Presenting Blendidly

30 Mar 2022

We were delighted to welcome back the fantastic Tessa Morton to our Agency seminar programme this month to discuss the challenges of presenting with impact in ‘hybrid’ times. We’re equally as delighted to share Tessa’s top tips from the session with you here.

Presenting your work, managing meetings and briefing teams has always been a cause of stress and for over 30 years, I have supported speakers in business feeling more confident and compelling through coaching and workshops. It’s always been a challenge to feel natural and convincing at the same time as remembering lines and knowing what to do with your hands. Then we had lock down, presenting from bedrooms and kitchen tables, with blurred backgrounds and slippers. Over the last 2 years we have become accustomed to looking at faces in windows and talking in chat boxes. Going forward with blended/hybrid working there is a new challenge that I am being asked to support. “How do we manage the meeting when half the audience are remote and the other half in the office?”

As of today, I have not come up with the definitive answer as there is not one. However, like with any communication dynamic, there are some key things you need to consider:

  • Planning is very important
  • Do you have the tech capacity to link the two audiences?
  • Do you have a good facilitator to direct and manage the session?
  • Rehearsal is more important than ever before
  • Make sure all attendees have access to the handouts/takeaways
  • Work out how the attendees will communicate with each other during the session and let them know then ‘rules of engagement’
  • Unlike pre lockdown meetings where rooms were set up by others and tech was efficient, do not expect to walk into a meeting ready to go. More time should be given to prepping the meeting spaces, live and virtual
  • Watch what others do and steal what you find effective. If you see good tech, ask them what they are using
  • Ask for feedback on the effectiveness of your meeting so you can get a perspective on the audience effect

We are all in a learning process so use the experiences of everyday meetings to practice and get better at this.

If you are on the virtual platform, make sure you are still following the virtual etiquette of:

  • Sitting square in the window
  • Using the light to your advantage
  • Making your points land with impact
  • Managing the chat box and break outs rooms with ease

If you are delivering in the live space, you need to consider the needs of both audiences:

  • Can everyone see you and hear you?
  • Stage manage your room so you are in the best position possible and so are the screen attendees (each room will be different)
  • Regular check-ins during the meeting to get feedback on engagement helps you adjust as you go to suit everyone
  • Have a deputy who is in the virtual space with the other attendees so they can manage the breakout rooms and chat box for you and feedback at the end whether the experience worked and how to improve it going forward

Note: You will need energy to run these meetings and bring everyone together. Breathe well to manage your adrenaline and take your time.

Tessa Morton has been delivering presentations and pitch training to the industry for over 30 years. Her clients include AMV, JWT, TMW, ENGINE, EASYJET, JUST EAT, AUDI, BARCLAYS, ITV, CO-OP and she has been running seminars for AAR for over 12 years. Her background is in TV/Radio presenting, acting, teaching and coaching. In the last year, she has been helping her clients switch to virtual platforms; not just dealing with the challenges of Wi-Fi connection but also the challenge of human connection.

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