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12 Tips to Give an Amazing Online Presentation

Whether you’re new to giving online presentations or a seasoned veteran, here are some tips that will launch your next presentation into the stratosphere!

Table of Contents

Start with momentum, open with iissaaqq, end with a bang, show your face, stand, don’t sit, leverage visuals to your advantage, add interaction, host quizzes and polls, live q&a’s, cut the presentation bologna, #screen record yourself         , pick your presentation tools, embrace the fear, bonus: other creative presentation tips, remote work guide.

Start learning everything you need to know about Remote Work.

Do you have an online presentation coming up? I’ve given hundreds of virtual presentations, ranging from YouTube presentations to presentations for Microsoft. And from my experience, online presentations are a different ballgame than in-person ones.

In this article, I’ll share my top 12 tips and tricks to save you the trouble and ace your next presentation.

An online presentation is a prepared speech or talk in which a person or group provides information, pitches a new idea, or introduces a new product or service through a video call. Online presentations are given to an audience, usually in a business setting.

Ready to take a dive into the tips? Let’s go!

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Virtual presentations are like taking a flight on an airplane. The beginning and ending are super important, but the middle’s kind of a blur. 

That’s why, if you’re going to prioritize any part of your presentation, you are better off spending the majority of your energy on the first and last minutes. Let’s focus on the first moments.

The beginning of your presentation is critical because it sets the tone—a good first impression makes you feel confident and your audience relaxed. This forward momentum will carry onto the middle part of your presentation where you’ll be presenting the bulk of your data/statistics/information—so if you don’t nail your first impression, you won’t gain that forward momentum you need for the rest of your presentation.

And believe me, people judge you almost instantly! Here’s what the science has to say about first impressions:

A 2017 University of Toronto study found that observers take as little as 5 seconds to determine whether a person is charismatic or not!

So when you’re delivering a presentation online, you should try to make your beginning as error-free and smooth as possible. This includes being prepared and removing potential roadblocks:

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What does this really bad spelling of Isaac stand for? IISSAAQQ stands for the best ways to start an online presentation:

The ending is the part where your audience is (hopefully) happy that the presentation is over, and they feel like they’ve learned something or feel inspired to change. If you’ve made it this far in your presentation, the LAST thing you want to do is crash and burn. So here are some tips to make an amazing presentation that will remain in your audience’s mind long after it has ended.

Did you know that faces are attractive to humans? A study by Richard Fantz demonstrated that infants stare twice as long at human faces! We are just inherently born with an attraction to faces. In short: we love human faces, and yours is no exception.

If you’re giving an online presentation or even getting on video call for the first time with your new online networking contact, a super-easy bump in your likability factor is to simply show your face. Many video call programs such as Zoom or Skype allow you to share your screen while also showing your face. Here’s an example of my face in a webinar I hosted on how to thrive in a digital workplace:

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Pro tip: you can even take it up a notch by backing up your webcam. This allows you to show your body language better! In fact, one of the most important nonverbal cues for charisma is your hand gestures . In the Toronto study mentioned earlier, the observers didn’t even need to hear a presenter talking; all they needed to do was see their body language! That’s how powerful body language really is. So push back your computer or phone or camera so your hands and upper torso are showing!

When you use your hands, you can also benefit from the following:

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Want more tips on how to make a better video call? Here are our 15 Tips for a Better Video Call !

Sitting is great. Standing is even better! One big mistake a lot of virtual presenters make is sitting down instead of standing. 

When you stand, you can utilize the full range of your deep breathing, therefore increasing your vocal power . You’ll be able to project your voice louder and deeper, and have stronger vocal variance when you stand. Standing also helps you naturally convey a more powerful posture if your chest is up and your back is straight.

If you can, try to utilize a standing desk to your advantage! If you don’t have a standing desk, you can use your kitchen counter or another higher position to place your laptop. If you absolutely must sit, remember to keep your back straight throughout the presentation.

Does your online presentation contain a juicy tip, great piece of advice, or free goodie?

Consider giving it out in the first 5 minutes of your presentation rather than keeping it until the end. This will give your audience a little dopamine boost of motivation to continue listening to your presentation!

“Simply put, people are obliged to give back to others the form of a behavior, gift, or service that they have received first.“ – Robert Cialdini, author of Influence

Have you ever wondered what is the best way to use visuals in your online presentation? Visual aids are used to:

I try to use visuals in ALL of my online presentations! The thing is, it’s really hard to keep your audience engaged and distraction free, especially if they are online. So if you’re boring your audience by using long lists of words… your message won’t be getting across. According to John Medina, author of Brain Rules :

So there’s no easier way to have your information remembered than to add visuals! Here are some examples of visuals you can use in your presentations:

In my articles, I like to use hand-drawn stick figure comics. That’s because they’re both funny and engaging! They also help nail down important bits of information I want my readers to take away. 

For example, here’s a random fact that you may not have known:

Alligators don’t only eat meat; they eat fruit, too!

Interesting, right? Now here’s an image to really drive in that fact:

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I know, it’s not the best picture ever (I blame my lack of art skills!). But see how adding a simple image can really solidify a piece of information? You’ll remember this fact a lot longer by seeing an image rather than just by reading or hearing it. 

Now take the power of visuals and use it to your advantage—if you’re giving a business presentation online, sprinkling in a few key visuals throughout your presentation can help you drive in those really important points. 

If you’re debating whether you should use a visual, here’s a quick checklist to ask yourself:

If your visual doesn’t meet one of the above checklist items, it’s best to cut it. And here’s something important you can write down for each visual you add into your slide:

The purpose for this visual is to ___.

If the purpose is not clear enough, consider removing the visual. Remember: visuals should only ADD value to your slide, not take it away.                                                                           

A major downside to online presentations is that it’s hard to engage your audience. Besides nicely-placed visuals, you can add an element of interaction to your virtual presentations to make your audience more interested. Here are some interactive presentation ideas:

A great way to increase audience engagement is to use physical props. 

How do you use props in an online presentation? Props should be used to explain a difficult concept, demonstrate a product, create humor, or be memorable. They should always support your presentation, and not distract from it. And the key to using online props is to first make sure that people can actually SEE your prop.

This means if you are in a video call, avoid using small objects that everyone can’t see. If you need to, you can momentarily stop screen sharing and turn to your live video feed so the audience can focus on your prop. 

Pro tip: Don’t show the prop until it is needed. A bad move is to give away the goods and immediately take them away, causing your audience to remain in suspense and be distracted throughout your presentation!

One cool thing you could do during your presentation is to include your audience’s opinions using surveys. If I’m giving a presentation, I can insert a little quiz with a list of possible answers which my audience can then vote on. It’s really interesting to see how many people pick the right (or wrong) answer!

If you want to know how to create awesome quizzes for your presentation, check out our software section below.

One technique I love to use for better interaction is to simply ask questions!

For example, if you have an existing product you are discussing, you might want to ask your team, “What are some common customer complaints about this item?” Your team will then give their answers, pitching ideas of some common customer complaints.

Here’s where it gets good…

You can then go to the next slide that addresses these problems individually. Bam! You’ve done two things: 

Niiiice, a two-for-one combo!                

What happens when you talk about the same things over and over again in a presentation? One bored audience, that’s for sure. And a whole lotta bologna on the side.

Repeating the same stuff. Facts that don’t need to be there. Extra words that make your eyes tired or are difficult to read.

I call this stuff Presentation Bologna. And it’s NOT the good kind of bologna (is there even a good kind?). Presentation Bologna includes:

Your goal is to make your presentation slides as small as possible, while retaining the most essential information possible. You can even write down notes on notecards to help assist you in explaining the points you have in your presentation or memorize what you will say altogether.

Online presentations should be simple and straightforward, like live presentations. The biggest difference here is that your audience will likely be straining their eyes, trying to look at their (potentially tiny) computer screens while you are giving a presentation.

That’s why it’s essential to cut the bologna. I usually do this step after creating the bulk of my presentation, but before practicing my presentation. Speaking of practicing, let’s move on to the next step…

The great thing about giving online presentations is that you can practice everything in the comfort of your own home. You can practice in the same room you’ll present in, with the same lighting, with the same computer setup, and everything. When practicing, make use of the screen recording feature! Screen record is an absolute must, especially for virtual teams . Most newer Mac and Windows computers have a built-in screen record feature already. 

When going over your video recordings, take careful consideration of the following:

You can even send your presentation over to a friend or family member for them to review at their convenience. Yay for technology!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

When giving an online presentation, you have to have the right tools for the job. There are a lot of presentation tools out there—tools exist for: 

Depending on your needs, you’ll need to choose the right tools for your virtual presentation. I recommend choosing one tool to create your presentation and adding in visual tools along the way, based on your needs. Here are 5 of my favorite online presentation tools I use:

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Pixabay is by far my most favorite image-finding tool. This site has over 1.7 million free, high-quality stock images and videos you can use to insert into your virtual presentation. Using a stock image is a great way to break up text, add a little emotion, and make your presentations a little more exciting.

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When I use Canva, I feel like I’ve been given a magic design wand. That’s because there are a ton of free infographics, logos, pictures, posters, and even presentation templates you can use and customize to your heart’s content. And they’re surprisingly high quality for being free! Canva  even has a section for Zoom Virtual Backgrounds that you can add to your video call when giving your online presentation!

Did I mention it’s free? I use the Premium version, although the Free version is great, too!

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Here’s one that I mentioned earlier in the article. This is a great software I use to create live polls and quizzes for my virtual presentations! Whether it’s a multiple choice quiz, true/false test, or just a general Q&A poll, users can participate on their computers, phones, or tablets! It’s super easy to use and integrates easily with Keynote as well. 

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Want to eliminate distracting noises completely? Sometimes that’s not possible. But the closest thing I have found to help is Krisp. Krisp is a software that’s free to use (up to 120 minutes a week!) and works by blocking out all background noises so only your voice can be heard by other conference call members. You can download and install it, but I use the Chrome extension! It’s seriously worth giving a shot if you’ve got loud noise in the house.

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Here’s the golden question: Should I make a Keynote online presentation, or a Microsoft PowerPoint one? Since I have a Mac, I use Keynote. It’s intuitive, easy-to-use, and it’s built into all Mac computers already. Keynote has a ton of presentation templates you can use, and you can even create tables and charts in the app itself! For me, Keynote is a must for my presentation-creating needs.

I compiled a list of the best tools my team uses. You can check them out here:

15 Best Remote Tools

Have you ever been skydiving? Even if you haven’t, you can just imagine that pit-in-the-stomach feeling of jumping out of an airplane. And if you shy or a natural introvert , giving presentations is not so different than skydiving.

After giving hundreds of presentations—both in-person and online—my best piece of advice to those with presentation anxiety is to give up on trying to get rid of that fear. That’s because that fear will probably never go away . 

But here’s the silver lining: the fear does get better. The more you give presentations and get comfortable speaking in front of people, the less giving presentations suck . If you hate giving presentations like I once did, you might even turn to love them—once you learn how to walk with confidence and have the power to influence the way people think, you feel like you’re on top of the world! 

And that pit-in-the-stomach feeling? It changes to a good fear—the kind that makes you look forward to giving presentations! And the more presentations you give, the better you get.

Life is better when you build your social skills. As a recovering awkward person, I was terrible at socializing—I would often lock myself in the bathroom at parties just to avoid conversation! But now, I want to inspire people to take charge of social situations because I know that social skills are the key to a happier, more productive life. That’s why I gave all my secrets about how to be ridiculously likable in Chapter 5 of my book. Interested? Here’s a free gift for you today– click here for the free first chapter of Captivate !

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Unlock the Secrets of Charisma

Control and leverage the tiny signals you’re sending – from your stance and facial expressions to your word choice and vocal tone – to improve your personal and professional relationships.

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Succeed with People

Master the laws of human behavior. Get along with anyone, increasing your influence, impact, and income as a result.

Congratulations, you have arrived at your destination!

As a thank you for taking this Science of People flight with me, I’d like to share with you some bonuses to take your presentation skills to the next level. 

Here are some techniques you may want to master:

All too often we end up using the same old social scripts and asking people the same questions over and over again. If you want to do a team icebreaker before, during, or after your presentation, use my list of conversation starters:

57 Killer Conversation Starters

People who don’t feel confident often believe that confidence is something we are born with. It’s not . Confidence is a skill that can be developed. If you are nervous about your presentation, try boosting your confidence with these scientific techniques:

11 Scientific Strategies For More Confidence

Not everyone can work from home. But if you find a way to do it properly, you can reap some pretty amazing benefits. Check out the 7 Deadly Problems of working at home and how to combat them:

How to Work from Home Successfully in 7 Steps

Finally, I put together a guide on how to manage remote teams. If you’re leading a team of remote workers, this is one guide you shouldn’t miss! Check it out here:

12 Reliable Tips to Manage Remote Employees

6 replies on “12 Tips to Give an Amazing Online Presentation”

I usually give some advice to my engineering students for doing good presentations. This is a powerful resource. Thanks for sharing the tips.

Fantastic resource! I couldn’t ask for more.

Thank a lot Vannesa. You provide me excellent information.

Love your article. So much to learn from! I’m preparing a presentation in few months and you gave all I needed.

Thank you so much Vanessa!

I’ve never seen such a detailed guide anywhere else! Excellent! In recent months, probably almost everyone who works or studies remotely had to make online presentations. I like that you emphasized humor and the different visualization techniques that can be used to diversify the monotony of the narrative. I also find some of the platforms that you mentioned very useful. Thank you! I am preparing for a big and important presentation and hope to perform at my best!

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What is an Online Presentation?

An online presentation is any type of presentation that is given over the Internet or sent by e-mail. This can include sales presentations, online conference presentations, or any demonstration of a product or procedure that is done online rather than in person. Some of these presentations are made using presentation software such as PowerPoint®, but an online presentation like a commercial or webinar can also be made with recorded audio and video.

Online sales presentations are becoming an increasingly useful way for companies to introduce or pitch their products. This type of online presentation has many possibilities for the format that can be used. Some are created to look like traditional television commercials, with audio, video, photos, animation , or any combination of these. Others are made with software like PowerPoint or Sliderocket, where the user creates a series of slides containing text, graphs, photographs, and audio. Online sales presentations can be posted on company websites, on blogs, on Facebook , or they can be emailed to customers in newsletters.

An online presentation can also be part of a training session, business meeting, or conference that is conducted online. These presentations can be useful for businesses with offices or branches in different cities, allowing people to meet without the expense of traveling long distances. Using computers equipped with cameras, microphones, and often large viewing screens, people are able to meet and give presentations in almost the same way as they would face-to-face in a face to face meeting.

A webinar is another kind of online presentation. With audio and video equipment, it is possible to record a traditional lecture or seminar and post it online, where it can be viewed for free or with a fee. These presentations can be used for distance learning, training courses, and for sales and demonstrations of new products. Some webinars can be linked to from a school’s or company’s website, while others might be posted on video-sharing sites such as YouTube™ or Vimeo.

Online presentation tools and software are becoming more widely available on the Internet. Google introduced the presentation software Presently in late 2007 as part of Google Docs™, its online office software package. Other online tools like AjaxPresents™, Zoho® Show, or Sliderocket™ allow users to import files from their computers or generate interactive and animated presentations using Flash, then publish, share, and store presentations online, or embed presentations in blogs or on Facebook.

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How Online Presentations Work

Presentation software tools can be used to make dynamic presentations for either online or in-person viewing.

Business people today may find it hard to imagine the days when slide projectors and cardboard graphics were the main tools available for presentations on sales, manufacturing or any other business topic.

Giving effective online presentations is as basic a business skill as balancing a checking account. Software such as Microsoft PowerPoint have not only changed how presentations are created, but also how they're presented. And Google Docs can make creating and giving Internet presentations fun and simple, allowing the business associate to imprint his individuality into the process.

Online presentation software allows business people to create presentations in the form of a slide show, which can be controlled and paced by the presenter. Such presentations can be stored on a computer hard drive or disc for the presenter to access in person, live in front of the intended audience.

But the software also can be used to deliver and store a presentation via the Internet, where audience members can access it at their convenience. The technology's portability makes it far more powerful than the paper-and-slide-based days of the past.­

Today’s software also allows the presentation author to incorporate traditional text and images into their message. But they also allow the presenter to use more advanced media, such as video capture software and screen capture software to bring digital video images and animation into play. Such software is also written to be intuitive and easy to use for the novice.

In this article, we’ll talk about creating online presentations, including how to use screen and video capture software to make your presentations more effective.

Using PowerPoint for Online Presentations

Using google docs for online presentations, using video capture software for online presentations, using screen capture software for online presentations.

Software programs like PowerPoint let users create slide presentations to emphasize points.

Microsoft's PowerPoint recently marked its 20th birthday. Over the last two decades, PowerPoint has become the standard in presentations.

Using PowerPoint for online presentations is easy, fun and can help your work stand out. The program provides seemingly endless means of expressing ideas through its many options and features, while also helping the author organize his ideas.­

PowerPoint allows the presenter to create a series of panels -- similar to slides -- which can hold text, graphics, hyperlinks, spreadsheets, digital photos, video or sound, and animation. Presenters are limited only by creativity and their judgment as to the appropriateness of each of these features. The latter is not a small point. The software and those who use it have at times received criticism for putting the presentation's flashy nature over the message's importance [source: Manage Smarter ]. As management consultant Abhay Padgaonkar reports, PowerPoint users must know and understand their audience to craft an appropriate presentation.

Once the author has assembled the presentation, he can give it live in a meeting using a computer-screen projector. In this way, PowerPoint can be used to augment points, entertain an audience and bring cohesive understanding to a subject in the traditional meeting setting. Another advantage is that such presentations are highly reliable and portable, which would assist, for example, a vice president tasked with making the same marketing presentation at several outlying offices.

That same vice president, however, could also choose to skip the travel and place the presentation online.

By converting the files to HTML, a PowerPoint presentation can be placed for download on a company's Internet or intranet site, where it can be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection. The author also can turn the presentation itself into a Web site that contains files necessary to display the presentation in any Web browser.

Other options for using the Internet to make the presentation available include sending it directly to audience members via e-mail or broadcasting it live over the Internet using a microphone and digital camera.

The PowerPoint files also can easily be converted to XPS or PDF files, which makes them sharable across a wide variety of platforms. Also, a new, compressed Microsoft Office PowerPoint XML format reduces the file size and offers big advantages in terms of storage and bandwidth requirements.

On the next page, we'll talk about using Google Docs for presentations.

With Google Docs, multiple users can work on and share presentations.

Online presentations can be shared with Google Docs, a Web-based program that makes it easier and more efficient for groups to collaborate.­

Google Docs allows participants to store documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more at a secure online site, where they can be accessed by those who have permission. The free service allows users to create these items in their account or upload them from outside the service. Once an item is uploaded, its creator or anyone with permission can work on it online using any browser. The service provides real-time collaboration, which allows several users to work on an item simultaneously and keeps track of what changes each party makes.

It's easy to use Google Docs for online presentations. Google Docs allows the user to import existing presentations, including those in Microsoft PowerPoint and others. Users can edit presentations using a "what you see is what you get" type editing programs, inserting images and formatting slides to fit their vision. It also allows users to present real-time presentations for invited guests at various locations (provided they have a standard Internet browsing connection) and also allows a presenter to publish their work on the Web, allowing the entire Internet community access. The entire process operates from a familiar desktop arrangement, which makes the new program comfortable for the user.

Because Google Docs is supported by Google, users can use the popular search engine to find a document from their past. Security features allow the administrator to choose which parties have access to what item and when. They also can set further restrictions on internal and external document sharing and can change those at any time.

Google Docs supports most common Web browsers, including Explorer, Netscape and Mozilla Firefox.

On the next page, we'll talk about using video-capture software to make your online presentations more effective.

Adding videos to online presentations can make them stand out. Video capture software makes it easy.

Let's say there's a video clip that really illustrates a point you're trying to make in your online presentation. Not that long ago, such a situation might call for you to ask for your audience's indulgence as you stop your presentation and fire up a VCR hooked to a too-small television with poor sound quality. Instead, you now can use video capture software to seamlessly incorporate video clips into your online presentation.

Using video capture software for online presentations can make your work stand out. For instance, it can inject an invigorating change of pace into a text-heavy presentation, bringing your audience back to focus as you hit important points. It also brings a hint of multimedia flavor to any presentation.

Video capture software helps convert older, analog video images, such as those on video tape cassettes, into digital format. For example, a company might want to convert its old training tapes to digital. Or, a public relations firm might collect a variety of past television news reports concerning a client that might help define the client's public image.

There are many choices in this area of software, including freeware such as AviScreen Classic and commercially available software, such as Windows Movie Maker and many others.

Once the video images are captured, presentation authors can incorporate them using the insert menu in PowerPoint. The program also allows the author to create titles and in some cases mark up the video, perhaps placing circles around important things shown in a clip.

We'll talk about how to use screen capture software for online presentations on the next page.

Screen capture software offers simple editing tools to make online presentations more effective.

Closely related to the video capture software previously mentioned is screen capture software. Screen capture software captures video and movements from one's computer screen, such as mouse and cursor movements and window cycles.

This can be especially helpful in online presentations about computer software. Screen captures can actually show the movements -- the click-and-drags, pull-down menus and results -- as someone operates the software being demonstrated. It can show a desktop's layout and facilitate discussion of the software's various features as it's demonstrated as part of the online presentation.­

Typical screen capture software is easy to use, with popular features such as toolbars and convenient, intuitive editing features. Most allow the user to send copies of their screen captures to others via e-mail. They provide the means to capture the authentic menus, colors, text fonts, mouse movements and other live elements from a computer screen.

Simplicity is key. For example, a screen capture program called !Quick Screen Capture captures any part of a computer screen using up to 10 methods. It automatically saves captured images in popular formats such as BMB, JPG and GIF and claims a powerful image editing function. Another such program called SnagIt approaches the task in three easy steps: capture, edit and share. It, too, features region capture, used for capturing certain parts of the computer screen only and allows users to make short tutorial videos to share with others.

The editing feature is critical in any such program, because it allows the author to insert text comments on top of the various screen movements, adding a layer of instruction to the simple demonstration the screen capture provides on its own. Editing functions allow the presenter to cut through the action and highlight specifically what he is trying to demonstrate while preserving the authentic feel provided by the screen capture software.

Online presentations are the natural extension of communications in the digital age. Available programs make it easy for everyone to illustrate and communicate their ideas and information. The programs make such presentations easily portable and increasingly easy to access online, where they can reach either wider general audiences or exclusive targeted ones. Presentation authors are limited only by their imagination and the time they have available to hone their messages.

For more information about online presentations and related topics, check out the links on the next page.

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The Key Advantages of Online Presentations for an Online Store

As we already mentioned before, online presentations allow customers to make up their mind about your products, services and the store itself. These presentations are quite easy to create using just PowerPoint and iSpring Pro .

Let’s take a look at the advantages of using PowerPoint presentations for online sales:

1. Visual information

The main advantage of an online presentation is that it has a lot of visual information. With the help of an online presentation, you can demonstrate all benefits of your product or service in a convenient and attractive form, using multimedia files and narrations.

2. Interactivity

Online presentations keep all the interactivity of PowerPoint, which allows your clients not only to view the presentation, but also control playback speed, sound volume and many other settings.

3. Saves clients’ time

Using internet marketing presentations, your clients can get all the required information in a matter of minutes. A single presentation can include images, pricing information, technical characteristics and more.

4. Can be applied in many areas

Online presentations can be also used for business development. You can supplement your presentation with graphics and diagrams and turn it into a business plan or a work statement. With the help of an online presentation, you can demonstrate your business results to your customers and partners in an innovative way.

5. Easy to create

Another big advantage of online presentations is that they are extremely easy to create and edit. You only need a basic knowledge of PowerPoint to create a great online presentation.

If you still have any questions, please ask them in our Community Forum .

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Online presentation - all you need to know

Increased remote working has thrust us all unexpectedly into situations where we’re forced to give PowerPoint presentations via video conference. For many people, this has become the new normal. How different is it to have audiences logging on via Teams or Zoom instead of being in the same room as you? When comparing offline and online presentations, we realize they operate quite differently. Here’s a summary, with concrete tips to help you give professional, successful presentations online.

Remote presentations

Who’s attending your presentation?

Offline presentation:  You generally know who will attend the meeting/presentation and how much they know beforehand. Online presentation:  Online meetings have fewer access barriers, so “surprise guests” can sometimes join. Tip:  Briefly explain the initial situation and your objectives for giving the presentation at the start. This helps ensure everyone is on the same page.

Participants of remote presentations

How are the participants doing?

Offline presentation:  You can observe the participants and notice if anyone looks stressed. Online presentation:  You don’t know the participants’ circumstances, and it’s hard to gauge the “feeling in the room.” Tip:  At the start of your presentation, ask your audience what their current workload is like, and if anyone has other commitments immediately afterwards.

How do you use the minutes before your presentation?

Offline presentation:  You can establish a relationship with the participants through small talk even before starting your presentation. Online presentation:  There’s no “warm-up phase.” The minutes leading up to everyone joining the call usually involves no communication at all. Everyone tries to get something else done quickly before the presentation starts. Tip:  Use the quiet time before the presentation as a warm-up. Ask a few questions. Even if you don’t know the attendees well, you can ask, “Where are you right now?” or “How is everything going working from home?”

Say Hello in online presentations

How attentive is your audience?

Offline presentation:  There aren’t many ways for your audience to become distracted, and you can tell if their minds start wandering. Online presentation:  There are lots of ways your audience can become distracted without anyone noticing. Tip:  Involve your audience in the presentation. For instance, do a quick poll, get their opinions, interact with them. Mention at the start that you’ll do this during the presentation. 

How do you get feedback?

Offline presentation:  Observing your audience is a way to constantly obtain non-verbal feedback, such as approval, enthusiasm, confusion, etc. Online presentation:  It’s basically impossible to gauge non-verbal reactions.  Tip:  Actively obtain feedback on important points during your presentation. Highlight where you want to hear feedback, for instance, using specific slides.  


How important are breaks?

Offline presentation:  You can tell when your audience needs a break, or can factor in breaks from the outset. Online presentation : It is still uncommon for breaks to be taken during online meetings, as anyone can slip out briefly without being noticed.  Tips:  Factor in breaks, and advise this at the start of your presentation. Even a short break will increase your audience’s alertness. 

How much moderation does the meeting need?

Offline presentation:  You and everyone else in the room can see who is currently speaking. Online presentation:  You often don’t know who is currently speaking. In many cases, two people end up speaking at the same time. Tip:  As the presenter, you are also the moderator. Address your participants by name for everyone’s information.

How do spontaneous visuals work?

Offline presentation:  People often grab a pen and visualize an idea on a flipchart or whiteboard to explain a concept. Online presentation:  It’s not so common to quickly visualize something online. Tip:  Practice using a stylus and prepare a kit of visual elements you can use spontaneously. Test out the visualization process beforehand.

Notes in presentations

What are the technical requirements?

Offline presentation:  You can test the technical requirements yourself to make sure everything is working. Online presentation:  The technical requirements aren’t totally within your control. Unexpected problems can occur. Tip:  Allow enough time for technical challenges. A rule of thumb: Factor in 30% more time than estimated for the presentation. 

For more tips on how to give successful presentations, check out our Strategy Compass Insights .

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Related topics, how to give an effective online presentation from home.

A photo of mature businesswoman using computer at desk. Concentrated female executive is working on desktop PC. Confident female professional is in formals. She is in brightly lit office.

June 10, 2022

Giving an online presentation isn’t always easy. So what should you do during a presentation to help make it successful? Check out these tips on how to have an effective online presentation from home.

Online presentations are the norm now that more people are  working from home . For many, moving from in-person to online presentations may bring a new set of challenges to overcome.

Are you concerned you might fumble with new technology or appear unprepared when presenting in an unfamiliar digital arena? You’re not alone. These eight tips can help you deliver an effective online presentation like a pro.

1. Simplify the slides of your online presentation.

Each web conference platform has its own unique way of displaying slides. Avoid technical hassles by designing simple, easy-to-read slides.

Place text in the center instead of at the edges of the slides because they may not display correctly on your audience’s screens. Also, consider creating high contrast slides – they are easier to read for your virtual audience.

Remember: Online listeners may multitask or get distracted. To prevent them from missing your main points, arrive quickly at key messages. To do this, use a sentence headline for your slide titles that states the main point of your slide. You can then include the evidence for each of your key points in the body of the slide. It seems simple, but can be an effective way of organizing information for an online presentation.

2. Prepare for your online presentation.

Technology keeps us connected, but its complexity creates additional avenues for potential disruption. One way to prepare before giving an online presentation is to look at technology through the lens of Murphy's Law, which states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Focus on what you can control.

Check your internet connection.

Use the most reliable internet connection you can. Web-conferencing providers generally consider a wired connection to be more optimal than wireless (Wi-Fi) connections. And Wi-Fi connections are considered better than cellular connections.

Have a backup computer.

Have another laptop (or emergency tablet or phone) at the ready in case you encounter a problem.

Save your presentation.

Download a PDF version of your presentation to pull up in case there's a technical mishap with your slides (You do this by selecting “Save As” or "Print" and choosing “PDF.”) When saving your presentation as a PDF, remember to delete your hidden slides first as they will not remain hidden when you display your PDF presentation.

Close your tabs.

Close any unnecessary applications to ensure they don’t interfere with your web conferencing software. Also, shut off any other background activities requiring substantial memory or bandwidth, such as downloading or uploading large files or instant file synchronizations. Even an inactive browser can eat up your computer's memory, so consider exiting out before your online presentation. 

Practice using the web-conference platform.

Get familiar with the platform you're using in advance. Practice muting and unmuting your microphone. If you're the host, practice muting and unmuting one or all other participants. Follow the instructions in the help center of your video conferencing app so that you don’t fumble during the event.

Arrive early.

Online presentations to potential customers, investors, or even executive leaders are usually scheduled at given dates and times, and can be sent through your web-conferencing software. Arrive to the meeting a few minutes early to make sure your connection works and the web-conferencing software is working, especially if you are the host of the meeting. You can also test the screen-share function as part of the program to ensure it's in good working order for your online presentation. 

3. Eliminate distractions.

Eliminate any visual clutter behind you. Clutter includes plants, boxes, piles of books, food, toys, laundry, and pets. An ideal background is a plain wall to eliminate distractions and look professional.

If you can’t tidy up your space, you can create a sophisticated virtual background. Canva offers free virtual backgrounds, and you can upload these designs to any video conferencing system that allows customized backgrounds. Not sure how to do this? Providers such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Webex, to name a few, give you step-by-step instructions.

4. Dress for your online presentation.

It may be tempting to wear your usual  work-from-home attire  like your PJs or your favorite hoodie, but providing an effective presentation requires that you dress the part. Wear your regular workplace casual clothes. When picking out an outfit, avoid distracting patterns or multi-colored shirts, as well as shiny fabrics such as satin or silk, as they may shimmer when you move your body on camera. Solid colors are best—you want people to focus on your message, not your clothes.

5. Use the right lighting for your online presentation.

If the lighting in your room isn’t optimal, set up a desk lamp behind your laptop, centered right over the camera to light up your face. For this to work well, minimize the lighting from other parts of the room by lowering the shades to prevent light from coming from the side or the back.

Avoid sitting with a bright window behind you as it will make you appear dark and foreboding. Switch positions to sit with the bright window in front of you.

6. Present in a quiet space during your online presentation.

Ideally, an online presentation should occur in a quiet room. However,  working from home with a partner or kids  can make it less of an ideal setting for controlling background noise. You can mitigate this challenge by investing in a good headset with a built-in microphone that cancels or neutralizes outside sounds and turning off your phone and any noisy computer notifications.

7. Make eye contact during your online presentation.

One of the best ways to provide an effective presentation is to make eye contact with your audience. Raise your laptop so your camera is at eye level. You can do this quickly by placing a box or a stack of books underneath your laptop. Practice speaking to the camera, not the screen. You can also angle the laptop screen to be centered in the frame, and your head is not cut off.

You may also need to move back a little. If you sit too close to your laptop, your face may look blown up. That’s often not the most flattering angle. Either sit with your back resting comfortably on your chair or push the laptop back. Ideally, it would help if you sat at an arm’s length from the screen. Sit up straight, smile. Make an effort to look good in your online presentation. It will show.

8. Keep your audience engaged during your online presentation.

An audience’s attention can flag, especially during a long online presentation. One way to judge your listeners’ attention level is through the attention tracking feature that is available in some web conferencing applications. Attention tracking features are indicators next to each attendee’s name on your attendee pane that show you if the person has an app other than the web conference at the forefront of their screen.

An effective presentation is all about being prepared. Simplify your presentation slides so they’re easy to follow, test out all your tech, and have backups for any unexpected mishaps. It’s also helpful to provide your online presentation in a quiet space and limit the distractions around you. Don’t forget to make eye contact and keep your audience engaged. Whether in the office or at home, following these simple tips will help you provide a flawless online presentation that informs and engages your audience.

A version of this article was originally published on April 16, 2020.

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Do You Know The Differences Between Presenting Online and Presenting Face-to-Face?

Posted by Belinda Huckle  |  On July 28, 2020  |  In Presentation Training, Tips & Advice

In this Article...quick links

1. We don’t know how much we’re missing when presenting online

2. sharing is caring, presenting online, 3. when did you last buy something from someone you didn’t like, 4. make the technology work – for us and them, 5. authority…figures, 6. ‘meet’ your audience to persuade them, 7. presenting online, your audience has become your audiences, 8. audience reciprocation, 9. help your audience pay less attention when you’re presenting online, 10. work the camera when presenting online, and follow us on social media for some more great presentation tips:.

Are there important distinctions between presenting online and presenting face-to-face, in person, in the same room as your audience?

We’ve done a lot of thinking about this recently as we are coaching business presenting far more online currently, than face-to-face, and the answer to us seems to be that there are many differences between the two, but they are mostly ones of which we are not even conscious!

However, when we do become conscious of the differences between presenting online and presenting face-to-face, we believe it really helps us get to grips with presenting online more fluently, confidently and persuasively. Which, of course, most of us are now having to do much more regularly than we did.

So, we hope our 10 thoughts that follow might be useful in helping you become a better, more engaging, online presenter.

Business woman on laptop presenting online

In his book, “Strangers to Ourselves”, Timothy Wilson notes that the brain can absorb about 11 million pieces of information a second! But it only consciously processes about 40 of these. Leaving our ‘unconscious’ brain to handle the rest. 

In a business presentation situation this means our brains are harvesting thousands of subtle, ‘hidden’ signals from and about the presenter, which we unconsciously use to form general impressions about them, such as, “She’s confident” or “He’s arrogant.” 

Most of these imperceptible signals, unconsciously processed during face-to-face encounters, e.g the presenter’s body language , are lost online – and so are unavailable to us to make many of those general impressions! (as an aside, there’s a good comparison here to tone of voice often being lost in email communication). So, if we are presenting online, and we acknowledge our audiences don’t have this ‘information’ about us (which we can’t do anything about, so it’s out of our control) it means we should be prepared to over-deliver on the conscious signals – the aspects we can control – so that we come across positively, and are as convincing and persuasive as possible. Maximise the tangible! 

One of the most tangible tools we have to make an impression is our voice. When presenting online we recommend increasing our effort to sound W.I.S.E – Warm. Interested. Sincere. Enthusiastic/Empathetic – by embracing the following tips:

Being in a boardroom presenting to an audience can be daunting. You may feel exposed, too much in the limelight. Everyone has their focus on you. They’re paying you their attention. But, you are still WITH your audience, physically, in the same room. Sharing the same space. Sharing the same room conditions: atmosphere, lighting, temperature, people’s presence, the weather outside the window, the room’s acoustics, background noise, the fire alarm going off, building work, distractions, interruptions etc, etc. So you have many, many things in common with your audience. Normally, you’d never even pay these a second thought, but they are nonetheless important in helping to create a shared and connected experience.

On screen, you’re on your own! But this might be good. You may feel more in control. Less self-conscious. However, presenting online via your computer screen, from your home office or your workplace, to an online audience means you are physically apart. You are not sharing the same space. It is less a totally shared experience. You are alone, by yourself. And so, generally, is each member of your audience (more of this later in point seven). As an online presenter this means you need to be more aware of your audience and their differing environments. What are they having to manage/cope with in their environment and what challenges/distractions might they have? It is now part of your job to try and make them feel they are ‘with you’ and also to give them the impression that you are ‘with them’.

Key amongst the tips for achieving this is good camera technique. Try predominantly to look into your webcam and not at your audiences’ thumbnail images on your screen. This dramatically changes the connection you can create with your audience. It’s eye contact for online presenting! (more on this later in point 10).

Man on laptop presenting online

Think back to when you have ‘met’ someone new online. Did you instantly know whether you liked them or not? We think you’d probably say no.

But in person, knowing if you like someone comes almost instantly. And it’s virtually impossible not to make that immediate judgement (mostly because of the multiple millisecond unconscious impressions we form, as we mentioned earlier in point one).

And here’s the rub! One of Robert Cialdini’s “Six principles of persuasion” suggests we’re more easily persuaded by people we like. So, knowing whether we like someone or not, and/or convincing people to like us, is quite important in business. And, when we ‘meet’ online, this isn’t instant, it seems to take time. To like someone online feels much more of a conscious decision – perhaps precisely because there are fewer unconscious signals generated via an online situation (like we’ve said already).

As a presenter , here are three things that can help us become more instantly likeable presenting online:

Technology – it’s a facilitator and, sometimes, an aggravator for us all! Presenter and audience alike.

Of course, without technology we wouldn’t have ‘online’ at all, so whether we like it or not, we all need to try and master at least some key elements of it, to make it work optimally for us. As an online presenter if technology prevents our audience from ‘seeing us in our best light’, even if it is not ‘our fault’, it will paint a poor impression of us.

So, we need to be in control and manage it to maximise the positives. If we can address some, or ideally all, of these moving parts this will deliver a smoother online experience, and ultimately a better presentation:

Ideally, the tech should ‘disappear into the background’. And most, if not all, tech issues have solutions or workarounds. So, search online for help, ask a friend, get expert advice or seek professional support from your IT dept. if tech is not your bag. Get the tech right and you improve the online presentation experience !

Another of Cialdini’s “Six principles of persuasion” suggests we tend to obey authority figures. 

Authority  is far more difficult to communicate online than when we are in each other’s physical presence. In a way technology is a leveller of people. As an online presenter we are not ‘at the front of the room’ or ‘on the stage’, we are just another image on screen, like every member of our audience (the only authority ‘signal’ we really have as the presenter is that we are larger in ‘speaker view’). So, the online experience makes it harder to distinguish ‘the authority in the room’ (and not exclusively because we are all actually in different rooms!).

Again, camera position and good lighting will certainly elevate your online professionalism. In addition, pausing with intent is a great tool to use to help convey authority online (and in person), as essentially you are obliging people to wait and ‘hang on your every word’.

Young man on laptop presenting online

If you think about it, we all intuitively understand that being face-to-face with someone is naturally going to be more persuasive. I am sure we can all think of some occasions when, if we have really wanted to persuade someone, we have gone to see them. We just know we can put our point across, and persuade them more effectively, seeing them face-to-face. Doing it over the phone comes a poor second. And, sending an email behind that.

So, it’s safe to suggest most of us believe persuasion might be more difficult when presenting online. But an online video meeting is likely to enable us to be more persuasive than email, and even more so than a phone call. So, take every opportunity you can to make an impact and make your online meetings and presentations matter – for you and your audience.

Being in an online audience means we are only a ‘remote’ and ‘detached’ individual member of the audience – there is no (or almost no) social, or common, aspect of being part of the audience.

From the presenter’s point of view, presenting to an online audience is effectively presenting to multiple audiences of one so we have to present to, and persuade, each individual rather than the single entity of ‘the room’.

From the audience’s point of view, they find it more difficult to sense what others are feeling about the presentation. There is no ‘group mood’. This can feel uncomfortable, even bewildering, for some.

So, online presentations are a challenge for each side. As a presenter we can help to create a sense of ‘group’ or ‘team’ by including lots of audience involvement , either passive or participative. Make things interactive where possible! This will generate a shared energy, enabling each person in the audience to feel an active part of the whole, rather than a passive element on their own.

Another of Cialdini’s “Six principles of persuasion”, Reciprocation, can lead us to the conclusion that if a presenter has seemingly made a significant effort to prepare and deliver a good presentation the audience will reciprocate this ‘effort’ by carefully listening to the presenter and considering what he/she says.

But, presenting online seems quite different. It often appears more spontaneous and so less formal and less onerous (or less effort-full) than face-to-face presenting. It might not seem/appear to be as big a deal as we meant it to be! As a result, the audience may give the presentation less attention and due consideration.

To help overcome this, we recommend that online presenters provide some context for the audience so they understand & appreciate the significance of what is about to be shared.

Man making notes while on laptop presenting online

Normal online screen watching behaviour doesn’t require us to stare at one spot on the screen. We may not really be conscious of this, but when we are working at our laptop browsing the web, doing emails, writing a document, creating slides, filling in a spreadsheet, or even watching a video, we are looking all over our screen. Our eyes, and our head, are moving.

But, watching and listening to a presenter online requires us to stare at their onscreen image, quite rigidly, moving our eyes, or our head, very little. This is very tiring for our brain and our eyes. So, our attention naturally wanes and our eyes drift to other parts of the screen (sometimes to other screens!), and indeed off screen to other things around our room environment. Our attention/concentration span is shorter when we’re watching and listening to a presenter on screen. When our eyes wander, our mind wanders too!  

So, when we are presenting online we have to prepare for this and help out our audiences so we can prevent it happening – give shorter presentations, and do things which help the audience to stop staring for long periods, for instance:

This may be the most obvious, or not, depending upon your point of view!

Actually presenting online means we are presenting to a camera, just like, for example, a TV newsreader. It’s a completely different skill to presenting to an audience in person, in the same room (when we talk to an audience face-to-face we are both presenting to their face and watching their face at the same time – we can’t do this online…yet). So, we must make our camera our audience. Yes, really!

It might feel strange to begin with, but to develop as online presenters it’s important to overcome the awkwardness of doing it (practise makes perfect!). We must try our hardest to stop continually looking at the faces of our audience on our screen – because, in effect, we are not looking at them, and so we’re making no eye contact!. Instead, we should be looking at them through the camera. It may be uncomfortable for us to start with, but be in no doubt it will elevate us as a presenter because by doing so they will see us looking directly at them (and the bonus is, if we have more than one person in the audience, we are looking at everyone at once!). By all means check in on their reactions (their faces) every now and again, but present to the camera.

If you don’t believe how much of a difference this makes, try this little test. Turn your webcam on. And while looking at the image of your face on screen, take a screenshot. Save it on your desktop. Now, look directly at your webcam. And while doing so, take another screenshot. Save it on your desktop again. Then go and compare the two. See the difference!!? 😊

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Written By Belinda Huckle

Co-Founder & Managing Director

Belinda is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of SecondNature International. With a determination to drive a paradigm shift in the delivery of presentation skills training both In-Person and Online, she is a strong advocate of a more personal and sustainable presentation skills training methodology.

Belinda believes that people don’t have to change who they are to be the presenter they want to be. So she developed a coaching approach that harnesses people’s unique personality to build their own authentic presentation style and personal brand.

She has helped to transform the presentation skills of people around the world in an A-Z of organisations including Amazon, BBC, Brother, BT, CocaCola, DHL, EE, ESRI, IpsosMORI, Heineken, MARS Inc., Moody’s, Moonpig, Nationwide, Pfizer, Publicis Groupe, Roche, Savills, Triumph and Walmart – to name just a few.

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Presenting online

Virtual presentation skills are important at both university and in the workplace. This resource provides tips on presenting to camera, including how to support your message using voice and body language techniques and maximise the impact of your visuals.

You may be asked to speak in a range of online contexts including:

This resource provides simple strategies to increase your confidence in presenting online. One key thing to remember is that the content (what you say), delivery (how you say it, e.g. voice) and visuals (how it looks) are all equally as important.

Presenting to camera

Make sure the audience can see your face. Look at the webcam lens or phone camera as much as you can to give the individual participants the feeling you are talking directly to them. This can be quite powerful. If it’s set up right, this should look like you are sitting just across a table from the audience.

Tip : Light yourself from the side, not behind – e.g. don’t present with a window behind you (too much glare).

Using bod y lan g uage

Even though the audience can’t see as much of you as in a face-to-face presentation, they will still see your face/head, shoulders and some of your hand gestures. It’s important that you use:

E.g. The first [hold up your forefinger] reason we do this … The second reason [hold up two fingers]

Tip: Position your device so the audience can see your head and shoulders, your hand gestures and the visual you are using (e.g. slides).

Using vo ice te chniq ues

When speaking online, your voice is really important because it is the focus of the audience’s attention. Keep in mind:

For example:

The first and most important reason we do this [pause] is that it’s proven to be effective and affordable. [pause] The second reason…

Tip : record yourself doing your presentation and watch it with the sound on to get a sense of your voice.

Watch it again, this time with the sound off – that will let you see what you are doing with your body, expressions and gestures.

Keepin g the message clear

A lot of clarity is achieved by using the voice techniques above, but you can also keep the message clear by:

Examples of signal language

The first section of my presentation deals with...   The second … Finally ,...

Let me repeat , as it’s really a central part of what I’m talking about, …

There are three clear reasons we did this. First, …

This is important because...

Giving examples:

An example of what I’m talking about is …

To illustrate ...


In conclusion , it’s clear that …

To conclude ...

Using eff ective grap hics

Effective graphics and visuals support, rather than distract from, your message.

Tip : make sure each of your visuals supports your key points

Pre-perfo rmance ch e c ks

Fi nal ti p

The keys for great presentations in any context are planning and practice . Know what you are going to say and how you are going to say it then prepare through practice. Get feedback on your voice, body language, message clarity and visuals.

Related resources

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Speaking and presenting

Build your confidence speaking in tutorials or presenting your research by putting these strategies into practice.

Collaborating online

Strategies for collaborating online and getting the most out of discussions and webinars.

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Get tailored advice from an Academic Skills adviser by booking an individual appointment, or get quick advice from one of our Academic Writing Tutors in our online drop-in sessions.

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  2. What is an Online Presentation?

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