How Virtual Meeting Spaces Will Change

Recent world events have radically changed how we collaborate and communicate. Modern meeting processes have become much more hybridized, requiring presenters to effectively communicate both virtually and in person. As virtual meeting spaces change, the art of presenting will also have to change.

More Than Backgrounds

When we look at a screen, we generally do it for entertainment. The act of sitting still and watching someone on a screen also sitting still can be dangerously static. If you have data to share in your virtual presentation, consider working with a professional who can help you add a bit of “zing” to your presentation to avoid the glazed look in your audience.

If you are presenting in a hybrid setting, your digital presence may need to be backed up by a paper copy of some data. Provide your digital participants with a PDF and consider how your background will look if they need to split the screen and look at both the backup copy and your presentation. Those working remotely on one laptop may struggle to see all they need to see on just one screen.

Consider the Timing

A two-hour meeting in person can be broken up for a stretch or a bio-break, but a two-hour web meeting can be exhausting. Build-in breaks. Create bite-sized presentations. Offer quizzes. Remember that screen time often breaks down into 30-minute blocks.

To quote Prince Philip, “The mind cannot absorb what the backside cannot endure.” Don’t push your listeners to distraction by trying to cram in too much data at one time. Break things up, allow for breaks, and make time for chit-chat.

Track Attendance Off-Screen

Listening to someone try to track who’s on the meeting and who isn’t logged in can be painful to the folks who went to the trouble to attend, especially if you’re not certain how to pronounce the names of the supposed attendees. With the right software, tracking attendance to your webcast meetings can easily be done off-screen.

Do make sure to send out surveys, and if the training you’re offering is for professional credit, consider adding timed quizzes to make sure the folks who logged in are able to access your presentation. Allow for some friendly exchanges with these quizzes; you might question folks about their preferred meeting coffee or headset recommendations.

Consider Your Posture

One of the challenges for presenters in virtual meetings is that it can be difficult to see your face on screen and not break away from your message to worry about your appearance. In these instances, pay special attention to your posture.

If you tend to lean in, understand that putting your elbows on the desk puts strain on

  • your shoulders, which can limit your ability to breathe deeply
  • your neck, which can lead to vocal tension
  • your jaw, which can eventually give you a headache

Even if you feel comfortable, the wrong posture can make you look aggressive, passive, bored, or disengaged. Wear something comfortable and switch from standing to sitting when possible. If you must be seated, practice sitting back and resting your hands on your legs when listening or considering a question.

Get Someone to Monitor the Chat

When you’re in flow, it can be easy to gloss over a point. If you get a lot of queries over a particular statement, you may have created a new point that needs more monitoring. Get with your chat monitor and create a system that allows them to notify you about any issue that has blown up into a bunch of questions so you can address them after a break.

Don’t circle back if you need to dig into a particular point until you allow yourself the time to reconsider

  • what you said
  • how it might have been received
  • what you need to clarify

Build some flex time into your presentations to allow time to clean up such a point without destroying your timeline.

The virtual meeting is here to stay. Presenting in a more polished fashion is an excellent way to keep remote workers engaged, and this work may also be saved by your organization for future training or marketing.