It’s not JUST a virtual keynote: 5 tips to transform your online presentation into a virtual keynote

  • It’s not JUST a virtual keynote: 5 tips to transform your online presentation into a virtual keynote

    It’s not JUST a virtual keynote: 5 tips to transform your online presentation into a virtual keynote

    “Don’t worry, it’s just a virtual keynote. I can hide.”

    Noooo!  Don’t hide! And, there is no just before the words “virtual keynote”.

    Virtual presenters have the opportunity to be seen and heard by more people from around the world. Online presentations are usually recorded and will likely be passed along to others. If you’ve been invited to give a virtual keynote, this is a fantastic opportunity. Take advantage of it by creating a keynote presentation your audience will remember.

    Unfortunately, this isn’t easy. Although you may be less nervous, creating a great online presentation is actually more difficult. Here are 5 tips to make your next virtual presentation special:

    online presenting tips - importance#1 Make it matter.

    Think hard about your key message. What is the one thing that you want to leave in the minds of the audience? Choose a topic and a message that you’re passionate about. One that you know and believe. Speakers, who care about their message, will naturally convey this interest and the audience will feel it.  

    Often, I hear speakers tell me that they included this date or that slide because someone else thought that we should. Presentations that are developed by are committee are typically weak and boring.  Everyone adds something and the vital message and story become muddled. As a speaker, if you are bored presenting something, then your audience will definitely be bored also. Pick a topic that is interesting to you, show information that you believe in and your audience will believe it too.

    online presenting structure#2 Develop a strong structure.

    Speeches, particularly virtual speeches, need a thread to sew the facts together and to create a clear, beautiful, and memorable key message. Develop a presentation structure that takes the audience on a journey. Start with a hook to create curiosity and interest. Add suspense as you help your audience to discover your project or your key message through stories, analogies, or other creative frameworks.

    online presenting - time#3 Keep it short.

    Expectations are high, attention spans are short, and classic presentations simply don’t cut it on the small screen. I recommend cutting the length of your face-to-face presentation in half. If you babble off on a tangent; your audience will open their email.  If you stumble trying to share some slides, everyone reaches for their phone. Plan everything that you’re going to cover, taking out the boring bits and the extra words. 

    Change is key.  If you need to convey lots of information, try using 2 speakers, alternating every 10 minutes. You can also add videos, polls, or whiteboards exercises to keep your audience awake. 

    online presenting tip - action#4 Give them some action.

    People are used to films and professional bloggers. If you want to keep their attention, you need to talk to the camera and move! Use your body, your voice and your slides to tell your story. I recommend simple, beautiful slides with one topic per slide. This approach keeps the audience engaged as you’re changing slides more often. 

    By action, I don’t mean that you should dance around the room or talk really fast. Stand your ground and move with your message. Pause after each sentence and pause longer after each key point.   

    online presenter - tip 5

    #5 Take a chance.

    Audiences love great live presentations because the presenter puts herself out there. Let us see you. Push back from the screen. Or, even better, stand-up. Adjust your lights and camera so that you’re perfectly visible and can move with your message. Let us see your arms as you gesture. Let us feel your passion as you describe a situation with your hands. Add depth to your story with props or a great background…yellow, stones, books, your child’s room…whatever fits your message.  Grab a prop to emphasise a point.  Add a drum roll just before you announce the answer to your question.  Add some theatrics to our everyday life!


    Kimberly VanLandingham is an international presentation and communication trainer, strategist and the CEO of European Market Link Sàrl. offers open coursesprivate coaching and corporate presentation and public speaking training workshops in English, in Switzerland. Contact us for more information on our courses or coaching.

    Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels.



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