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Telecommuting has become common as more employers are rolling out work-from-home solutions to keep their employees indoors and safe. Zoom and Microsoft Teams have replaced the traditional methods for delivering presentations. These technologies provide unique opportunities for organizers to record meetings, mute background noise and to easily record action points. However, one difficult component to gauge is participant engagement as we are not physically near each other. For this reason, it is imperative that presenters have the ability to engage with potential clients / business partners / product owners in an effective way so as to not disinterest them. In today’s article, we are going to be outlining three tips to improve your presentation skills. They are simple and can be implemented immediately.

1. Set up timelines and an agenda

Time management is important. Try to have an organized flow of ideas and assign allotted times for each point. Use these time allocations as a guideline so that the presentation is well paced i.e. not too slow or too rushed. To be able to stick to your timelines, set up an agenda that looks like this:

2. Break the ice

It is critically important to break the ice with your audience. One way is to ask a question that everyone can relate to. You want people to feel free that they can communicate in a safe space. Do not ask any technical questions to break the ice. Use simple questions that everyone will have their own personal answers to:

“If you could be anywhere in the world, where would you like to be right now, and why?”

“What is your favorite dessert?”

“Use one word to describe how your week has been.”

Make your audience feel included and able to speak in the session. If there are too many participants, ask them to put their messages in the messaging box – both Microsoft Teams and Zoom have these features.

3. More pictures, less words

This is a classic tip – known as the “Picture Superiority effect” people tend to remember pictures over words. Therefore, when creating presentations, it is important to use more pictures to describe and convey your information. Below are two examples of presentation slides – the first is verbose and bland, while the second is succinct and clear:

3.1 Example of a wordy presentation slide:
3.2 Example of a visually appealing slide:

Closing thoughts

It does not matter how much of information is being delivered, but rather by the quality of the delivery. It is important to keep an audience engaged with your ideas so that they may feel involved and appreciated. Audience engagement is vital for healthy sales, constructive feedback and overall business improvement.

What other tricks and tips have you implemented to deliver engaging presentations? Let us know in the comments below.

About the author

Trishen Naidoo is the director of Pneuma Capital and co-director of Fulcrum Venture Capital (FVC). FVC have enlisted the services of Nikshen Consulting for business coaching and guidance.

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Dr Kenneth Moodley

Author Dr Kenneth Moodley

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