Virtual Presentations that Sizzle

Having attended countless online or virtual conferences (most of which I forgot immediately afterwards), I have compiled some cool tips to help you make your presentations sizzle. Well, at least these tips will make it more memorable.

Background design

  • Use a design to add visual interest but that doesn’t overwhelm your content
  • A busy design will distract your audience
  • Format the text and use keywords

Where do your eyes go first as you look at the examples below?

1Sizzling Virtual Presentations-Better 1Sizzling Virtual Presentations-Busy 1Sizzling Virtual Presentations Bland

The slide with the solid white background is boring and tells your audience it’s snooze time. Add at least a color to the background. The example with lots of grass is too busy and gives a cluttered impression. The pale green one features the title all on one line and adds a pop of color for visual appeal. However, the subtitle is too small.

When the slide has a lot of words on it what do you do?

You read the slide. If you’re reading you’re not listening to the presenter. A good rule to follow is the 6 by 6 rule.

  • No more than six bullet points and
  • No more than six words per bullet
  • Use keywords to jog your memory
  • Allow for plenty of white space or blank areas on the slide
  • Your audience will have to listen to you to know what these bullets mean

1visual crime   1Bullets 1visual elements clip art

Make it interactive

What do you do when the teleconference leader just talk and doesn’t involve you in a discussion?

The worst teleconferences I have ever attended were led by people who droned on and on. They did not involve the audience in the content. Within the first few seconds, I launched email or other project and began multi-tasking. I would tune back in to the monologue if it sounded like the speaker finally hit upon a topic of interest. I’m fairly certain the other people on the call were doing the same thing.


To avoid this unidirectional approach, add slides that pose a question to your audience. If time allows, involve them with chat or the visual aids available in most online conferencing tools.

I will add more ideas in future posts.

Caryn Colgan


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