Zoom tips: 10 ways to make presentations personable

Zoom is one of the most used tools for online meetings. While it is a business tool, there are still many people who use Zoom to present online.

This is because they have trouble getting information across in a confident manner. If you have been wanting to break into the business arena but don’t know-how, this article will help you do just that. It will give you 10 tips you can use to ensure that you make presentations that are able to get your point across clearly and confidently.

Turn on your taping light.

  • Turn on your taping light.
  • Lighting is important for many reasons. It helps people see you, and it sets the tone for a presentation. If you don’t have a taping light, try turning your main source of lighting to face you rather than the wall behind you and leave any windows uncovered by curtains or blinds. Even an overhead light shining down on your head will make a difference!

Set up a dedicated “Zoom” room.

  • Set up a dedicated “Zoom” room.

When it’s time to present, you want to be in the best environment possible. That means being in a quiet room with a door that can be closed and an appropriate table or chair from which to position yourself.

A chair with a tall back is ideal for blocking out any unwelcome sights behind you, and if you’re using a webcam, it can also provide a bit more privacy (i.e., your face will be slightly more obscured by the back of the chair).

If you don’t have this kind of chair available, consider using your sofa instead—just make sure there’s no weird lighting happening behind you due to windows or lamps in the room.

And if all else fails, use some cardboard boxes or other wall hangings to create an impromptu backdrop.

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Show yourself while you share your screen.

  • Show yourself while you share your screen.
  • Use all of the features in Zoom, including chat, polls, and whiteboard.

One way to increase viewing interest is to show a video along with sharing your screen. When you pause the video, give your viewers time to process what they saw—and then be ready to have a conversation about it.

As with any presentation, establish credibility by demonstrating that you know what you’re talking about.

Except now, instead of doing this through body language or slides (as in an in-person presentation), do so by showing your face during the entire presentation—and offering consistent eye contact throughout.

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Keep the camera focused on your face.

  • Make sure your camera is focused on your face.
  • Keep the camera at eye level.
  • Position yourself so that you are well lit, and avoid backlighting.
  • If you look grainy or poorly lit, consider using a desk lamp.

Use body language to help tell your story.

  • Use body language to help tell your story. Zoom’s design encourages you to stay seated and still. However, since you have the floor, use your full body to help tell your story.
  • Use hand gestures to add emphasis to a point.
  • Make eye contact with the camera when you can.
  • Move your body slightly side-to-side or back-and-forth intermittently so that you’re not sitting static or in one position for too long of a period of time (which could cause stiffness).

Let others be in charge of the slides.

  • Teach your mother how to use the presentation software: I’m serious. If you don’t know how to use presentation software or have a hard time juggling multiple platforms at once, ask someone else to be in charge of the slides. Most people would rather do one simple thing than worrying about a hundred things at once.
  • How to share your presentation on Zoom: Share your screen and click on “Share Computer Sound” and “Optimize Screen Sharing For Video Clip.”
  • How to make Google Slides: In Google Drive, select New > Google Slides > Blank Presentation. To add a slide, click “+” in the top left corner (the number inside represents which slide you are on). To add text, click on the text box icon in the top toolbar and then click anywhere on your slide; now type away! You can also insert charts, tables, images, and more from this toolbar. You can also change background colors by clicking “Background” under Themes in the right sidebar. Don’t forget about fonts! Just select all of your text and choose from hundreds of different font options.
  • How to make PowerPoint: On both Macs and PCs, open up PowerPoint (or Keynote for Macs) and create a new blank presentation with 4×3 proportions (a standard screen size).


Use chat and polling tools.

Use the chat and polling tools. Zoom gives you a ton of options in both the chat and polling tools that can help you create a more personable presentation.

Use the chat to ask questions as you go, which will allow you to personalize your presentation based on your participants’ knowledge level.

You can also use the chat feature to interact with participants during your presentation, which is especially helpful for larger audiences since it allows for more people to participate at once.

The polls give you a great way to get feedback from participants, as well as take a pulse check on how the presentation is going.

Use polls throughout your session to see if participants are following along, by asking specific questions about concepts or points that were just covered.

Polling features also create a sense of participation and engagement in your virtual audience.

Keep it informal.

One of the best ways to keep your presentation informal is by using humor. After all, when you’re running a Zoom presentation, you’re not just giving a report; rather, you’re teaching something new to your peers. If you can make a joke or two, your audience will be more receptive and more willing to participate.

It’s also important that you let your personality shine through. It’s totally acceptable to wear a t-shirt under your suit jacket or have a plant in the background (just make sure it isn’t blocking your face). This makes the presentation feel less stuffy and more personal for both sides.

Most importantly, try to avoid long technical presentations. A good rule of thumb is that if something could go wrong with the technology aspect of your presentation (such as wires getting tangled), then it probably will go wrong at some point.

Keep everything simple and straightforward so that there are no delays or confusion during the meeting itself.

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Ask people questions and encourage them to talk

Asking questions and getting people to talk about their experiences can be a powerful way to engage viewers, as long as you’re not asking questions that make them uncomfortable.

Doing so can make a viewer more excited about what you have to say, but if you come across as too pushy or too focused on the sale, it will put them off.

There are two key types of audience responses:

Attitudinal: You can ask people how they feel about your product or service and get immediate feedback from their emotions.

Perceptual: You can ask people how well your product or service works and get immediate feedback on how it looks.

Be prepared to go with the flow.

When it comes to presenting via Zoom, there are some things you can plan for and others you just need to go with the flow on.

Our advice? Be prepared to go with the flow. The most important part of a presentation is getting your message across, so if something doesn’t work out exactly as you’d planned, don’t get bogged down by that—just keep moving forward.

Your audience will appreciate your resilience, whether they’re watching from their computer or joining in the room with you.

Make mistakes? Never fear! Own them and laugh at yourself a little bit. And remember: sometimes tech fails us all, so if nothing else is working for you, find someone who can help (and maybe even tell them what’s going wrong!).

Being personable on Zoom is possible, but it takes some preparation and creativity

It can be challenging to be personable while presenting on Zoom—and even more so if you’re doing a webinar, which typically has a larger audience.

However, it’s possible, and being personable is essential if you want to engage and excite your audience.

After all, most people are zoomed out at this point and need extra incentive to tune in.

Try some of these tips to make your next Zoom presentation more personable:

  • Use video connections when possible. This will help the audience get a sense of who you are as a presenter.
  • Be enthusiastic about your material and speak with passion.
  • Be prepared with engaging visuals and interactive elements such as live polling or whiteboard activities.
  • Set up breakout rooms for small group discussions that allow for more personal interaction between members of the group than large group chats would allow for.
  • Use “icebreaker” questions that encourage participants to share something about themselves before the meeting or presentation begins in order to encourage connection among all members of the group early on.

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