In this two-part series, we will cover how to prepare for an online and an in-person presentation (You can find the in-person post here). There are many similarities and differences between the two and they need to be discussed in their own posts. A quick note: just because we mention one point in one blog, and not in the other, does not mean that this point is only relevant for that style. Both in-person and online have their pros and cons and their own unique challenges, which we will cover in the following blog posts.

To prepare for an online presentation, first make sure to do the research/complete the assignment. Do not think that just because you are online, it is easier (it can often be harder). A lot of students think that studying from home or doing their presentations from the comfort of their room is something that will only help them. In some cases, this is true; however, consider how many distractions there are in your room that can cause a lapse in concentration while you are doing your presentation.

Below, we’ve given a quick list of tips to help make your online presentation go as smoothly as possible.

1. Remove all distractions from your room. Keep your desk clear of anything that can take your attention away from your presentation. Try to have only what you need in front of you.

2. Mute out your microphone if it is not your turn. Though this has little to do with your presentation, it is just courteous to mute out, so your background noises do not get in the way of the presenter. You wouldn’t want someone else’s background noises to interfere with your talk.

3. Put your phone on mute. There are few things more distracting than hearing someone’s phone ringing/buzzing during a presentation (especially if it is the presenter’s phone or if the person answers it). Keep the flow of your talk intact and put your phone on silent.

4. Close all tabs you do not want other people to see. Even if you are not planning on sharing your screen, it is a good idea. It makes preparation a lot less stressful if you need to screen-share at the last minute.

Did You Know?

A tutor can be a big help with preparing a presentation. They can give their input on how you can improve and which areas are unclear.

Did You Know?

A tutor can be a big help with preparing a presentation. They can give their imput on how you can improve and which areas are unclear.

5. Wear appropriate clothing. It can be tempting to appear on camera in your pajamas, but a good rule of thumb is, if you wouldn’t do a presentation in it in person, don’t wear it online.

6. Ask other people in your home to keep the noise down if possible. This isn’t always possible, but the less background noise there is the better.

7. Remove pets and siblings from your surroundings. You can play with them before and after your talk.

8. Keep your background clear and distraction free (this includes people). It can be hard as the listener to focus on a person’s presentation if their background is full of interesting things or if people are constantly waking by.

9. Pay attention to what you are talking about. It can be very easy to go off on a tangent because you are not in front of a group of people and are presenting to a screen.

10. Do not think that just because you are online it will be easier to get away with not practising (it won’t). Being online is not an excuse for not knowing the material you are presenting.

11. Do not read. There are few things more monotonous than listening to a person read their slides. Just because you are online is not an excuse to read your presentation to the audience. Try to keep it engaging.

12. Be prepared for technical difficulties. It’s not something that you can control. Technical difficulties will happen. The most important thing is to not let them affect you. If possible, have a plan B (have a friend/teacher share their screen with your presentation, have a different microphone available, etc.).

13. Practise your presentation. Try it out on your friends and family before and ask for their thoughts. Is there anything that was not clear? How was your body language? 

Now, we might have given the impression that giving a talk online is the more difficult way of presenting. It doesn’t have to be. There are a lot of positives that go along with it. For example, being in a place where you are comfortable can help lessen the nervousness/anxiety people feel before they present. It can also be easier to ignore friends who are trying to distract you while giving your talk. 

Doing a presentation online brings with it its own sets of challenges and solutions. Our list is by no means exhaustive; it is meant more as a guide to help you find your way of doing an impactful online presentation.

Need more help with online presentations?