Through this piece, Gin talks about his own personal experiences, lists valuable tips to help you deliver virtually and discusses what we have learnt from this new way of working.
During the past year, we have all had to learn a variety of new skills. Digital skills have played a crucial role ensuring businesses and the economy have been able to carry on working effectively, especially in the professional services sector.
With the potential lifting of COVID-19 related measures due this summer, how do we take the skills we have learnt recently and combine them with those ‘real world’ skills we spent many years honing?
I have personally spent many hours over the past year presenting to different businesses for a variety of reasons. The common thread for these presentations is that they have all been online via video conferencing software such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom. I am conscious that my approach to these meetings has drastically changed from the times where I would be in the same room as stakeholders and each meeting would begin with a handshake.
With a new hybrid way of working likely to be our future, there is a strong chance that many of us will continue to rely upon things that have worked for us over the months. Here are the top 5 things I’ve learnt from l presenting online over the course of the last 15 months;
1). It’s okay to be yourself
The last 12 months have resulted in amore relaxed environment in many companies. Businesses that have previously snubbed working from home have now embraced it and there has been greater prioritization of our work-life balance. Can you imagine scenarios where children or pets appearing in a big meeting would have been normal in 2018 for instance? I know I can’t!
2). Be more interactive
Perhaps the biggest change to my presentation approach has been the need to be more interactive. During previous pitches and presentations, it was okay to speak for 10+ minutes in a monologue form. Doing so on a video call runs the serious risk of distraction for your audience: there are many temptations, from checking your email to typing up notes, which can detract from the message you are trying to deliver.
3). Sharing has become the norm
Screen sharing and being able to quickly flick between different documents has become a useful way of presenting more information to your audience. Where an in-person meeting can sometimes suffer from sharing and showing too much information, a video meeting with engaging content can be an effective way of regularly stimulating your audience. Key word here being relevant!
4). Help is available
With any kind of change in routine, whether that be the adoption of new technology or change of communication medium, it takes time and practice. You could talk to a friend or colleague who is having similar challenges and ask for their advice.
There are online training and workshop sessions out there, including Higher Level Skills Match’s upcoming workshop Commercial and Personal Awareness.
5). Remember, there is light at the end of the tunnel!
For those of you who yearn for face-to-face presenting we are slowly moving back to that, however a hybrid approach to communication between online and face-to-face communication is likely to continue. This means having to adjust between the new mediums regularly. You are not alone if you feel anxious or nervous returning to presenting in-person. As much as your family pet could be there with you for a practice run, unfortunately their feedback may not be as useful. There is no rush and it is important to focus on getting back into delivering what is comfortable for you, whether that be online, hybrid or small in-person groups.
Gin Bhandal is a Graduate Talent Consultant for the Higher Level Skills Match Project, part-funded by the European Social Fund, at Birmingham City University with over 15 years’ experience in the Education and Recruitment industries. Gin uses his expertise to assess the workplace needs of businesses, provide access to training opportunities and support the recruitment of highly skilled students and graduates. When he’s not helping your business, Gin is a volunteer coach at an under 15 football team.
Find out how you can boost your confidence in online presentation through our inspiring and educational workshops.