Probably like you, until this year I had never Zoomed before. However, through research, conversations, contemplation and the ever not-so-popular trial and error, I’ve created four simple tips to help you make your next virtual presentation the best one you have ever done.

Just think about RIBS – Relevant, Interactive, Brief, Simple:


The late Steve Jobs said that in every presentation, each audience member has only one question: “Why should I care?” Presentations must be relevant to your audience. And that means knowing your audiences’ goals, challenges and concerns. Neglecting to tailor your message is like sending a love letter and addressing it, “To Whom it May Concern.”

This is especially important for virtual presentations. If you don’t make it relevant and personal, you have no chance at all for them to pay attention. None.

With this in mind, the two words that you need to use more than any others are you and your. Use statements such as: “what this means to you and your organization is,” “this is important to you because,” and “I am telling you this because.” Making it relevant narrows your focus and creates clarity. Humans crave clarity, and a confused mind will not act.


The more active your audience, the more enjoyable and productive your session will be. Have the participants participate: Ask questions, get them to write things down, raise their hands if they agree and use chat and breakout rooms. By keeping people engaged, it is far less likely that they will get on their phone or look out the window.


Shorter is better because it forces you to deliver a focused message. A brief, concise and targeted message that quickly generates interest will stick with your audience.

There are numerous articles written about Zoom fatigue: Have you noticed that being part of a Zoom call is more tiring than being at a conference or in a training session? It’s imperative that your presentation be as brief as possible. Anything longer than 45 minutes is really going to be tough on your audience: aim for 20 to 30 minutes.


 As Albert Einstein said: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Your message needs to be clear and concise. Short and simple sticks. Complexity confuses. Your visuals must also be simple because they are there to support and enhance your message, not duplicate it. All too often, presenters put a plethora of information, data and statistics on their slides and then read them to their audience—a very boring waste of time. What makes your message stick is not quantity, but quality. And quality, in virtual presentations, equates with simplicity.

by Doug Carter, shared courtesy of Ignite Magazine, originally published in the February 2021 issue,

Presentation skills consultant Doug Carter works with forward-thinking business people to make their virtual and in-person presentations more memorable, engaging and effective.

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