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New-Hire Onboarding in the Social Distancing Age: Master Remote Presentation Skills

Published: April 24, 2020

Author: Katie Long

The COVID-19 era of social distancing is presenting unique challenges for almost every company, including how to work remotely with new hires to make them feel integrated, comfortable, and prepared to contribute in their roles. The 3Q Training team is providing a blog series to help organizations tackle the challenge.
Connecting with your audience is always the most important element of presenting, and it is one that becomes more challenging when presenting remotely. There are a few areas that you can focus on to help ensure that you’re still bringing your A game to the table to connect with new hires despite not being in person.

Put your voice in front of the visual aids

Your connection with your audience is predicated on your ability to demonstrate to them that you are the source of value, not your visual aids. The golden rule here is that you never want to put yourself in a position where you’re explaining something that someone is already reading. When you’re an online presenter, this idea becomes essential.

Set the table for your audience

Setting expectations before sharing a document on screenshare is a useful technique when presenting something technical in nature. You’re aiming to establish the meaning behind what you’re sharing before you start explaining how it works. Here are a few specifics and an example.

Keep the intro brief and high-level

– Your goal is to set expectations
– Avoid complicated explanations in the intro

Control the tone and narrative that you want the conversation to follow

Example: “We’re going to look at our online sales data for the last 14 days, as well as a few recommendations for how we need to pivot to adapt. It’s true that the numbers are down overall, but we want to point out a few areas where we’re doing better and how to get the most from that. Let me get this spreadsheet on a screenshare so we can dive into the details.”
Many of the best practices for presenting slide decks in person become even more important when presenting online. Two of the most important are limiting the text on your slides and keeping your narration ahead of the visual aids.
Utilizing notes (or a dual monitor setup if you have it) can help you to introduce ideas before sharing them on the next slide. The idea is that you benefit from clicking through to your next slide a little late and suffer if you click through a little early. The next two examples demonstrate this point.
Common Mistake:
[click through to the next slide] … [short pause] … “Okay, so, here’s what this slide is about.”
This technique undercuts your relationship with your audience by demonstrating that your slides are more valuable than your voice.
Best Practice:
[still on the previous slide] … “So the result of these numbers that we’re looking at is that our online sales almost made up for lost in store sales” … [casual click to next slide without pause] “and that’s demonstrated here in this graph.”
Ultimately, the skills used to be an effective online presenter aren’t that much different than the skills you already use as an in-person presenter. While there are a few new challenges and important adjustments that you need to consider, the ultimate goal will always be to connect with your audience – in this case, your new teammates.

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