Your next Zoom presentation is a week away. And your mind is racing.
What presentation software should you use?
What if the other attendees can hear your neighbor’s loud music?
Will they find your presentation boring?
Relax and take a deep breath.
You don’t have to figure out the answers to these questions by yourself. This guide will cover everything you need to know about planning and delivering engaging Zoom presentations without stress and anxiety!
After reading this article, you’ll be brimming with confidence and competence on your next Zoom presentation.
Table of contents:
- The science behind your Zoom presentation anxiety
- Downloadable Zoom presentation checklist
- Part 1: Tips on how to plan and prepare for your Zoom presentation
- Part 2: Tips during your Zoom presentation
- How to share your Piktochart slide deck on Zoom
- Present with ease on Zoom using Piktochart presentations
The science behind your Zoom presentation anxiety
Before we get into all the other Zoom presentation tips, perhaps the most important is to deal with your Zoom presentation anxiety. And you’re not alone – anxiety over Zoom presentations is more common than you think.
A 2021 paper on why students have difficulties learning during synchronous presentations over Zoom found that 80 percent of the students polled experienced anxiety and trouble focusing during their virtual classes.
But what causes this worry? In a peer-reviewed article, Professor Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab, highlighted the results of their research and cited four primary reasons behind Zoom fatigue, stress, and anxiety:
- Your brain interprets excessive amounts of close-up eye contact during video chats as an “intense situation.”
- Like looking at the mirror, you become more critical of yourself as you see yourself on camera.
- Limited movements while you’re chained in your chair and table.
- Video chats require a higher cognitive load than face-to-face presentations.
Finally, you have to consider tech troubles and presentation software fiascos, as well as dealing with the pressure of public speaking.
15 Zoom presentation tips and tricks to help you own the room like a pro
Now that you understand why Zoom presentations give you sweaty palms, let’s go through 15 actionable steps to prepare for the slides.
We created a checklist of the Zoom presentation tips so you can cross off each task.
Prefer video learning instead? Watch the video below.
Part 1: Tips on how to plan and prepare for your Zoom presentation
The success of your Zoom presentation is the result of thoughtful planning and preparation.
Get ready for your online class, product webinar, or job interview on Zoom with the following pre-presentation tips:
1. Decide on the scope of your Zoom presentation
Before presenting on Zoom, ask yourself — what one particular idea or insight would you want your audience to learn from you?
Trying to cover every subject will only make you more nervous.
Remember the Stanford study earlier about too much cognitive load as one of the reasons behind Zoom presentation anxiety?
Limiting the scope of your presentation can significantly reduce your cognitive load while keeping your audience focused on the key points.
2. Plan for the structure of your online presentation
It’s important to master the structure and the sequence of your presentation as part of your preparation. Creating a framework guides the meeting participants so they understand what the data means, why it’s important, and what the implications are in this situation.
A solid structure in place also makes it easier to go back to what you’re saying. As a result, you will feel more confident because you can keep track of your talking points with a quick glance at your outline if you lose your train of thought.
Matt Abrahams, a lecturer in Organizational Behavior and author of Speaking Up Without Freaking Out, recommends the following examples of presentation structures that you can use:
- Past-Present-Future – review a process or share a timeline
- Comparison-Contrast – show the benefits of a certain idea, insight, product, or service
- Cause-Effect – explain the rationale behind a decision
- Problem-Solution-Benefit – motivate or convince your audience
- What?-So What?-Now What? – convince people to do a specific action after your presentation
Another simple presentation structure you can work on is to start with an introduction, the meat of your presentation where you can highlight 3 points, and wrap up with the summary and call-to-action.
3. Prepare your presentation visuals
Plenty of research and evidence shows that including images is more effective in getting your message across than written text or oral communications alone.
For instance, a captivating visual is four times more effective in conveying information than words alone. People remember 80 percent of what they see and do, compared to 20 percent through reading and 10 percent through hearing, respectively.
If your goal is to convince your audience during your Zoom presentation, you’ll also be delighted to know that using visuals can help you become more persuasive.
A Wharton School of Business research found that around a third of the audiences they polled felt that presenters who used visuals were more persuasive.
So remember that well-chosen images, even stock photos, can do wonders to augment your slides.
When making visuals for your presentation, use these questions as your guide:
- Is there an icon, illustration, or image that could represent your point in a more meaningful way?
- Will a timeline, flowchart, pie chart, arrows, graphs, or diagrams help get your point across to your audience?
- Who are my target audiences? When choosing visuals for my presentation, are there certain cultural taboos or inappropriate humor that I should be aware of?
One more thing – consider using bullet points if you find slides with walls of text. They’ll be easier to digest without taking the focus away from you.
Present with ease (and minus the stress!) with Piktochart.
You don’t have to worry about how your online presentations will look like. Piktochart’s easy-to-edit templates will take care of the visual aspect for you.Try Piktochart for free
4. Eliminate clutter in your surroundings
Staying in one place with no room to maneuver probably doesn’t spark joy for anyone. KonMari your environment by eliminating clutter on your desk and in the space around you. This means extra keyboards, unused notebooks, pens, food boxes, and books can go.
Eliminating clutter gives your brain the impression that there’s more room for you to move around during your Zoom event.
If the space you’re presenting in makes it difficult to clear off clutter, you could find a plain wall to present against. And if that’s not an option, you can use a clean virtual Zoom background. Keeping your surroundings out of sight means it’s out of mind for you and your audience; one less thing to worry about while presenting.
5. Do a tech prep
Presenting in Zoom while you’re at home or traveling is a technological wonder in itself. But technology can be frustrating at times too.
Spending some time optimizing your Zoom settings by clicking in the toolbar while you’re in a Zoom meeting. Under video settings, you’ll find a few options that can help with the visuals, such as focus assist.
Before your presentation, double-check the following:
- Make sure that your laptop, computer, lighting, headset, webcam, microphone, and internet connection are working. Have backup equipment if possible.
- Familiarize yourself with the Zoom app and other relevant software you’re going to use during the presentation.
- Close unnecessary browsers, applications, or software before the presentation. Turn off your laptop or desktop notifications. The goal is to optimize and speed up the device to have a smooth presentation.
- Prepare a PDF version of your presentation slides and have an extra copy of your presenter notes in case of technical mishaps with your slides. It also makes sense to have a short link to your presentation that you can share with the audience.
- Position your notes in the right spot so you know where to find them while presenting.
- Check Zoom settings and do a quick audio and video check.
6. Rehearse your presentation
After taking care of your surroundings and equipment, the next step is to prepare yourself.
Practicing your Zoom presentation in advance can help boost your confidence. Here are some tips to help you rehearse well for your presentation:
- Screen record yourself. Afterward, check your recorded video for technical issues, your body language, and whether or not your voice is audible or not.
- Practice with a family member or friend who can give feedback on any distracting nonverbal communication habits like too many hand gestures.
- Rehearse in the same room where you’ll be presenting. Use the same lighting, computer setup, and everything.
- Practice speaking to the camera, not your computer screen.
If you’re not used to face-to-face presentations, you could record your presentation and watch it back. I know, I know – it can feel so uncomfortable watching yourself. But a quick analysis will reveal if you use too many hand gestures, that can be distracting, and also if you need to reposition your camera so it shows your upper body while presenting.
Part 2: Tips during your Zoom presentation
The time has come for presentation day! You already know the ins and outs of your presentation, and you’ve practiced your Zoom presentation skills to a T. A couple of checks you can do before you start are:
- Make sure you’re in a quiet area to minimize any potential interruptions.
- Do a test call with a friend to check the internet connection and if you’ll stay connected.
Take note of the following tips and hacks to make your Zoom presentation engaging and anxiety-free during your webinar or talk:
7. Dress the part
Wear clothes that are appropriate for your presentation and audience. It also helps to be more mindful of your accessories and hairstyle. The outfits and accessories you wear during your Zoom meeting will speak volumes about you as a person.
For example, if you’re presenting to your coworkers, wear work clothes. If you’re pitching to a group of angel investors, wearing a tie can help convey that you’re serious and trustworthy. However, this may not be a good idea if you’re presenting to a group that is more open to change and tends to be more relaxed when it comes to conventional standards.
Another benefit of dressing the part is what you wear actually impacts how you think. Wearing formal clothes can improve abstract thinking and give you a broader sense of perspective, which is influential in helping you make better decisions.
8. Ditch the chair
Standing up when presenting in Zoom rather than sitting down helps you become more confident because you’re not hunched down on your chair.
Standing straight with your shoulders back also enables you to breathe easily, making your voice sound more powerful and confident. Finally, it allows you to move more and make explanatory gestures which is a charisma boost.
The more confident you appear in your presentation, the more confident you’re likely to feel.
If you can’t stand up during your presentation, try to sit straight in your chair and back up your camera a little to show your upper body and not just your face.
9. Have a memorable introduction
National best-selling author and founder at Science of People Vanessa Van Edwards specifically recommends opening your presentation with IISSAAQQ to make it more memorable.
IISSAAQQ stands for:
- Short story
- Statistic or surprising fact
- Analogy or metaphor
Bonus points if you can weave in humor with some background information with a relevant fact. Research found that more popular talks used humor 12.92 times, whereas less popular talks used humor only 3.92 times on average.
You don’t have to force a joke – humor could just be a play on words or surprising the audience with a funny image or meme that contrasts with a statement. Nothing breaks the ice better than laughter.
10. Look your audience in the eye (or rather your webcam)
Looking your audience in the eye is easier during face-to presentations than Zoom presentations. It can be a little tricky during online meetings because we tend to look at people’s faces on the computer screen. Maintain eye contact by looking into your webcam.
You could treat the camera as if you were doing a face-to-face presentation. This way, it’ll be a bit simpler to hold eye contact with your audience when you’re not looking at your notes.
11. Think happy thoughts
Find ways to boost your mood before your presentation. Aside from helping you feel good (which in turn can boost your confidence), you’re also likely to smile often with happy thoughts.
When you smile at your audience, they will also likely “mirror” your action and think happy thoughts.
When you’re having a good time and sharing enthusiasm with your audience, they’ll reciprocate through their nonverbal communication. This means fewer folded arms and blank stares and more nodding along and smiles.
12. Delegate the chatbox
Have someone else take care of Zoom chat or manage the waiting room to keep you from being distracted. This person could be the meeting host, a colleague, or someone you trust who has your back during your presentation.
13. Engage your audience
A boring presentation is when there’s no interaction, and you’re being spoken at (hello, university lectures). You’ll be able to tell from everyone’s body language in the meeting room.
Make your presentation a two-way street. Here are some ways to encourage interaction and participation amongst your audience during your Zoom meetings:
- Ask questions. For example, if you’re presenting a team productivity software in Zoom, ask your audience about their top productivity problems at work. You can also use this time as an opportunity to transition to your next presentation slide.
- If you have a small audience, remember each person’s name and address them using their first names.
- Use visuals like illustrations, infographics, or a short video clip in your slide show. Tool recommendation: Use Piktochart Video to transform a long video into short clips.
- Use interactive quizzes while presenting online to change the pace and keep your audience engaged.
14. Talk like a human and avoid too much jargon
Alright, what does talking like a human mean in Zoom presentations?
For a start, avoid talking too much jargon and corporate speak. It makes you more relatable, keep your audience’s attention longer because your points will be easier to understand, and also helps you stand out from other presenters.
Just because you’re presenting in virtual meetings doesn’t mean you’re not talking to people. The only difference is you’re sharing your presentation in front of your camera instead of in front of the lecture room.
Next, improve your visual storytelling skills. Your presentation will be more memorable if you briefly share a story and pair it with visuals.
Sign up for our free visual storytelling course. Check out the teaser video below.
15. Slow down
When you’re anxious and not too confident about your Zoom presentation, you’ll tend to speak fast, which in turn will make you more nervous. It’s a vicious cycle.
When presenting in Zoom, be mindful of your pace. Slowing down will not only take the edge off your nerves but also make you appear more confident.
Don’t be scared of pauses or gaps between your statements. Sometimes, you might need a sip of water to hydrate your throat. Other times, you could use the pauses as extra emphasis to drive key points.
Slowing down and changing up your talking pace will help you deliver an impactful presentation because you’ll have more control and be better able to drive the point home.
5 presentation examples and templates
To make presenting your Zoom presentation easy, here are some Zoom templates and examples for inspiration.
Have a big meeting coming up where you need to share sales performance and revenue figures? We’ve got you covered with this template.
It’s equipped with graphs where you can easily drop your revenue figures in and share performance with customizable graphs. There are also template slides for customer feedback and if your team is planning to introduce new processes.
This marketing strategy slide deck is perfect if you’re onboarding a new client and want to walk them through your research, analysis, and proposed actions.
Presenting your collaborative project in a Zoom meeting to your classmates? Take the worry off so you can focus on sharing the results by using this science group project template.
Despite the name, you can use it for any kind of school or university project because the structure works for any type of research presentation. The template has slides for:
- Group introduction
- Your hypothesis/basis for the project
- Your theory
- How you tested the theory
- Key takeaways
The customer buying journey is always evolving, and you might need to present a case study to leadership or your team on recent findings. Our template makes it simple to share your customer’s story, as the template has slides for:
- The customer profile
- Personal insights
Team update in the all-hands meeting
It’s common for managers, or project leads to update the company with their results in company meetings. In these cases, you might just need a single slide to share your progress.
This work breakdown structure template does the job, giving you space to share what your team’s objectives were, what the key results were, who was involved, and what the shipping date was for these goals.
How to share your Piktochart slide deck on Zoom
Step 1: On the Piktochart editor, click Share to get the link to your presentation.
By default, your presentation is not publicly visible.
Step 2: Copy and paste the link into your browser bar. Then, click the Show Presentation button. This will launch in fullscreen presentation mode, and now you’re ready to shine.
Step 3: Click Share Screen on your Zoom account and choose the browser with the Piktochart link.
For a visual demonstration, watch the short tutorial below with detailed instructions.
Ready to deliver your presentation?
That’s it for our Zoom presentation tips; now over to you.
You have a brilliant idea or insight to present, and you need to share them with your audience in your next Zoom presentation. It’s high time you nail it with the virtual presentation tips we outlined in this guide.