|“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go.|
They merely determine where you start.”
– Nido Qubein
From job interviews, to a way to enter higher education; from a project overview to win new business, to delivering your business plan to obtain funding – throughout life you will need to give many different types of presentations to different audiences for different reasons. Most people find this daunting – young and old.
Online presentations using Skype, Zoom, or Go-To-My-Meeting for example have been popular in specific industries, for quite a while and with coronavirus pushing many more of us to embrace technology; it is now more important than ever to deliver your “best online self”.
Over the coming editions of FISHSTICKS, we will be looking at tips and tricks to help you shine in this digital world and make sure you are not “one of the rest”, but “one of the best”.
Firstly, we’ll look at some of those “tech basics” and recap on Colin Kay’s “Top Tips on Virtual Job Interviews” with a couple of extra tips suggested by our readers and in next months’ edition – nailing that online presentation.
THE “TECH BASICS”
Unless you’re the latest vlogger on the scene, or a seasoned online veteran – more often that not being on camera makes you nervous. It can also be tricky because mistakes can easily be made. You need to be comfortable with the technology and be able to recover if there is a tech glitch during the session. That is much easier said than done; so here are a few tech basics for you to consider:
What’s the script? Ask in advance for all the details about the format of your online presentation – how long will the presentation be and what online service they will be using. By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail – your career may depend on it.
Lights… Pay particular attention to your background and lighting. Your background should be quiet, plain, uncluttered and without distractions – you want them to focus on you, not what’s happening outside your window. Check the lighting to see how you look at the time of day you will do your presentation. The perfect lighting will show your face without shadows, so you may need to add a lamp to one side or in front of your face but out of camera view.
Camera… Where possible; use your desktop or laptop rather than your phone. Phone connections can more easily drop the call and you may not have great reception when you want it most. Think about what it looks like to the viewer – holding your mobile, which will shake or move around as you hold it and can be annoying. Your desktop computer or laptop with static cameras are the better options, but if you have to use your phone, create a makeshift stand to keep it steady.
Action… Practice, practice, practice – you won’t be able to eliminate all of those tech gremlins; but you can minimise the risk of something going wrong. YouTube has plenty of “how-to” videos on using the meeting software, whether it’s Skype or others and practice several times using it, so you know how to connect, reconnect, adjust the volume, and of course, look great on camera.
Always have a stand-in… Technology is notorious for malfunctioning at inconvenient times. Before your presentation, contact your viewer and agree a backup plan in case of glitches. Transitioning to a phone call or rescheduling for a later time are both possible solutions for technical difficulties. Do not panic if your software or hardware experiences an issue. If the problem is outside your control, the viewer will understand – it’s happened to them too!
ONLINE JOB INTERVIEW
Our board member, Colin Kay, wrote a great blog for us on his “Top Tips on Virtual Job Interviews” which can be read here, and we’ve got another couple of tips to add from our readers:
Practice makes perfect… This is a real presentation with real consequences – this can land the job or lose it, get you that business funding or not, so give yourself the best chances you can. Write down the answers to the questions that are likely to be asked – the best response is often crafted when you’re not on the spot. Use Skype with a friend to role-play the session, practice your pitch and get them to question you, then work through the examples and pick the best ones that will make you shine.
Relax… Your worst enemy during an online presentation may be your own nerves. Take a deep breath before the call, and try to remain calm and collected during the session. If you can communicate confidently with the interviewer and listen carefully, you are far more likely to leave a lasting positive impression than if you seem nervous. Remember, one of the best solutions for interview anxiety is practicing your answers ahead of time – the more you practice, the more confident you will be during the actual call.
It’s all in the movements… Your movements are exaggerated on video, so getting used to the camera, focussing totally on the interviewer and forgetting it’s there is important. Look into that camera, so the viewer can see your eyes and not you looking down, slow your speech and movements and embrace that self-confidence – your enthusiasm will then come naturally.
Whether it’s your first online presentation or you’re a veteran of tech in a presentation world, it’s great to share tips and tricks that work both digitally and (when we can get back there), face-to-face, so why not share yours with our readers – email your “best online self” tips to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll include them in our next edition when we talk about “nailing that online presentation”.