Training written on Chalkboard

Linked: You Can’t Wing Virtual Instruction

I would slightly disagree with David’s headline here, I don’t believe you should “wing” any instruction, but I digress.

What is true is that there are very few people who’ve done online instruction, especially with video on, often enough to have reached the same point that some of us might have been with in-person presentations, where we maybe need less practice:

“One thing that experience teaches us is that we may not need to prepare as long and as hard as when we were new to a skill. I know that I used to spend hours more preparing an in-person presentation than I do now. This is particularly true if I am not trying to get information down, and am only working on delivery.


In a virtual environment, you may have a lot more going on than in a conference room. A 25-person virtual meeting – with 25 little faces – is not the same as speaking to a conference room of 25 people. The delivery method is different (no need to project in the same way, for one). Your ability to gauge reaction may be a lot harder. You are going to have to work harder to read the room.”

I suspect there are a lot of speakers who have simply switched their cameras on and started doing speaking gigs remotely, just like they did before. I’m also not sure that those who have done that are doing a very good job of it.

As David says, it IS different. The expectations have changed. How we react to the audience is different; how they react to us is different. How many other things people are doing while listening to you is different. Most people sit at an in-person event, looking at your slides, and occasionally peeking at their phones. In an online event, they are 100% looking at multiple displays; some even walk around their office with a wireless headset. They are eating and drinking, they are using the technology to chat with each other and the speaker, and they expect the speaker to be reading the chat as well, or at least have someone monitoring it so that questions that come up are responded to. If you want them to watch what is happening in the presentation, you’d better do a lot more than read your slides.

A LOT more. So, David is correct. You shouldn’t even need to read the slides. You should have your content down so that you can do everything else that an online presentation offers.

Anyone can read slides. That’s not the skill that makes a good presenter.

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