5 Ways to Master Your VLE (Virtual Learning Environment)
In 2020, in-person presentations became a thing of the past and organizations quickly adopted the concept of presenting virtually. Whether you are just starting to grow your presentation skillset or have decades of presenting experience, virtual presentations require a new edge of technological savvy and presenter sophistication. With the New Year upon us, and the importance of virtual meetings only increasing, here are five strategies to help you plan your next virtual presentation.
1. Know Your VLE (Virtual Learning Environment)
There are various VLE platforms available to choose from when presenting virtually. Know how to interact with your VLE of choice, both from an administrative perspective and as an attendee. As the host of the presentation, you must understand how to lead your presentation effectively, but you should also be able to assist with troubleshooting issues that arise from participants. You will have an edge if you are the expert in the “virtual” room!
2. Prepare and Practice
Just like you would prepare before an in-person presentation, practice your presentation with a teammate or colleague in the chosen VLE. Make sure the computer and VLE audio and video settings are set up correctly and/or ensure your headset device is charged. Double check your computer has enough battery, and practice sharing your presentation materials with participants. If you have a second computer monitor, connect it to your main desktop screen. Then, add the presentation/demonstration materials to the second monitor to ensure that IMs, emails, and other distractions are not visible when presenting.
3. Set the Stage
Block off your calendar a half hour before the meeting to avoid any preceding meetings from running over. If you are leading the virtual presentation, be sure to join the call five to ten minutes prior to start time and set up your voice and audio accordingly. Once attendees begin joining, let them know what your expectations are for the meeting by including a housekeeping slide at the beginning of the presentation. Include instructions for the participants, i.e., please stay muted unless you have a question during the presentation, please hold questions until the end, etc. Set expectation early on so your virtual presentation can run as smoothly as possible.
4. Don’t be Camera Shy
As the presenter, it is important to turn your camera on. Encourage participants to also turn their cameras on when they are speaking. Although we are connecting less frequently in-person, we can still preserve face-to-face interactions during virtual meetings by using the camera technology. However, if there are many attendees on your virtual meeting, note that bandwidth may become limited.
5. Encourage Interaction and Participation
We have all at one point been guilty of not paying enough attention when attending a virtual presentation. To decrease inattention and boost engagement, build in points of interaction throughout the presentation. Depending on what VLE your presentation is held, you may have greater ability to engage with the attendees on a virtual meeting. Some VLEs allow the host to launch polls and give attendees the option to “raise their hand” during the presentation. Most VLEs provide a chat functionality, which can be a great way to manage questions and comments from the participants and gauge participation.
As you embark on future virtual presentations, remember these five strategies in order to make the experience for you and your participants as engaging and seamless as possible.
Before you go, check out our similar blog post on converting in-person training to virtual delivery.