Professional Development: Presentation Skills After Covid

Imagine swimming across the Atlantic Ocean keeping one eye on circling sharks and the other eye on your posture, body language, and facial expressions.

Or you’re tightrope walking over molten lava while maintaining eye contact with your audience. By the way: “funambulism” is the technical name for tightrope walking. Does this sound like fun to you?

Welcome to the world of post-pandemic professional development and the delicate process of rebooting your presentation skills!

Your personal development. Your presentation skills.

Whether you’re perched out front wooing and winning customers or neatly tucked away in a cubicle crunching numbers, at some point you may need to make a presentation to your peers or even to the C-Suite. Your personal development goals should prepare you to showcase your presentation skills.

According to the British non-profit, Women in Banking & Finance: “When we think about presentations we often conjure up images in our mind of formal speeches in front of a large group. In reality we present and influence every day through our daily interactions at work and in our personal lives. Even if you don’t have to give presentations as part of your job right now, you might have to in future.

As you gain seniority your levels of responsibility increase and you begin to manage others. Understanding how to get the best out of your team is incredibly important—as a leader, you need strong communication skills. Honing your presentation skills will help you chair meetings, motivate team members and communicate more effectively with colleagues.”

The COVID effect

From “Before the Coronavirus pandemic broke out, physical public speaking skills such as maintaining eye-contact with the audience, making good use of the stage, and adapting your delivery and content to audience reaction in order to maintain engagement were very much appreciated and demanded.”

When the pandemic struck, the primary virtue of virtual meetings was that they kept people safe.

A journal published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information stated that in the healthcare field, “…Communication in general deteriorated during the pandemic, especially during the initial waves. Non-verbal communication was more affected due to the use of Personal Protective Equipment and the initial fear of infection, with this finding strongly observed in departments such as emergencies or critical care….”

From “Public speaking has been one of the most impacted fields by the pandemic. One might be a talented speaker, but when they’re forced to use virtual means, then all their training might elude them. Some people often use virtual meeting software such as Zoom to give a presentation to a large group of people. The use of a video platform to speak to a large group of people might be challenging since you may not have the connection that you would get during a
face-to-face presentation.”

Now virtual communication is status quo in most corporations around the world.
But it has its own challenges and you have to mentally adjust to each one. For example, suddenly your cluttered home is on display for all the world—or at least all of your colleagues. So now you’ve got to window-dress your personal space to make it more appealing.

And while communicating behind your mask was probably cumbersome at first, you don’t get to hide behind it any more. You’re bare-faced. Exposed. And you no longer have the benefit of reading other people’s body language. Bare faces express a lot, but you’ve got to learn how to read them. This puts a whole new “twist” on your personal development techniques.

Becoming a virtual virtuoso

Putting a fresh spin on this new twist isn’t a solo act. You’ll need strong team support and coaching to prepare you. “When presenting online, you are not always able to see your audience, moreso with large audiences. You may not have the opportunity to switch your presentation methods in response to how the audience reacts. Furthermore, there obviously isn’t a stage to walk around on or eyes to look into.”

If your team needs stronger professional development and presentation skills, our team at Magnovo is your obvious go-to. With a decades-long track record of success, we understand the frustrations and have mastered all of the dynamics of the online corporate world.

And despite all of its seeming complications, the first step in our strategy to transform your team into a virtual virtuoso is to….

…KISS: Keep It Simple, Sweetie!
Keep your eye on the camera lens in lieu of the audience;
Keep it short and sweet—no icebreaker jokes to warm up your audience; just get to the point and stick to the point;
Master your equipment and rehearse your spiel;
Avoid getting into hot water by assuming the mic and camera are always hot;
Relax! Noone can see your knees shaking; and finally
Remember that all this effort will be worth it if you see it as a professional development opportunity instead of a big pain in the tuchus!