3 ways leaders can hold engaging presentations in a hybrid setting

Viewed in Fast Company

Most business leaders aspire to be seen as influencers in their respective fields and industries, or perhaps, on an even larger level, in the totality of global business. 

Being a compelling presenter is a centerpiece of being a leader

But if a leader thinks this can be accomplished without being able to give a compelling presentation, think again. The art of the presentation remains a centerpiece of being perceived as an influencer, in persuading decision-makers, and in developing a brand identity for quality leadership.

The challenges of hybrid presentations

But the factors that define a persuasive presentation in 2021, like just about everything else in global business since the 2020 pandemic’s emergence, are changing in fairly profound ways, especially since many presentations are now given remotely, or in hybrid settings with some audience members off-site and others on-site. Three notable changes are identified:

Standing during a presentation

First is the issue of mobility during a presentation. Steve Jobs, the former chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Apple known for iconic and groundbreaking presentations, still resonates in the minds of many business leaders, largely because he safely can be credited with inspiring the last major changes to the traditional business presentation.

Jobs’ image, usually strolling the stage in front of neon-lit Apple signage, caught on pre-pandemic; the idea of walking a stage while simultaneously speaking was deemed to project confidence and persuasiveness.

But this is no longer deemed possible or necessary. Standing remains important, but the perceived appeal of strolling a long stage with a remote microphone is vastly complicated by today’s pandemic-era presentations.

Tight messages

Second, the slideshow still remains an important component of most business presentations. When it came to these slideshows, a decade or more ago, more was definitely more. More date, more points, more conclusions all added up to what was largely perceived to be a more persuasive slideshow presentation.

But those fact-filled slideshow pages are now considered a bit overwhelming in today’s pandemic presentation era. It is perfectly fine (in fact, preferable) to keep the messaging much tighter; even a single point or fact per page is now deemed sufficient.

Occupy air time

Finally, in the old presentation world, a presenter was typically present physically in the room and therefore maintained a commanding presence both while talking and even when not talking.

But especially with screen-based remote presentations, which have become more common with remote audiences, silence is less positive because a presentation screen draws attention only to the person speaking.

This makes it important to augment initial points with supporting points and command more screen time. “You do need to occupy airtime to establish your engagement with the discussion and to establish yourself as a leader who’s engaged with the issues, listens, adds value to every discussion, and influences,” this Fast Company article concludes.

Do all those things, but don’t be silent, according to the newly emerging presentation format.

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