present well in front of the audience.
By following these simple tips, you will become an effective presenter.
Author Bio: Osama Zahid is a technology content strategist who is passionate about content marketing and all things SEO. He has helped various companies rank their content on the first page of search engines. In his free time, Osama loves to play football and travel.