Regional Youth Cooperation Project: How to give a good presentation in the virtual environment ?
As the third big seminar within the project “Transforming the Region One Conversation at A Time – Inspiring Youth Cultural Cooperation”, will be an opportunity for all the teams will present their projects, the final workshop was dedicated to the presentation skills in the context of online and virtual communications.
Our trainer for this occasion was Petar Kosovac, a corporate trainer and coach with global business experience, an external consultant for the Gi Group, who works at Hyperoptic Ltd. where he develops leaders in England and Serbia.
The workshop started how any other would – by having participants introduce themselves. In this case, it was an excellent way to show our abilities for giving a presentation in a virtual environment so Petar could estimate how we select information, how we prioritize them, know the characteristics of our speech; what words do we use, do we make pauses, are we using fillers (like, ugh, um, so and similar) and, especially in the online context: did we pay attention to the lightning, do we look at the camera or not.
After the introductory part, Petar followed up with examples from his experience, explaining what works best in practice. For example, many things that we are used to when it comes to presenting and public speaking, very often are not the best ones and won’t get us the response we aim to get from our audience. In order to keep the attention of our audience, we should start right away with concrete and relatable content. Practicing the art of storytelling enables us to get to the point right away but in a form of a well-thought story that sounds realistic and humble, we are more likely to get the people to invest in it or support it anyway. Otherwise, we risk losing their attention for the time we get to the point and, most likely, we won’t achieve our goal whether it comes to getting approval from our boss or getting a grant for our project.
One thing that Petar drew our attention to, is the awareness of how our environment while giving the online presentation may affect our audience. Are we sitting in a quiet room, do we have enough lightning, are we looking at the camera, trying to make eye contact with persons behind the screen, or are we looking at our own picture in the corner? These are the elements we may overlook easily.
Besides that, not being able to meet in person and see all the micro-expressions and nonverbal elements, may make us overlook them as well, but these factors are still very relevant even in virtual or video communication. Nonverbal elements take up around 70% of our expression, and we should not forget that in all the online events and presentations, our faces and hands are still visible and have an important role in the self-expression and persuasion of the audience. Our voice and prosody are also crucial; we should be aware of all their elements: the speed of talking, the rhythm of the sentence, tone, words we emphasize, and that they have an impact on our audience and their attention. A number of times, we do not perceive that if we are pressured, we rather start speaking after when instead we should focus on keeping the crucial information and skip everything that does not give new and complete information. In order to stay focused, we should try to speak slowly and make pauses to give ourselves time to come up with the next thing to say. One of the tricks we can use is to take a sip of water if we are unsure of the next thing to say. That is a perfectly acceptable way to take some time and make a pause without uncomfortable silence.
Finally, and not any less important, is to know our audience, regardless of the context (live or online). We should not hesitate to find the most information we can – the topics that are the most interesting for them, their experiences or values that can help us build a relatable story. This is an important resource we should use to build up our presentation.
Giving presentations is challenging even in normal circumstances – it takes a lot of time and a lot of practice, but if we want to improve and be good at it, we should start somewhere. Getting familiar with the elements of a good presentation and different tactics for it is a good place to start.
You can find the video for this workshop below.
The “Creative Mentorship” is carrying this project through together with Rruga me Pisha Foundation from Albania and OKC Abrašević from Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the support from Regional Youth Cooperation Office – RYCO WB.