What we learned from presenting online

April 14, 2020

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12 hours of online presenting in one week!

Before COVID hit we had an extremely busy training schedule planned from February to June. Our founder Russell still delivers all of our training and was extremely excited about travelling extensively and meeting so many new people that he could teach Prezi and PowerPoint skills to. 

Because of Russell’s extensive knowledge and experience of online presenting we were able to move 90% of our planned training sessions to an online platform, and he hasn’t had to miss out on any of these new relationships and sharing his know-how. Also, because he hasn’t had to travel so much Russell decided to add even more training workshops to our diary (all courses listed here) and in the last few weeks has been a non stop online training machine!

Last week he presented online for 12 hours which consisted of 3 training sessions and 1 Webinar. In total there were over 200 attendees which is a lot more than he’d visit in person during a single week, and all of these attendees were spread across 9 different countries.

Here are Russell’s top findings from delivering so much online training.


1. Webcam's are a must

If you’ve ever seen Russell presenting you’ll know he uses a lot of expressive body language to convey his enthusiasm and to help drive key points home. It’s a great skill to have and it doesn’t have to be removed from the picture just because you are presenting online.

Now more than ever, we need to bring through human contact into everything we do. Body language and facial expressions are crucial in online presentation delivery.

Always make sure your audience can see you. This will help them engage and remember a lot more of your content. Take special consideration to these areas:


  • Lighting – Make sure your home office is well lit
  • Camera angle – Try to place your webcam at eye level
  • Keep a tidy environment – What people see will be a reflection of you

2. Stand and deliver

One question Russell always gets when presenting online is “Are you standing up right now?”. 

Of course the answer is always yes. For experienced presenters the thought of sitting whilst they present feels very wrong. If you sit you are also tempted to hunch over your laptop which in turn can affect your tone of voice. It can also completely remove body language from the equation because your arms are resting on the desk. 

When you sit to present you’ll lower your impact dramatically.

If you don’t own a standing desk simply place a small coffee table on top of your desk and then place your laptop on top of that. If you really want to you can jump onto Amazon and buy a standing desk converter.

We aren’t built to sit at desks 8 hours a day so there are lots of other benefits you’ll see from putting this in place.


3. Don't forget to take breaks

It’s very tempting to assume that everyone watching your presentation is at home surrounded by an endless supply of water, coffee, and snacks. But of course we have no way of knowing that so it makes good sense to do exactly what you would do when presenting or training people in person….ask if they’d like to take a quick break.

When you’re presenting for more than 90 minutes it makes total sense to include a short 5-10 minute break. This will help everyone refocus and freshen up so that you can have their attention again when you restart.

But, us presenters need a break as well. So make sure you mute your mic, switch your webcam off during the break, move and stretch, visit the bathroom, and grab what you need to be back on your A game in 5 minutes time.

This is vital, especially if you’re delivering 12 hours of content in a short space of time like Russell has been.


4. Have a teammate on standby

As you may have already realised, there are a lot of variables and moving parts when it comes to online presenting. Russell has delivered online training for nearly 10 years and fully admits that everything which could go wrong for him, has at some stage. It’s been a big learning curve, but one thing which can always save the day when working with all this new technology is another human being!

Russell always asks one of his team to be there on standby for him should things go wrong. He has a second screen plugged into his laptop which enables him to have lots of different windows open that remain invisible to the audience. One of these windows is Google Chat and he makes sure that one team member is going to be there at hand should he need them at a moments notice. They can still continue to work on various projects of course, but when they hear that Chat box ring they know that Russell needs a quick response.

Additional team members can help with lots of different things, and it’s also an idea to ask them to log in as an attendee to your session just so they can see what the audience is seeing. Even after 10 years there has been the odd occasion where Russell started presenting and forgot to hit the Share Screen button. Luckily one of us was at hand to tell him and help him avoid the embarrassing moment. 


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If you’d like to learn directly from Russell and become an online presenting whizz then get in touch with us today.

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