7 Tips for Giving Better Online Presentations and Keynote Addresses

7 Tips for Giving Better Online Presentations and Keynote Addresses

With most associations taking both their routine meetings and their major events online lately, it can be challenging to give the kind of presentation or keynote address you would in person. Fear not, here are seven ways you can improve your presentations even when they’re happening in cyberspace.


Select the Right Platform

Your first consideration should be which platform to use. Unless you are locked into a specific app, take a look around and see which one serves your meeting best. While Zoom winds up being the default delivery method in many cases, there are other alternatives, such as Google Meet, GoToMeeting, and JoinMe. If you are hosting an annual event for your association, spring for the paid version of the platform and take advantage of its extras.


Make Graphics Easy to Read

You want to give your attendees something to look at during any presentation. If they’re not looking at the speaker, there should be accompanying graphics. An appropriate photo montage is fine if you don’t have slides. And if you are using slides, keep them simple and easy to read.

Use graphs and charts, and resist the temptation to cram too much information into every slide. When giving a very fact-dense talk, offer to send attendees the slides and resources before or after, so they can simply listen to the presentation.


Consider Hiring Pros

Depending on the size of your audience and the importance of the presentation, you may want to hire some professionals to assist you. Technical advisors can set everything up and test it in advance for you. A moderator can keep an eye on the chat and help field questions, so the speaker can focus on presenting.


Solicit Questions in Advance

To help make the moderator’s job easier, solicit questions in advance when you send out invitations to your presentation. You can work some answers into your presentation itself, especially if you have multiple people asking about the same thing. The rest can kick off a Q&A session at the end, which is always a little harder to do online.

Be sure to ask participants to either flag typed questions or use a separate question box (versus general chat), so their inquiries don’t get lost in a sea of chatter. If you unmute participants at the end for verbal questions, remember that many online platforms make it difficult for more than one person to speak at a time and be heard, unlike a phone conference call. A savvy moderator can help people queue to ask their respective questions.


Learn from Other Presentations

Take some time to observe other presentations by watching your colleagues in action or attending open presentations given by competitor associations. Make note of what worked well and what flopped, so you can plan your presentation accordingly. Study everything from how the invitations were issued to how the session concluded, as each element contributes to the overall impression formed by attendees.


Don’t Abandon Everything from In-Person Presentations

While you will certainly have to change some things from giving a regular in-person presentation, you don’t want to abandon everything. For example, many talks need a story at the beginning to grab listeners’ attention and help them bond with a speaker. A compelling tale also helps make any meeting memorable.

Just because you’re speaking in front of a computer or mobile device doesn’t mean you need to sit. You’ll project your voice better and feel more like you’re giving an actual presentation if you stand, even if it’s all alone in the middle of your living room at home.



It’s tempting to wing it when speaking online, as the setting feels so much less formal. But you should practice an online presentation as much if not more than one you’d give in person. It can feel odd giving a donor pitch or keynote address without an audience in front of you. There’s no way to “read the room,” and you don’t have the energy of other people to feed off. Rehearse your talk, but don’t get so locked into a stage-like delivery that you can’t react with aplomb if you have a sudden technical malfunction or the moderator interrupts with an urgent question.

Need more help organizing meetings and events for your association? Jaffe Management is here to assist you. Reach out today to let us know how we can help your association meetings be a resounding success every time.