Running a smooth meeting with a distributed team can be a challenge. Though meetings provide invaluable time for collaboration, presenters should consider how their audience is affected by virtual meeting fatigue and plan accordingly (Ramachandran, 2021).
The following tips can help you make the most of their time while presenting.
Consider your audience and your purpose in speaking.
As you prepare your presentation, ensure you adopt an audience-centered perspective. Are you speaking to a general audience of people across teams? Will this presentation be delivered to a specific team that shares the same knowledge base?
Answering these questions and adapting your approach will benefit your audience. Your purpose in speaking, whether to inform your team members or to persuade them toward a certain course of action, should also guide your preparation for the presentation. A solid goal is to make the information you share as meaningful as possible to your audience.
Keep it simple.
Though it may seem that a large quantity of information may help your listeners, people can only process a limited amount at once. Additionally, video chats impose a higher cognitive load than face-to-face communication. Here are some specific methods to reduce this load for your audience:
- Show your concern for your audience by focusing on a main idea. Avoid any information that doesn’t directly relate.
- Be selective in what you cover on any given topic during the meeting.
- Say your points in the simplest way possible without compromising the meaning of the information.
- If you are using slides, use limited text and include only the most important information.
By enacting these strategies during your presentation, you can prompt the listener to focus on you (rather than reading the slides) and ease their cognitive load for better retention.
Stick to the time limit and practice.
Be respectful of your audience and other presenters by sticking to the time limit if one has been set. If not, try to plan out a reasonable amount of time (no longer than 10 minutes) for your presentation.
Practicing what you are going to say can help you stay within the time limit. Speaking aloud can also help you consider whether you are conveying information in a concise and clear manner. If you find yourself over time when you practice, refocus on your main objective and build what you want to say from there.
Speaking for your audience and presenting clearly will make a noticeable difference in listener engagement. Determining how your information relates to your listeners and adjusting your presentation strategy accordingly are important speaking skills. Though virtual meeting fatigue is here to stay, by focusing on your audience, you can be sure you aren’t putting your colleagues to sleep.
Ramachandran, V. (2021, February 23). Four causes for ‘Zoom fatigue’ and their solutions. Stanford News. https://news.stanford.edu/2021/02/23/four-causes-zoom-fatigue-solutions/.