Adapt your presentation style to compensate for the missing signals

If you are a regular reader of our Training Box newsletters, you will need no convincing about how important it for the presenter to be sending out the right non-verbal signals in order to make a positive impression on the audience. Non-verbal signals of course are about your body language (posture, gestures, facial expressions…). Interestingly, the voice also counts here as a non-verbal signal. By this, we are referring not to the words you use and the content of what you say, but rather to the tone of the voice.  It is this tone that enables you to convey emotion, feeling, passion, commitment, enthusiasm…all important aspects when it comes to being credible in your presentations.

What you may not know is that when it comes to taking in information about what is going on around us at any given time, most people take in most of their information visually. In the average person, the eyes tend to dominate over the other four of the five senses of hearing, touch, taste and smell. In short and in general, we are more likely to be influenced by and remember what we see compared to what we hear.

This is all extremely relevant for teleconference presentations. Because non-verbal signals (what we see) and voice tone have such a strong impact on perception, the presenter must adapt his or her style and compensate for the missing non-verbal signals and remember that voice and tone are even more important

Here are ten crucial tips:

1.   Have a clear picture of real people in your mind  – speak to these people as though they were in the room with you.

2.   Begin with enthusiasm to engage and get attention – set the tone for an upbeat and positive presentation

3.   Use facial expressions, gestures even though no-one can see you – the energy will be reflected in your voice tone.

4.   Speak slowly and clearly, articulating well and taking pauses – everyone needs to hear you.

5.   Use an agenda slide and make the red-line of the presentation clear to the listeners.

6.   Keep your slides uncomplicated and visually attractive to help participants to focus.

7.   Use simple animation effects to avoid overload.

8.   Aim for synergy as you explain the slides to direct attention  e.g. on the right hand side in the red box…

9.   Avoid using slang, jargon, metaphors that might not be clear – especially to an international audience.

10. Take care extra care with humour, sarcasm – there are no softening non-verbal signals to mitigate the message.

Teleconference presentations are indeed a challenge but there is no reason why you cannot make a positive impact on your listeners.

See also our occasional blog Teleconferencing: making a good impression

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