COVID-19 has changed the world in more than one way. The most prominent of them, apart from healthcare, is the way it has impacted businesses and working models. Work-From-Home, which was once considered ineffective, became the norm. As the world came out of the pandemic and started to resume its businesses as usual, 'Hybrid' is the term that took over across the globe. Everyone has adopted this hybrid working model, from smaller setups to Fortune 500 companies.
63% of high-growth companies have adopted hybrid work models
While many companies have requested their employees to return and many individuals have shown keenness for physical on-site presence, it is well accepted that things cannot return to how they were in 2019. Things will not change- not right now, and perhaps never. The transition from in-person conferences and presentations to video conferences on platforms like Zoom, Teams, Webex, Google Meet, and ting has already become a norm. Hybrid conferences, where some participants attend in person and others virtually, will become more common.
Our perspective and orientation shifted overnight. First, we had to learn how to generate videos and present them online. We now have to negotiate a hybrid communication universe.
This change in operational dynamics impacts organizations and their employees and applies equally to the fund-seeking environment. The investor pitches and meets that were earlier mandatorily done in person have shifted to the virtual or, more recently, to the hybrid mode.
Thus, fund seekers must understand the dynamics of this hybrid presentation and modify their styles and materials to suit the need of the hour.
We will look at how we can make perfect presentations for a hybrid world.
Top tips to prepare for a hybrid presentation
- Cameras need to be turned on
It is more crucial than ever for distant participants to switch on their webcams during hybrid meetings to participate fully. The presenter must also be able to interact visually with the whole audience, not just the people in the room.
You may consider requesting the physical participants to bring along their computers. They could keep their cameras switched on and microphones muted when not speaking. This will better the playing field. A display in front of the conference might also be helpful so that everyone can view the remote participants.
- Prep before the meeting
You are in charge of ensuring that everyone who attends in person and electronically has a positive experience. Thus, when organizing the meeting, take into account the following list of tasks:
Before the meeting begins, you should:
- First, join the room's equipment.
- Join the conference platform.
- Test the video and audio you'll utilize and the content you share.
- Locate a seat in the room where you can easily view the screen, the physically present audience, and, if applicable, the room camera.
- If you want the room camera to see you, you must sit at the table with your laptop rather than stand next to it.
- Make sure there is no distracting background where you are seated. You do not want the room camera to project the screen image additionally.
- Close the blinds or curtains if there are openings in the room where guests will be sitting to lessen the light's brightness, which will affect the video quality.
- Movement and dynamicity are crucial
When your presentation starts, face the camera to give remote viewers a sense of being present in the room. Then, as you talk, make deliberate movements away from the camera and back towards the audience.
But remember to consider the camera's frame. It would help if you didn't go too far from the shot. This back-and-forth motion promotes more inclusion and fosters a stronger sense of community among individuals within and outside the room.
Lift the camera (laptop) and move it nearer to the speaker if they are in the room and have not brought their laptops. This serves as a reminder to those present that their distant coworkers are also present.
- Crisp, qualitative, and concise
One of the most significant benefits of hybrid working is the freedom it offers to your audience to work from their desired location – physical or remote. In this era of hybrid presentations, the presenter must make their presentations inclusive and exciting for everyone. While this was a thumb rule of presentation otherwise, too, with hybrid working, it has become more critical.
To make the maximum impact of presentations in a hybrid environment, avoid the urge to talk more when entering the room. Make hybrid presentations as concise and practical as you can. Choose quality over quantity. Short, meaningful presentations that can engage your audience will save time, keep the audience glued, and reap better benefits. Make sure there is equal time given to both online and offline audiences to hear you, ask questions, or contribute to the presentation.
- Aim for engagement and collaboration in a hybrid environment
The most difficult task of the hybrid environment is to get everyone engaged effectively. While it is not the intention, the presenter often gets more fixated on the audience in the room. Naturally, this makes the ones online feel left out and thus disengaged. It is thus helpful to keep some dedicated time intermittently in the presentation for the ones on the screen.
You should aim for hybrid collaboration, if possible. You could either make two groups – one of online and the other of offline participants or create groups of one online and one offline member together as a team. This keeps them all engaged well at the same time.
- Manage content and live video feed in the meeting
As a presenter, you are responsible for ensuring that the entire audience, irrespective of their location, gets the same feel of the content being displayed or discussed. Thus, managing content and live video feeds within a meeting are crucial aspects of the success of a hybrid session.
- The screen should display people's videos from the meeting platform when you are not contributing material. The control of the same could be with either the room system or you move the meeting control and video panel to the display to manage it.
- If you wish to share material, only share your window or screen.
- Learn how to pin and spotlight video streams to get the best experience possible during talks. Each meeting platform has slightly different spotlighting and pinning options; some meeting platforms might not even provide these. Be aware and educate yourself about all such features of the platform that you intend to use. Practice using them well before your actual presentation.
Some additional tips to make the perfect presentation
There are many other smaller but finer things that you must keep at the back of your mind when prepping for a hybrid presentation.
- Having access to the conference platform controls while presenting is beneficial, so find out how to make those visible.
- Make sure you can reach the chat either as a part of the conference controls or as a preview pane if you're utilizing the meeting's chat feature.
- Recognize where the camera is located in the space. It's essential to strike a balance between where and how much of the space you look at. It differs from virtual-only presentations, where you must stare into your device's webcam.
- Think about showing slides and sharing a screen. It enables you to drag more information onto that screen for viewers. If you share material, this may be the screen in the space. It is easier to share and drag stuff onto a screen than to flip between different types of content.
- Pick a term to use as a call-out when someone is disrespecting or bending the rules during a meeting. The group might choose a lighthearted word to brighten the mood. For instance, encouraging them to show consideration for their distant coworkers is preferable to yelling at them like a father.
- Schedule your time carefully. A brief pause after each segment will encourage internet users to ask questions and seek explanations if the conversation is being overshadowed by those present. Pause and solicit feedback from the tiny audience.
- Be fair to everyone. Make sure you look the people in the room and those watching online in the eye while you talk. Instead of turning to the person next to you, make a point of talking to them first.
Post epidemic, businesses, and individuals are still figuring out the best methods to work. It may be too soon to say if hybrid work will be a fad or the new standard, but it is unquestionably true that we must adapt to it while it is here.
Making presentations is an integral part of most of today's work. It is specifically vital to business owners and entrepreneurs seeking funds for the growth of their businesses. Irrespective of the industry and geography, hybrid working, hybrid meetings, and hybrid presentations seem to be staying here for a while. Thus, even the best presenters need to adapt to this complicated environment. Learning a few skills for presenting your idea to a hybrid audience can ensure that you make a presentation as emphatic as you would otherwise.
Keeping the above pointers in mind can aid your presentation and make the impact you truly want.