I remember the first time I gave a virtual presentation.
I was in a small conference room with six other panelists. A camera on a stand faced me. To my left was a computer that looked like a mashup of the old overhead projector and a touch screen. A large screen displaying six feeds at once was on the wall in front of me.
My presentation was sent via satellite to 21 other remote locations each with an audience of 30-100 people. Every location had a large screen displaying the satellite feed, a camera on a stand facing the audience and a microphone on a stand for questions. When a remote location had a question, they pushed a button which placed their feed first on my large screen. Their feed was also highlighted with a green square. I controlled who and when each remote audience had the floor.
The organization hosting my presentation had spent many hours preparing me for the presentation. We had two rehearsals to make sure I knew how to operate the technology.
The day of the presentation we had a major storm and very strong winds had shifted our large satellite dish slightly off its base. We had to call a construction team to properly align the dish. Thankfully, the presentation went as scheduled and the remote participants had no idea of our earlier predicament.
We did have a backup plan as well. We had sent a recorded presentation to each of the remote locations in case our technology failed.
Why Your Digital Presentation Failed
Often when virtual presentations fail we are quick to blame the technology or the remote participants. Some of the remote participants may be unfamiliar with or intimated by the technology. They fear embarrassment if they click the wrong button.
When something goes wrong with a digital presentation, we can’t just blame the technology or the audience. The technology is only a tool to communicate the message to the audience. The audience is only as educated as the information we sent them.
The number one top reason digital presentations fail is from lack of planning.
As the familiar expression says, “If you fail to plan, plan to fail.”
Without a well designed plan, the execution phase can become difficult. Your planning actually affects all aspects of the presentation.
Lack Of Planning Leads To…
Here are 13 things that your lack of planning for your virtual presentation can create.
- Unnecessary presentations.
- Confusion about the purpose of the presentation.
- Meaningless content.
- Jumbled presentations that ramble, follow rabbit trails, are boring and difficult to follow.
- Presentations that start and end late.
- Sidebar conversations that derail the presentation.
- Too many presenters or panelists.
- Technology failures.
- Remote participants that do not have instructions for connection or start times.
- Too much marketing and sponsorship info that eclipses the main presentation.
- The wrong audience attends.
- Attendees are not given the opportunity to participate whether through online chat or audio.
- Inability for the audience to hear the presenter well.
This entire list is easily correctable. Ultimately, preparation should be your top priority whether you are the presenter or the organizer.
What are some other challenges that lack of planning leads to regarding digital presentations? When attending a digital presentation as a remote viewer, what’s important to you to keep you engaged?
I found one of the biggest problems with poor planning is the presentation lacks focus and a definitive call to action. People focus on what went wrong rather than the presentation itself, which is why proper planning is crucial. I happen to appreciate original photography and images during digital presentations rather than generic pics someone plucked off the Internet just to beef up their presentation.
Jeff Hurt says
Great point that often presentations lack a call to action! I also like your point about using original images instead of standard clip art or stock photos. Thanks for reading and commenting too.