Whether it be through a webinar, Hangout, or in-person presentation, many companies still utilize the slideshow presentation to relay information to employees and clients.
This format is effective for sharing complex information with your audience. However, it can also be unwieldy if you don’t know how to properly use various tools at your disposal.
That’s why we’ve put together this collection of 10 Zoom presentation tips so you can use this tool to its fullest potential during online meetings.
1. Practice Presenting in a Confined Space
- Practice Presenting in a Confined Space
The first step to presenting via Zoom—or any virtual conference platform—is to practice your speech in a confined space.
That way, when you deliver your presentation on an actual day, you won’t feel boxed in by the small square window.
Practicing a speech at home is also highly recommended for public speaking success.
It helps you fine-tune your performance and get comfortable with the audience’s perspective.
This is especially helpful if you’re unfamiliar with the technology or microphone equipment used for virtual events.
If possible, practice in the same room where you will be presenting so that you can see what it looks like through the screen and adjust accordingly.
2. Don’t Turn on Zoom’s ‘Touch Up My Appearance’ Setting
- Don’t Turn on Zoom’s ‘Touch Up My Appearance’ Setting: This feature is intended for video calls, not presentations. It blurs your skin to cover blemishes, removes the shine from your face and makes you look like a wax figurine. This may be a useful tool if you have to make short one-on-one video calls or find yourself in a bad lighting situation with little time to change it, but it’s not something you should use during presentations because you’re not going to be on camera anyway.
3. Use a Condenser Microphone
A condenser microphone ($50-$300) is a great investment because it’ll improve your sound quality more than any other single item.
In fact, you can use this well with your existing computer, if it’s otherwise sufficient for your needs. When shopping for condenser microphones, look for one that has a cardioid pickup pattern—this means it’ll pick up sounds from the front and reject sounds from other directions.
While this may seem obvious, there are some mics that work in other ways (such as picking up sound all around), which would not be ideal for your Zoom call.
If you’re going to use this mic with your laptop or computer, you’ll also want to make sure you have an audio interface that allows you to connect the two together—and probably an XLR cable too.
Yes, these will be extra purchases likely adding another $100 or so to the cost of getting started here; however, don’t forget that once you’ve got them they should last a long time!
4. Consider Audio and Video Separately
The problem with many Zoom presentations is that audio and video are so inextricably linked, but they shouldn’t be.
Your audience doesn’t need to see you. They need to hear you.
So before you do anything else, make sure your microphone is up to snuff.
This will improve the quality of your presentation more than anything else you do, so it should take priority over a good camera or better lighting.
This isn’t an article on how to choose the right mic for your needs, but I’ll say this: if there are multiple people speaking at once (for example, a panel), get a separate mic for each person. The only way around this is by using exceptionally high-end equipment, which probably isn’t feasible for most users.
If having a high-quality video is important to you too—and let’s be honest; it usually is—there are other ways around that too.
You can use someone else’s phone or laptop as a second screen with the camera turned toward you and display that screen alongside the slides from your computer on Zoom or Google Meet. Or just upgrade your webcam!
5. Turn Off All Background Notifications
Prepare your workspace environment to be a distraction-free zone. You might not realize it, but things that you have control over can interfere with the stability and quality of your Zoom meeting.
Here are some tips on how to do this:
- On your computer, turn off all background notifications (Zoom and other apps), close any unnecessary browser tabs and windows and don’t open any chat applications or have any other programs running in the background.
- Turn off your phone or put it in silent mode for the duration of the meeting.
- Don’t put your computer in sleep mode because when you wake it up again, everything will automatically refresh and Zoom may get buggy.
6. Make Sure Your Battery Is Charged (and No — It Doesn’t Have to Be 100%)
You know the feeling: Your battery is down to 5%. A few days earlier, you saw that your battery needs to be replaced. You open your laptop and realize that it’s not plugged in.
You’re late for the meeting, so you just go without the charger. And sure enough, the meeting starts and your battery dies halfway through.
Even worse is showing up to a class without a charger — leaving you with no way to complete an assignment or participate in class at all.
As a student, I’ve accidentally shown up to more than one class without my charger — and my professors usually send me out of class immediately to get one from my dorm room (which was at least 15 minutes away). I always try to remember my chargers now!
7. Create a Slideshow That Fills Your Screen While Also Being Easy to Read at a Glance
- Use a presentation format that’s easy to read.
- Use large, easy-to-read fonts.
- Use lots of white space so that each point stands out, and so the slide does not appear overly crowded.
- Consider using images to supplement your text (never as a replacement for your text).
- Use a simple and consistent layout and design for each slide.
Use high-quality images – avoid blurry or pixelated photos as this can distract from your content.
Use a color scheme that complements the text and images on the screen, rather than distracting from or competing with them.
8. Test Your Equipment Before the Presentation
Test your equipment before the presentation. If you’re using a computer to connect to Zoom, make sure that the camera, microphone and speakers are working properly.
If you are sharing your screen, test it one more time prior to the meeting. If possible, do so from the same device that you will be presenting on during the actual meeting.
Have a backup plan in case something does not work. Make sure all of your presentation files are backed up in case of an emergency and keep them handy on another device that can access Zoom–just in case! Always test your setup with someone else beforehand–if possible, have them actually attend the meeting via Zoom so they can see what it looks like if there are any issues or discrepancies (e.g., audio quality).
Lastly: if you’re presenting from home, make sure your internet connection is strong enough and stable enough for video conferencing before starting a call!
9. Take Breaks Between Meetings (and After, If You Can)
Preparing for your presentation can be just as intense as being in the meeting itself — if not more so.
Learning presentation skills and getting familiar with your content takes time, effort, and energy.
To avoid burning out, make sure to take small breaks between preparing for each meeting you have scheduled.
If you’re a fan of productivity hacks, you can use a technique called the Pomodoro Technique to help structure your breaks during preparation.
It involves setting a timer for 25 minutes of work followed by a 5-minute break every hour until your work is done, and it’s known to help keep people focused on completing tasks with less burnout than working intensively without any breaks at all.
If you’re worried about overworking yourself before an especially important meeting, this is a great hack!
Another good idea is to take a longer break between meetings if possible. This will give your mind time to rest and recover from the intensity of all those Zoom calls in quick succession!
10. Set the Scene With Good Lighting and a Clean Background
Avoid backlighting (like windows behind you, or lights that blind you), as these can make the video calls look more like a horror film than a professional meeting.
A poorly-lit background can also cause issues for those using older computers, which may not be able to handle the contrast well.
Avoid distracting or busy backgrounds — your background should not be competing with your presentation! Consider using a virtual background if you are having difficulty finding a clean, uncluttered space in your home.
You can give an engaging presentation no matter where you’re working from!
You can give an engaging presentation no matter where you’re working from! Just follow these tips to make sure your presentation is the best it can be.
- Practice, practice, practice!
This is a must for any presentation, but even more important when giving a virtual one. The only way to be ready for all the different things that may happen is to simulate them yourself before starting the actual presentation.
Test your audio and video to ensure everything works properly, then set up a test meeting, give your presentation and get feedback from others who participated in it before heading into your real meeting.
You’ll feel more comfortable doing this if you’ve already done it once (or twice or three times!). Plus, you’ll have time to work out any issues that arise during the practice session so they won’t pop up during the real thing.
Most people are familiar with the frustration of not being able to hear the presenter or see other participants.
Of course, Zoom offers many features to improve your online meeting experience.
These ten tips will help you and your participants create a more enjoyable online meeting experience.