Before becoming a freelancer data scientist, I used to work in a distributed company. Remote communication, including remote presentations were the norm for me, long before the remote work experiment no one asked for. In this post, I share some tips for delivering better presentations remotely.
- Stand up! Usually, we stand up when we present in front of live audience. For some reason, when presenting remotely, people tend to sit. A sitting person is less dynamic and looks less engaging. I have a standing desk which allows me to stand up and to raise the camera to my face level.
- If you can’t raise the camera, stay sitting. You don’t want your audience staring at your groin.
- I always use a presentation remote control. It frees me up and lets me move more naturally. My remote is almost ten years old and I have a strong emotional attachment to it
- When presenting, it is very important to see your audience. Use two monitors. Use one monitor for screen sharing, and the other one to see the audience.
- Put the Skype/Zoom/whatever window that shows your audience under the camera. This way you’ll look most natural on the other side of the teleconference.
- Starting a presentation in Powerpoint or Keynote “kidnaps” all the displays. You will not be able to see the audience when that happens. I export the presentation to a PDF file and use Acrobat Reader in full-screen mode. The up- and down- buttons in my presentation remote control work with the Reader. The “make screen black” button doesn’t.
- I open a “lightable view” of my presentation and put it next to the audience screen. It’s not as useful as seeing the presenter’s notes using a “real” presentation program, but it is good enough.
- Make a dry run. Ideally, the try run should be a day or two before the event, to make sure all the technical problems are fixed.
- Go online at least five minutes before the schedule. Be in front of the camera, don’t let the audience stare at your empty room
- Make sure nothing in your background will embarrass you. This risk is especially high if you present from home or a hotel. Nobody needs to see your bed during a business meeting.
very good, practical, post. I can’t get the ‘reblog’ function to work. Might be worth reinstalling it?
Reblogged this on Engineering sense and commented:
Boris Gorelik is a data scientist who writes a blog full of practically oriented and thought-provoking content. Some of it focuses on data science; some of it focuses on technical or scientific communication more generally. This post struck me as particularly helpful – I do like it when people draw on their own experience and attend to the nitty-gritty!
Oh, it’s working now. Have just reblogged. Frequently find your blog enlightening, BTW.
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Great article Boris! I personally prefer the lightable view as notes don’t work for me and cleaning up my environment always does the trick for presenting better. Will surely try the “two monitor” tip for my next one. I also found this article https://slideuplift.com/blog/business-powerpoint-presentations/best-business-powerpoint-templates-2021/ quite helpful.