With the rise of the online and hybrid forms of investor communications, as an IRO, you will most likely find yourself having to present at video conferences. To help you with what might be a new venture for you, we have put together a list of essential video conference presentation tips that ensure an engaging and informative experience for your audience.
Presenting online vs. in-person
Presenting a video conference differs in many ways from presenting at an in-person event, where you might already feel comfortable. Here are some of the main differences:
|In-person event||Online event|
|You can see how many people are in attendance.||You might not be able to see how many people are watching. This could lead to discomfort and nervousness due to the ‘fear of the unknown’.|
|You can gauge reactions easily from the behaviour of the audience in the room.||The online audience is likely to be muted, meaning you do not always know how they are reacting to what you are saying.|
|Body language is important.||People see less of your body, so your voice is key to imparting your message.|
|There are very few distractions to prevent your audience from focusing on what you are saying and etiquette encourages audience members to refrain from performing other tasks.||You need to engage the audience more, as online attendees have many potential distractions. These can include activities happening in their house, answering emails, checking social media and even online shopping.|
Video Conferencing Etiquette
As there is an etiquette for in-person meetings, so there is online. Following these three tips will help ensure a professional approach to your investor engagement.
Put yourself on mute when not talking
If you have to pass the floor to other speakers during your video conference, ensure you mute yourself when the other presenters are talking. You might think you can stay quiet, but there is nothing more distracting than those tiny throat clearances, the typing from your keyboard if you are making notes and the general background noise of your home, office or wherever else you are working from.
It usually takes a single tap of a button to mute yourself during a video conference. Just remember to unmute yourself before you continue with your presentation.
Even if you are hosting the event from your home, it is a business function and investors will want to feel it is professional. The way you present yourself in the call is representative of your company in the eyes of attendees, so make sure you are dressed as you would be to meet shareholders in person during your regular investor outreach.
Start on time
It is true that your attendees might log in from their desks, where they would have been working from anyway. However, that is not an excuse to keep them waiting. As you would endeavour to start an in-person meeting on time, you should also do the same with a video conference.
Your attendees will have set aside the time to join your meeting, so it is up to you to respect that and make sure they are not sitting and staring at a blank screen when they could be working.
Video Conference Preparation Tips
Much of the success of a video conference depends on the preparation you put in ahead of time. These video conference preparation tips will help you set yourself up for a successful event.
Choose the proper software and hardware
If you are hosting the conference from your office, you will likely already have access to most of the conferencing hardware that you need. For IROs who broadcast from home, you must make sure you have the essentials in advance.
Hosting a video conference requires a strong, secure internet connection and a computer capable of handling the streaming. You also need a webcam, and you want to make sure that the picture it creates is as clear and stable as possible.
In terms of video conferencing software, you should find a dedicated solution, which has added features for easy engagement and is simple for attendees to use when they encounter it for the first time. Company Webcast provides these features and also offers insights and analytics for you after the event to help you hone your IR endeavours.
Ensure your technology works correctly
Before you meet with investors and potential shareholders at a virtual conference, you should make sure that the technology works and you understand how to operate it.
You don’t want to have to delay the meeting because you cannot get the session to go live, and you don’t want to be worrying about which button to press next when you are trying to present.
Run through the technical tasks beforehand in the same with colleagues as mock attendees and guests to make sure everything runs smoothly. You should ensure your technical test happens in the same environment and with the same equipment that you will use on the day. That way, you know that it will work as desired.
Send an agenda before the meeting
One key element of meeting preparation is to send out the agenda in advance. This helps to keep the conference on track and lets attendees know what to expect from the proceedings.
An agenda can keep investors engaged with your video presentation, as they know what is coming up and when. This helps cut through the distractions that many of them face wherever they have joined from.
Craft a story
Another tip for increased engagement is to tell a story with your presentation. When everyone is gathered in the same room, device-free and all facing the presenter, it is natural for them to sit and listen, but that is not always the case with remote attendees. This is why you have to work on other methods to keep them interested.
The Harvard Business Review reported on the engaging and influential power of stories, as proven in multiple research projects and case studies. Rather than writing an informative but dry speech, try to encase your point in a narrative that will take the audience on a journey with you.
Your equity story can serve as a solid foundation upon which to build your argument. If you are unclear about it or haven’t created one yet, we strongly recommend prioritising this, as it hugely benefits your investor communications as an issuer. In case you need help drafting a captivating equity story for your business, you can reach out to the experts at Euronext Corporate Services Post-Listing Advisory.
Keep slides visual and minimal
If you are creating a slide presentation for your audience, make it more visually appealing, rather than plastering it with text. Too much writing can be distracting from what you are trying to say, whereas an image or a table can enhance your presentation and help you communicate your points more clearly. Use your voice to convey the message and the slides to back up your arguments without taking the attention away from what you are doing.
Warm up your voice beforehand
Your voice and intonation is key to portraying your message during your virtual conference. As you would warm up your body before physical exercise, you should also warm up your voice so that it is ready for a presentation session. There are many different vocal warm-ups that you can practice to make sure you are ready to go once the presentation begins.
Having a glass of water close at hand is another great tip for helping maintain the quality and consistency of your delivery. It is easy to get a dry throat from using your voice so much, as well as from nerves. A glass of water nearby offers peace of mind that you can remedy the situation if it happens.
Carry out a dress rehearsal
In addition to testing out the technical aspects of your presentation, you should also run through the agenda at least once before you do so in front of investors. This allows you to feel more comfortable with your script and the transitions involved in the conference. You can also use colleagues to pose as investors and ask questions to allow you to practice your answers.
Video Conference Presentation Tips
When it comes to presenting at the event itself, here are some tips to help you make the most of the opportunity.
Look into the camera
Eye contact is essential when meeting with associates, and you have a great opportunity to do just that on a video conference. Many people make the mistake of watching the video on the screen as they speak, but the problem with that is that to viewers, you are looking away from them. This can seem distracted and aloof. If you look at the camera at eye level as you talk, your attendees see you looking directly at them with the equivalent of eye contact. This is much more engaging.
Know your slides
Knowing which slides you will present and when keeps the momentum of the presentation going. If you have to stop and look at them to spur your memories, this will cause uncomfortable pauses and take away some of the professionalism that you have worked hard to achieve.
Engage your audience with your voice
Your voice is a powerful tool when it comes to engaging your remote audience. Vary how you talk to match your message, emphasising the positives with excitement and delivering important messages with gravitas. Adjusting your energy levels keeps people focused on what you are talking about and helps prevent it from becoming audio wallpaper.
Practise reading your script to understand the peaks and troughs of the story that you are telling. This will make it easier to work out when you need to add expressions and how to deliver the message in the most enticing way possible.
Other tricks include speaking slowly when you have important information to impart, as well as enunciating so that your audience fully understands. Pauses can also be powerful tools in your arsenal, adding emphasis to what you are saying.
Encourage audience participation with a Q&A
With the potential distractions of an online event, you need to engage your audience throughout. Running polls, as well as question and answer sessions, are perfect ways to keep them involved with the topic at hand. It also provides handy research data for you to log and consider when looking at your investor relations strategy going forwards.
With Company Webcast, these interactive tools are available to you on the platform, helping you to make your video conference an engaging and immersive experience.
How do you engage the audience in a virtual presentation?
Engagement in video presentations comes in many forms and shapes. From how you speak to the interactive features you add to the presentation and how you use images and slides, there are many ways to grab the attention of your audience and to get them to listen and participate.
What are some of the challenges you need to consider when presenting in an online environment?
One of the biggest challenges when presenting online is that you are not the only party demanding your audience’s attention. You have to work as hard as you can to take them away from the many distractions around them and have them focus on your presentation. Whether it is background noise or children running around, you have to maintain their attention.
How do you introduce yourself and group members in an online presentation?
The audience will have a copy of the agenda, so they will be able to find out more information about you and the other speakers. A simple introduction including names and positions will suffice unless there is a detail that your audience really needs to know about a presenter.
There are some challenges to hosting a video meeting or conference presentation over a live, in-person event. We hope this blog has shown you how to overcome them to provide an engaging and successful event. Video presentations are here to stay, given the rise in hybrid working in recent years, so we should all prepare for a future where we have to become comfortable with them.
To take your video conferences and virtual presentations to the next level, request a demo of Company Webcast today.