You Ask, I Answer: Adapting Presentations for Virtual?

Cathy asks, Can an in-person talk be adapted for a digital experience? What skills are different for virtual presentations?

In a room, you are addressing one to many. In a digital/virtual environment, you are addressing one to one. For the most part, on the other end of a connection there won’t be a dozen people.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode Kathy asks, can have in person talk be adapted for a digital experience? What skills are different for virtual presentations? A lot of different, a lot is different.

And the most important thing I think to keep in mind, is that a virtual presentation when you are as we are right now, talking to each other while I’m talking to you, I guess is that it’s not a stage.

Right? Look around you right now there.

How many other people are watching this with you? Not many, right? When you’re onstage in a big room, it’s 100,000 10,000 people all there and there’s a definite different energy and the language that you use will reflect that.

Walk on stage.

Hey, folks, Great to see ya.

Right? When we’re on a channel like this, I go Hey, folks, and you’re like, what? what folks? It’s me and my office, right? It’s me on my phone.

It’s only me.

So, from a communications perspective, one of the biggest change is that public speakers have had to make and should make and if you’re doing a talk, you should make sure you’re not talking to a roomful of people.

Even if you see 25 heads on the bowl, zoom interface, whatever.

From the customer’s perspective, you are talking just to them is a one to one conversation to them, especially on a webinar, like zoom calls, you can at least see, you know, the floating heads on a webinar where this you know, yeah, you take this to the list of attendees, 125 people or whatever listening, but it really is only you, and both and the speaker.

So as a speaker, you have to change your language.

You have to change your mannerisms.

You change the way you speak.

Speak when you’re talking to an audience one to one.

I changed a lot of what I do my videos when I realized that it’s just you and me.

Right? Even language like that.

It’s like it’s not it’s not just me and my audience, right, that’s me and assuming that’s a one to many relationship, but when we’re talking like this, it’s one one’s just you and me.

having a conversation.

One of the challenges that people are going to face that speakers have a really hard time with in virtual environments is lack of feedback.

In a roomful of people, you can see guys, everyone on their phones, right? People holding their phones, taking pictures, or they, you know, taking photos, your slides, you can tell when people are engaged in virtual environments, very difficult to do.

So, as a speaker, one of the things you’ve got to get real comfortable with is talking to nobody.

Right? talking to an audience that isn’t there.

A silly trick that some people do enjoy doing is they’ll take a look at an actual photo of somebody they respected, they’ll put it right next to their camera, and they’ll talk to that photo.

And, and and it helps make them make the mental connection that there is somebody on the other end of this piece of plastic and glass and metal.

And it helps direct the conversation and the feeling.

Because your brain is thinking I do see a person there.

That helps.

Just like with a zoom call, one of the things I recommend you do is like these little boom arms here, can you can put a camera on them and then you can move that around.

I like to put the camera in the middle of the zoom window.

So I’m looking at the zoom window.

I’m seeing the people as as I’m talking to them when I do like classes and things.

Other things that change, there is a a strong prohibition against having more than like 10 words on the slide for onstage talks.

The reason In a simple, our brains are language based brains and image based brains left, right, whatever you want to call it.

The language processor is a serial processor and ahead.

So we can only interpret one language stream at a time.

That’s why I have two people talking at the same time, it’s very hard to make out what they’re saying.

But you can look at two different images at the same time, right, you can go to art gallery and see like a wall full of images.

You can hear a bunch of different sounds and a piece of music because that part of the brain works differently.

When we’re on stage.

I want people listening to the words I’m saying and not reading off of the slide.

In a virtual environment that’s different.

There is no person to pay attention to.

And so you can have a few more words on a slide.

And that actually directs the audience gives them something to do if it’s just a slide of like a picture of your dog, which I have a fair number of, that’s fine, but then I had better be an even better speaker.

Even more entertaining a different tone so that people are engaged with that because at that point, if it’s just a slide and a voice, you’re basically a radio show.

Right? At that point you are a radio show with a billboard as if you are not a speaking human being that can be helped by having like little picture and picture.

persons, you know, the the the webcam running, that shows that there’s actually a person there.

When possible, do stuff live.

A lot of shows a lot of conferences gone to, you know, canned talks, and that’s okay.

Because it certainly is a very uneven experience based on technology.

People have their houses about what kind of content you can deliver.

But if you can do stuff live, if you can do stuff with tons of QA, virtual environments are great for that.

There’s a chat room.

You know, one of the challenges we have with on stage talks is you don’t want people to You’re raising hand the mill, you’re talking, hey, yeah, this is work, right.

But you can absolutely have that happen in in the chat for a virtual experience and have people ask questions as they have money.

Oh, yeah, that that’s a question I want to ask them.

They, if you create that experience, and you’re amenable to that experience, when you’re talking, you can either weave it into the talk itself or have a longer q&a, like if you are talking, you’re 16 minutes in and the chat is filled with questions, you can say, Okay, you know what, I’m going to change my talk a little bit shorten up as we can tackle all these great questions that came in.

So you have to be very flexible, to be able to deliver a lot of value like that.

If you see there’s a ton of QA engagement already happening during the talk.

The same is true for you.

You can use interaction features.

So there’s a lot of features in virtual environments, you know, people can raise their hands, they can, you know, put a little emojis in the chat and stuff like that you can stimulate some of that engagement to ask people to pay attention, essentially.

But at the end of the day, it’s still conference call, it’s still radio a lot of the time.

At best, it’s a YouTube video, it is not the same as being in a conference room.

And the reason the big thing behind that is that you’ve not taking that audience member out of their comfortable environment that they used to with all the distractions of an office or a home office or, or, or whatever.

And their mindset is different.

They are not in the mindset of I’m here for two days to learn this thing there.

their mindset is, I’m popping in for 45 minutes between meetings to learn this thing.

And so you have to remember that and engage them where they are in that context.

Okay, folks, if you’re here, you know, the dog is barking or the kids are crying, cool.

Step out as you need to, this is being recorded.

Copy will be provided to you.

And one tip that I find super helpful is to make sure that you provide you with cereals in multiple formats when you’re done.

So provide the slides, yes, provide the audio.

So if somebody wants to read, listen, they can, which means you have to think about how heavily does your presentation or live visuals, provide the video, the recording, and provide an AI based transcript or real human transcript if you want to pay for it, but an AI based transcript so if someone just wants to read through the talk, people read way faster than we talk, people can read up to 400 words a minute, we kept pretty much to be intelligible at about 150 words a minute.

So providing that that transcript can help someone find just the part of the presentation they want.

You can take a digital presentation and slice it up in a whole bunch of different ways and provide a lot of post event value.

So that’s how to adapt presentations for the virtual world.

There’s a lot you can do.

There’s a lot you should do.

But it starts with recognizing that you’re not talking to a roomful of people anymore.

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