How to Present at a Digital Event
Digital events offer a new way for companies to connect with their key audiences – but despite the many developments in digital events platforms, interactive features and technological “bells and whistles,” one of the most important elements of a successful digital event is something old: presentation skills.
A good presentation makes the difference between losing your audience and winning them over – but presenting online is different than presenting in person. Here are a few tips for how digital event presenters can maximize the potential of the digital event environment and engage with the audience.
Acclimate yourself to the digital event environment: One of the oldest tips for how to give a good presentation is to “make the room your own.” At an in-person event, this might mean adjusting the lighting of the room, moving the lectern or projector screen to a different angle or corner, or re-arranging the chairs to put the audience where you want them. In a digital event environment, most of these details are already determined – but there are still ways you can “make the room your own” in a digital event. Collaborate with the digital events platform provider to find out more about your options – is there any flexibility in how you can present your material? Find out if there is any training or tutorials available for presenters in advance of the digital event, and practice ahead of time to make sure you are comfortable with the content delivery tools and can confidently deliver your presentation without distractions or delays. Make the technology of the digital event serve you, not the other way around.
Make it visual: Digital events are at their best when making use of powerful visual elements – and this goes beyond a simple PowerPoint presentation. No more bulleted lists of slides – instead, you can create visual elements like video, colorful imagery, interactive elements. Your presentation should have the power to draw people in and command their attention in a way that goes beyond the spoken word. If your digital event is being produced by a digital events platform provider like Social27, there should be numerous possibilities to add visual appeal and “wow factor” to your presentation. Make the most of the visual elements available to you – and don’t worry if you’re not a designer or “visually-inclined” thinker – the digital event planners and designers can help you come up with powerful ideas to include in your presentation.
Dialogue, not monologue: One of the biggest advantages of digital events is that they are so interactive. Just as the age of social media has made people more comfortable with participating in online conversations, digital events give you the chance to constantly talk with your audience and solicit feedback. A good digital events platform should give you the ability to create instant polling and use other interactive feedback tools. Remember, it’s a conversation, not a monologue. Give people a chance to join the conversation.
Ask, “How am I doing?”: As part of the theme of creating a conversation, you as the presenter need to constantly engage the audience. Call people by name if possible – “Bob Jones, what do you think about that point?” “Mary Smith, what’s your favorite new trend affecting this area?” People like to hear their names mentioned at a digital event – it’s a way to constantly connect with your audience and remind them that you’re aware of their presence, which makes them more likely to keep paying attention to you. The challenge of a digital event is that everyone is in different locations looking at their own screens – instead of the live, in-person experience of being in the same room. To overcome this challenge, you as the presenter need to constantly make people feel part of the same audience.
Join the conversation. Agree with me? Good. Disagree? Even Better! Tell me why…
What was the best presentation you’ve ever seen at a digital event? What made it so special? How do your digital event presentations differ from in-person speeches?
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