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Even as many businesses begin to head back to work this summer, we are seeing the routine of virtual meetings and presentations remain for both in person and virtual workers. This may be due to the efficiency that virtual presentations bring when it comes to connecting with a global audience, or even how much easier they make it to accommodate the growing trend of hybrid employees. 

However, if your company is continuing with online presentations even after heading back to the office, it’s still important that your content and messaging is being received with as much clarity and focus as it would if you were all huddled around the conference room together. 

To help ensure that your interaction with your audience is as strong as possible during your next virtual conference or meeting, here are 5 things you should NOT do when preparing for your presentation. 

1. Don’t skip your rehearsal 

One of the biggest rookie mistakes that we see here at Bluewater when it comes virtual meetings is presenters who don’t schedule a walk through or rehearsal of their presentation before the live event. Preparation is not only the key to ensuring that you are familiar with the content you are presenting and are ready to answer any questions that your audience may have, but it also helps you become familiar with the software you’re using – both your slide software and video conferencing software

Make sure you are scheduling a test run of your presentation with all fellow presenters and controller staff at least 24 hours before going live. This will help you work out when speaker transitions will happen, how you will communicate with the production team, how the flow of the meeting will go, etc. It will also give you enough time to work out any kinks that may pop up during this initial run. 

2. Don’t wait until the meeting is starting to log in 

It’s very common for most people to hop on a meeting with only a minute or two to go before it starts. However, if you are the host or the presenter of a presentation, you want to make sure you are logging into your presentation link 15 to 30 minutes before things actually kick off. This will give you plenty of time to make lighting or audio adjustments, go through any unexpected software updates that may pop up, and pull up any documents or examples you need for your presentation. 

Also take this time to declutter your environment – both in a literal way by cleaning up your office space, and in your browser window, by exiting any unneeded tabs and muting any chat conversations. 

3. Don’t act like an invisible voiceover the entire time 

Nothing is worse than jumping on a meeting or a presentation and just looking at templated slide deck the entire time. Now, we’re not saying that you should not have reference slides to reinforce the points you are trying to make, but make sure that you are also keeping your visual image in the frame or switching back and forth between you and your presentation wherever possible.  

This will help you keep a strong connection with your audience throughout the presentation and will ensure that the data or images that you are using are actually reinforcing your story, rather than just appearing as just another bullet point. 

4. Don’t be the only person engaging in your meeting 

Zoom fatigue is a very real thing, and it’s easy for attendees to zone out in the middle of a long presentation or meeting if they haven’t been engaged in the last 15-30 minutes. So, make sure you are taking breaks from your outline and checking in with your audience every so often, just like you would if you were delivering an in-person presentation. 

Also offer attendees an opportunity to participate in your presentation, either with questions they can answer throughout the meeting via the platform’s chat function or offer interactive polls throughout the session that guide your talking points. 

5. Don’t let your presentation run too long 

Many people have back-to-back meetings on their calendars and aren’t always able to be flexible if a meeting is running 10-15 minutes over. This is unfortunate in online meetings because the last few minutes of your presentation are often the most important part, where you are summarizing all of the biggest points you covered and allowing attendees to ask questions and clarify any points that stuck out to them. 

Therefore, make sure you are staying on track throughout your presentation and that you are delivering your key information throughout, so no one misses out if they have to jump early or your presentation runs long. 

Looking for help ensuring that your next virtual presentation or meeting is as successful as possible? Contact our virtual event experts at Bluewater to learn all about the things you SHOULD do during your next virtual presentation.