Business Blog (EN)

How to turn boring online presentations into engaged communication

Boring presentations are OUT!

In the old days (before Covid-19), people did not dare to leave the room during battles of endless, boring PowerPoints. They persevered to the end, politely applauding when it was over.

Now, those days are gone! Either people simply leave the virtual room or they get on with other work having turned off their camera and microphone. Whatever message the presenter wanted to communicate… has faded away into the universe of virtual communication!

In these times of working remotely, it is more critical than ever to turn passive listeners into active participants.

The reason for this becomes clear if we look at the 5 human senses and their role in our perception:

5 Sinne

Graphic © Sudowoodo / iStock

Face-to-face presentations: Five senses activated

When following presentations face-to-face, all 5 senses are activated. Although our perceptions are mostly led by the audio-visual aspects of communication, we must also consider the senses of touch and feel: the location, the interior design of the room, the other people and even the olfactory elements of our surroundings. Together,  they create a holistic perception which considerably affects how much we like or dislike a presentation. Those are pure emotions!

Online presentations: Reduced to sight and hearing

During online presentations, our senses are reduced to sight and hearing only. And even those two senses are limited online. When meeting in person, we can easily turn our head to take in a 360° view and we can also pick up many nuances on the audio channel. This is impossible in an online mode. Consequently, the threshold of emerging emotions is a lot higher online than in a face-to-face situation!

Here are 3 practical tips of how you can transform boring online presentations into engaged communication:

Tip 1: Visualize your thoughts

Looking at stimulating and informative images is much more enjoyable than reading endless lines of words. There is more than one scientific study confirming that visual communication is highly effective. Here are two good reasons:

  • Images can be remembered more easily than the spoken or written word. That’s a simple matter of how our brain works.
  • Visualizing your thoughts also motivates you as a presenter to bring your message to the point.

How can you achieve this?

You can create simple illustrations yourself, e.g. digitally on a tablet using apps (Procreate is an excellent tool for the iPad) or you use specific software for simple graphics. Last but not least, you may use image databases such as Adobe Stock, iStock or (freely-usable images) Unsplash.

Engaging Online Presentations visualized


Tip 2: Make your presentation interactive!

Interactive presentations keep listeners involved whilst also giving them the chance to participate. A higher level of involvement increases the presenters’ chance of being heard. This is  easier in smaller groups where reactions can be requested verbally.

But how can you hold the attention of larger groups?

Most video conferencing apps like Zoom, MS Teams or Webex offer buttons with emojis where you can easily encourage reactions. You can also organize small polls by using tools like Mentimeter or Aha Slides (see also our blog post “Best of Teamwork Tools”) Do keep in mind that such polls need to be thoroughly prepared.

Finally, take any feedback as valuable input and be ready to learn, improve and build on your own ideas and views. The content and the emotional perception of your presentation will definitely benefit from it.


Tip 3: Have a goal and keep your presentation short and to the point!

Der dritte Tipp scheint offensichtlich zu sein, wird aber oft nicht beachtet: Haben Sie ein klares Ziel, das Sie mit Ihrer Präsentation erreichen wollen. Welche Veränderungen möchten Sie mit Ihrer Präsentation bewirken?

Kommunizieren Sie klar, formulieren Sie Ihre Botschaft direkt und kommen Sie auf den Punkt. Ihre Zuhörer*innen werden es schätzen, wenn Sie die wertvolle Zeit effizient nutzen. Ansonsten laufen Sie Gefahr, sie zu verlieren, ohne es zu merken.


In Conclusion: Successful Online Presentations

The most important ingredients for an effective presentation are clear goals with relevant and valuable content. If you then combine some of the above-mentioned tips and tricks, you will increase your chance of being heard considerably. This is true for any presentation. It becomes key when presenting concepts, new products or any idea you want to sell to customers. In these cases, it may be a true door opener!

Interested to learn more about interactive communication and other skills trainings especially for online mode and international business? Then have a look at our workshop program under the following link: Our Workshops & Services