Virtual Presentation Skills

virtual presentation skills

Virtual Presentation Skills

What to consider when presenting virtually?

Now that you need to master virtual presentation skills, how do you do it professionally? This blog post looks at some of the main challenges you need to overcome to look professional when presenting virtually. For training on this subject click here.

virtual presentation skills


When making a virtual presentation your body language will be limited. This has a number of implications. Firstly your voice becomes the main and most important form of communication. Secondly, the clarity of your voice in terms of diction and pronunciation really matters. And lastly the speed at which you talk has to be slow enough for people to hear your voice, bearing in mind all the technological challenges the sound of your voice has to overcome.

Because body language is limited with virtual presentation skills, your voice becomes even more important, which means reflecting on your voice is vital.

virtual presentation skills


If you turn your camera on to use video in your presentation, there are a number of things to consider. One, make sure your lighting is on your face so that they can see you clearly. Two, don’t have lighting behind you as this will usually cast you in shadow. Three, consider how far from the camera you are positioned, to make sure they can see your face easily. Four, take a look at your background and make it professional and uncluttered, so that they focus on you. To conclude, a key part of virtual presentation skills is to develop your ability to use your video to look professional.

presentation content


In the virtual presentation skills world, it’s my observation that you need to get to the point fast and make your point quickly. This means you need to limit your content to what is absolutely necessary to say. In other words Less is More. Less content will have more impact. This in turn means that your slides need to be concise.

And if you are using content you’ve used in face to face presentations, or you’re using someone else’s content, you will need to be more ruthless. Take a look at every point and ask yourself, how does this contribute to the overall objective you are trying to make?

presentation duration


It’s my observation that there is a correlation between duration and involvement. In other words, the time you can take and the level of engagement of your audience are linked. This means, the more involved and engaged your audience is, the more time you can talk for. 

If you’re not involving your audience at all, and you’re giving a kind of seminar, then you will need to keep the talk to an absolute minimum. But I would say that a key part of virtual presentation skills is to involve your audience much more than presenting in the same room.

presentation message


It is vital that before you write any content, you start with an objective. What do you want your audience to be thinking, considering, reflecting on by the time you have completed your talk? Then consider this obejctive as you build your presentation. How does each slide or point you are planning to make contribute to your overall objective.

With virtual presentation skills you need to think even harder about your key message and the objective for your talk.


After training people from all over the world on presentation skills for over twenty years, my thought is that virtual presentation skills are more difficult than live presenting. You need to be more focussed, more concise and more engaging. You need to plan in meticulous detail about every step in your talk. And more than that, you need to consider how you will engage your audience at every step of the way.

At ITD we deliver virtual presentations skills training and online presentation skills training for participants all over the world. From China, Australia, Hong Kong, UAE, Europe, US & S America. Clik on th links below to find out more, or read reviews of our training , by clicking here.


What’s different about Nudge Training with ITD?

nudge training

We’re often asked what’s different about Nudge Trainigng from ITD? So here’s some thoughts:

  1. We make Nudge very simple to understand. Nudge Theory was developed by some serious brainy people. It involves a lot of ideas and research interwoven. To explain it could take a lot of complexity. But at ITD we make it really simple, by breaking it down into learning nuggets.
  2. At ITD we make these ideas easy to apply. By breaking Nudge down into its composite parts, it means that we can make it that much easier to apply.
  3. Building on number 2, we help you to apply each Nudge idea in the training. So we introduce a Nudge idea, explain it, illustrate it, then help you to apply it to your organisation and challenges.
  4. Our Nudge Training is practical. Yes we cover the theory, but then we take it further by applying it to your scenarios. So it’s a workshop not just a course. Interaction is throughout the session.
  5. By the end of the session you leave with some really practical ways to apply Nudge to your challenges.
  6. We use our experience of working with clients and their challenges, plus our knowledge of Nudge, to make it a trully inspirational session.
  7. Don’t take our word for it:
    • Martin joined Hackney’s HR, OD and Elections teams for a fantastic introduction to Nudge. I am very grateful for how Martin tailored the event for us, we learned a lot and will be implementing some Nudge techniques. Great and engaging delivery style! I highly recommend Martin if you’re looking for something similar and we look forward to working with him again. Astrid Keogh London Borough of Hackney
    • The session was indeed an eye-opener in letting people make choices and ”guiding” them into a certain direction. Jordy Mechelse
  8. What about that picture? The BA safety video, amongst other things, used entertainment to Nudge people to take notice. One of the Nudge ideas we explore is ‘Make it Fun’. BA certainly did this. How do we know it worked? Not least because so many airlines have copied them.

Nudge consultancy session is a refreshing experience

nudge consultancy

Nudge theory is a great set of ideas applied successfully by governments. But it can also be applied to everyday work situations.

A nudge consultancy session is basically a conversation focussed on the client’s challenges. As these are discussed nudge ideas are introduced and explored to see if they are relevant and useful.

Ofetn in the conversation reverse nudges are identified. What is a reverse nudge? Simply where an action has been put in place which results in the target doing exactly the opposite to the preferred behaviour.

A nudge consultancy session could take anything from an hour onwards, but typically will last from between one to two hours and may result in follow up sessions.

Have you been nudged into finding out more about a nudge consultancy session? Read more…

Nudge seminar gets great feedback

Nudge Theory Seminar

Nudge is a set of ideas to help subtly influence people in the choices they make. It’s not about telling, more about encouraging a certain option.

The seminar we run tends to be between 60 – 90 minutes in length and has the objective of introducing nudge to the participants. But there is enough time to apply some of the ideas to their challenges.

The session is fast paced with ideas introduced, explained and illustrated simply and efficiently. And the application uses ideas from the client organisation based on conversations had in the planning stage.

Some of the ideas will resonate immediately, others need time to reflect on and see how they could work. 

The appliaction of ideas can be in how one person works with another, or it could influnece how policy is developed.

Numbers attending the session can be high, so a room with forty people in it is  an effective group.

Feedback from this session tends to be very positive and  avery good use of time.


Negotiating is about Confidence

Negotiating skills training will often give you lots of ideas and tips and strategies for how to negotiate. You will learn how to plan a negotiation and assess the person or team you are negotiating with. There will be options on how to move a negotiation on when it gets bogged down.

But one of the biggest pieces of negotiating is confidence. That is, having the confidence to negotiate at all.

Research data tells us that woman feel far less comfortable negotiating their own salary compared to men. Maybe that’s because women tend to prefer to work collaboratively, whereas men have that ‘let’s go on a hunt’ mentality.

But when negotiating contracts with suppliers, or terms with clients, we have found both men and women can struggle with the very idea of negotiating. Yes they like ideas and strategies, but could they actually say the words?

One way to develop confidece is in the choice of words used. Making things less potentially confrontational and more collaborative helps develop confidence when asking for something in a negoatiation. Simple changes like taking ‘I want…’ and making it ‘Can we look at…’ can make a big difference to confidence.

Strategies like summarising all the positives first, can also really help with confidence. So we’d say, ‘Let’s start by summarising all the things we agree on.’

Asking questions rather than making statements can also help with confidence in negotiating. So ‘I need…’ becomes, ‘Can we discuss…’.

Building rapport can also help. Taking time at the start to get to know the other people can help.

Understanding the context of the other person can also help, because this becomes a discussion rather than a confrontation. So we could say, ‘Before we get into the negoation in detail, it would be great to understand more about your role and your recent projects, then perhaps I could do the same.’

Working on confidence can be as crucial as planing your negotiating strategy.

How Practical is Fee Negotiation Training

Any training needs to be practical, but fee negotiation training has particular needs. Negotiating fees is a delicate matter for many lawyers, because they are far more comfortable talking and working on legal matters.

The discussion of their fees is something most would rather be handled by someone else, or just put in a letter of engagement, and preferably not discussed at all.

This means that training needs to be practixal in the sense that it needs to help lawyers not only with the tips and strategies of negotiating, but also the practical behavioural issues. That is, how do we say this and will I feel comfortable doing this.

ITD’s approach starts with the time to start discussing fees. The longer we leave a discussion the ppotentially harder it gets to discuss. It’s as bit like any procrastination. The first ITD tip is to start discussing fees at the very beginning. That means as part of the agenda of a first meeting. Putting fees on the agenda demonstrates to the client that you are confident about fees.

How fees are introduced at the first meeting is also crucial. We might start with, “We need to discuss fees, how they are structured, the link to value in your perception. It would be useful to discuss your experience of fees including how it has worked with previuous engagement with lawyers, what you liked and what you would have like to see improved. We can also cover payment on account and how this benefits the relationship…”

ITD’s approach to fee negotiation training is also based on the actual experineces and situations of participants. This means we take actual sitautions and challenges form lawyers in the room, and apply ideas, strategies and tips to these. We discuss different approaches to see whihc are most applicable for a particular lawyer in a specific parctice area. In this way lawyers get prcatical tips whihc they can use immediately after the training.

By giving practical tips and by tailoring to the firm and the lawyers in the room, our approach to fee negotiation training is very practical. As one client put it:

“The sessions were tailored to the firm’s specific needs and those of the practice areas; each workshop was delivered in collaboration with colleagues from the Finance Team in the firm. The training was very well received and we had very positive feedback from Partners and Senior Associates, with some immediate practical applications of the principles covered.”

Mark Zuckerberg – An example of the importance of Mirroring in what we wear

Mark Zuckerberg – An example of the importance of Mirroring in what we wear

When Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the Senate it was noticeable for a number of reasons. The first one that jumped out at me was what he was wearing. I’m not a follower of Mark Zuckerberg. I admire his achievements, how couldn’t I, but I don’t follow him on Facebook. I seem him in the media from time to time, but I have never seen him in a suit.

I thought he was part of the Silicon Valley elite who never wear a suit because they don’t have to. He wears jeans and casual shirts. He’s the boss, so he can do what he likes.



Yet there he was in a suit. And a tie!

Why did he do this?

I don’t know for sure, but my guess is that he got good advice. Facebook got it wrong over data. He made a mistake and maybe even underestimated the hole Facebook is in.

So either he knew or someone told him. He needed to avoid coming across as the cocky ‘we don’t care’ Silicon Valley billionaire. He needed to appear contrite and in listening mode. Yes we got it wrong, but we’ve listened and we’re putting it right. And by the way there’s no need to legislate.

Of course what really matters is what he says, but what he looks like matters too. And it did.

He looked professional, serious and most of all like one of them. That’s what mirroring is all about. Look like them and they will think you are one of them. And if you’re one of them surely you can’t be that bad, can you?

They might have expected the cocky billionaire, but what they got was the concerned CEO. Fortunately for Mark Zukenburg he was better prepared than the Senators. He was on top of the detail. And even better for him the Senator’s questions were naïve, amateurish and of very poor quality. So he got off lightly. It could have been a lot worse.

No comment on what Facebook have done and probably are doing. Just on the choice of clothes of their brilliant CEO.

Rhetorical Questions used in your presentation

What do managers do to set expectations

A Rhetorical question is one to which you do not require an answer, at least not out loud. They are a very useful technique in presenting. Why? Because they engage your audience and keep them involved without actually requiring them to talk.

Asking a rhetorical question makes your audience consider what the answer might be. It results in their minds searching for an answer.

Here’s an example; ‘What is the capital city of France?’

You’re thinking of Paris, correct? It’s hard not to. You don’t have to have said anything for me to know you’re thinking of the word if not the city of Paris. You’re involved.

Rhetorical Questions can be used in lots of ways

Here’s another example; ‘How many Cathedrals are there in Paris?’

You’re almost certainly searching for an answer. Chances are you don’t know the answer. So now you want me to tell you. You’re really engaged now. I’m going to tell you something you don’t know.

That’s the beauty of rhetorical questions. They get your audience involved.

They also work at rescuing you when you’ve forgotten where you are or what you’re going to say next. For example:

‘So where does that lead us to?’ Gives you the right to click the next slide. It gives you a millisecond whilst they search for the answer and you find it.

Oh and how many Cathedrals are there in Paris? I don’t know!

Eye Contact

eye contact

I often get asked about eye contact. One of the questions I’m asked is about when to have eye contact and when not to.

One of the critical moments to have eye contact is when you are trying to influence or advise. In other words when you want to make a point which you’d like your target to accept. We can evidence this by looking at what happens when we don’t have eye contact.

Eye contact training

In our professional business communication we do an exercise around this. The results are as consistent as they are profound. When another person is trying to persuade us without eye contact, it feels as though they are at least disingenuous and at most trying to mislead.

Eye contact is essential when trying to persuade. You don’t need to have eye contact all the time, in fact if we do it can be intimidating and even scary. No-one likes being starred at. So occasional eye contact is fine, but with the words of persuasion should come eye contact.

Who Moved My Cheese

Who Moved My Cheese? - Book Review

who moved my cheese

I’m not sure why it’s taken a while to review this fabulous book. First published in 1999, this is a must for anyone to understand the impact of change on us humans.

In essence it’s about four mice who find that the place where they normally find cheese, no longer has any cheese. Each of the characters reacts differently to the change.

It only take about an hour to read. You’ll hear people refer to this book when they say. “Oh, has someone moved your cheese?”

When you read it you can’t help reflect on your own attitude to change. And with that you’ll think about whether you need to work on that attitude. You instant reaction may well be different to your considered response, and this book help you work out your approach.