How to Start Your Slides More Smoothly In Zoom

Uh … I have a few slides to show you … just a second, where is that share button … okay, here we go. Just a sec, oh right, show from beginning. Here we go ….

Have you attended an online meeting where the presenter said at least some of that out loud? Or have you been that person? Having a little trouble futzing with the technology is perfectly understandable when you’re just getting started, but eventually you want to grow beyond that.

One technique I am working to perfect is to just speak for a moment or two (with my face on screen, rather than my slides). As I speak a specific line of my introduction, I start the slides without fumbling.

Here is what I have learned by trial and error.

Share dialog ready to go
  1. Put your slides in “presentation mode” ahead of time, before you actually share them. In PowerPoint, you go to the row of buttons under Slide Show and click “From Beginning.”
  2. Leave the slides warmed up and ready to go as you enter the Zoom meeting and await your turn to speak.
  3. As the time in the meeting for you to speak approaches, find the green Share button at the bottom of the screen and click on it. For the speaking technique I discuss above (just talk first, then add slides), you do not actually want to start the screen share yet — that will not happen until you click the blue Share button within the dialog box.
  4. With the screen control dialog displayed, select the screen that you want to share. The presentation mode view of your slides will be one of the options you can select. Leaving the dialog box open will block part of the screen Zoom screen (as shown above), but you can move it around as necessary to see what you need to see. (More important, you’re getting ready for your own time on camera).
  5. Begin speaking when you are introduced. Hover your mouse over that blue Share button. At the exact right moment in your speech, click the button in the dialog box. Your slides will appear on screen, and you can begin advancing through them.

You can skip or modify steps, depending on the nature of your speech. If you prefer to have your slides displayed from the beginning of when you start speaking, it still helps to have everything queued up and ready to go before you start speaking.

With a little modification, you ought to be able to apply the same basic concepts to presenting in other online meeting environments such as GoToMeeting or Microsoft Teams.

Getting Fancy

Note that if you select a specific application, such as your PowerPoint, but then switch to showing a web page or other application, the audience will still be seeing your original selection. If you are going to be switching between applications, it is better to select the full screen view. Just leave your slides, or whatever application you want the audience to see first, as the last application displayed before you entered Zoom. When you start screen sharing, the Zoom screen disappears (expect for the thumbnails and controls in the margin of the page), leaving the last application viewed as the subject of your screen share.

Keeping it Simple

While this is advice I don’t always follow, the “keep it simple, stupid” (KISS) principle is probably best, when possible. If you just take it step-by-step, the plan I outline above will help you be a little more of a smooth operator online.

Congratulations, Mini-Webinar Contest Winners Carol Prahinski, Norman Dowe & Viviana Widjaja

Webinar contest winners
Webinar contest winners

The results are in, and the victors in the 2nd Mini-Webinar contest at Online Presenters are:

#1 Carol Prahinski
#2 Norman Dowe
#3 Viviana Widjaja

In the same sense that an International Speech Contest speech is a kind of mini-keynote, these contest speeches are a compact version of an educational or sales webinar, including engagement with the audience in the form of answering questions submitted by text chat. Each speaker had 6-8 minutes for the total presentation, including Q&A.

See also How to Hold a Mini-Webinar Contest. This is an unofficial Toastmasters contest format aimed at testing specific skills that are relevant to online presentations.

Here is the winning presentation, “Negotiation Tactics” by Carol Prahinski (who also won our first event of this type in April)

To see it in context, check out the full replay

 

 

How to Hold a Mini-Webinar Contest

The Mini-Webinar Contest is an unofficial Toastmasters contest format developed by Online Presenters to test the skills required to host a webinar or deliver an online presentation. See the replay of our first contest and stay tuned for the next one. Other clubs that meet online, or allow online participation, may wish to adopt or modify this format.

If you think of the International Speech Contest as being a competition for who can deliver the best keynote in a compressed, 7-minute format, the mini-webinar contest is the equivalent for an online presentation where part of the speaker’s challenge is to address audience questions  and close with some sort of “call to action.”

webinar winners
Announcement of the winners at Online Presenters’ first mini-webinar contest.

How the Contest Is Organized

Speech Format: Speakers will be allowed 6-8 minutes. It is up to the speaker to decide how much of that time to spend responding to audience questions, but they will get points for audience engagement. Time spent on Q&A is included within the 6-8 minute time limit. Making a presentation plus Q&A work within this time is very challenging, but that’s what makes it a contest.

Contestants who speak for less than 5 minutes, 30 seconds, or more than 8 minutes, 30 seconds, will be disqualified.

Optional rule: The Timer should interrupt any speaker who goes past 9 minutes to keep the event as a whole on time. This is contrary to the standard rule that no signal should be given if a contestant is disqualified for time, but it may be necessary given that online speakers sometimes run over time for technical reasons such as losing track of the webcam image from the timer.

Everyone other than the speaker will be muted during the presentation, so questions will be submitted via the chat feature. If you are not competing, be sure to come ready to be a good audience with lively questions for our contestants.

A member is appointed to monitor the chat feed, and speakers have the option of asking the chat monitor to assist by relaying questions to them. Contestants are responsible for letting the chat monitor know whether they want assistance and, if so, whether to interrupt with questions during their presentation or save them until the end.

Speeches for this contest should also include some sort of call to action, whether it’s a sales pitch or an appeal to take some sort of political or moral or personal development action.

Voting Procedure

Consider using the online voting and vote counting app we developed for this contest, which is available as an independent tool (contest.toastmost.org) or as part of the WordPress for Toastmasters system. It’s important to have backup methods available in case the technology should fail, so make sure judges can contact the Chief Judge by email, phone, and other methods.

Judges who prefer a paper form can use this version: Mini-webinar contest scoring (Word document).

Webinar Contest Scoring

 Max score
Speech Development15
Audience Engagement15
Speech Value15
Call to Action15
Visual15
Voice10
Manner5
Appropriateness/Correctness10
  
  
Total Possible Score100

Speech Development is the way the speaker puts ideas together so the audience can understand them. The speech is structured around a purpose, and this structure must include an opening, body and conclusion. A good speech immedi­ately engages the audience’s attention and then moves forward toward a significant conclusion. This development of the speech structure is supported by relevant examples and illustrations, facts and figures, delivered with such smoothness that they blend into the framework of the speech to present the audience with a unified whole.

Audience Engagement is a score for how well the speaker responded to questions submitted via the chat. This includes how well the speaker managed the time management challenge of delivering their core presentation and still allowing time for questions, as well as the quality of the responses.

Speech Value justifies the act of speaking. The speaker has a responsibility to say something meaningful and original to the audience. The listeners should feel the speaker has made a contribution to their thinking. The ideas should be important ones, although this does not preclude a humorous presentation of them.

Call to Action is a clear statement of what the presenter wants the audience to do following the presentation – buy a product, vote in an election, or change their life in some way. How clear was the desired outcome?

Visual Presentation includes all the elements conveyed through video, including body language and the use of slides or other content shared onscreen.

Voice is the sound that carries the message. It should be flexible, moving from one pitch level to another for emphasis, and should have a variety of rate and volume. A good voice can be clearly heard and the words easily understood.

Manner is the indirect revelation of the speaker’s real self as the speech is delivered. The speaker should speak with enthu­siasm and assurance, showing interest in the audience and confidence in their reactions.

Combined in our scoring are: Appropriateness of language refers to the choice of words that relate to the speech purpose and to the particular audi­ence hearing the speech. Language should promote clear understanding of thoughts and should fit the occasion precisely. Correctness of language ensures that attention will be directed toward what the speaker says, not how it is said. Proper use of grammar and correct pronunciation will show that the speaker is the master of the words being used.

Toastmasters Webinar Contest on April 16

Online Presenters Toastmasters will hold a mini-webinar contest on April 16 at 7:30 pm EDT, and guests are welcome to register to attend.

This is not an official Toastmasters contest format (at least not yet) but rather an attempt to craft a contest specifically for the online medium. Scoring is based loosely on the International Speech Contest, but with additional points awarded for delivering a clear call to action and fielding audience questions submitted via chat — as in a professional webinar. We’ve also tweaked the scoring categories to accommodatie the different visual presentation in an online meeting.

Celebrity Judges

To add some “Dancing with the Stars” pizzaz, we have recruited 3 celebrity judges — professional speakers and webinar organizes who will be on hand to give our contestants feedback on their performances.

Roger Courville is an expert on online presentations who led one of our first workshop sessions

Sheryl Roush, a well known professional speaker (and coach to speakers) who also honored us with a workshop

Nick Cavalancia, Founder / Chief Techvangelist at Techvangelism, has delivered more than 1,000 webinars in his work as a technology marketer.

About Online Presenters

The Online Presenters club mission is to develop skills for better webinars and online events of all sorts. The club meets Mondays at 7:30 pm US Eastern time, with the first half hour reserved for informal meet-and-greet (plus technical troubleshooting) and the formal one-hour meeting starting at 8 pm. Guests are always welcome.

Image credit: Webinar by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images

How the Contest Will Be Organized

Speech Format: Speakers will be allowed 6-8 minutes. It’s up to the speaker to decide how much of that time to respond to audience questions, but they will get points for audience engagement.

Everyone other than the speaker will be muted during the presentation, so questions will be submitted via the chat feature. If you are not competing, be sure to come ready to be a good audience with lively questions for our contestants.

A member will be appointed to monitor the chat feed, and speakers have the option of asking the chat monitor to assist by relaying questions to them. Contestants are responsible for letting the chat monitor know whether you want assistance and, if so, whether to interrupt with questions during their presentation or save them until the end.

Speeches for this contest should also include some sort of call to action, whether it’s a sales pitch or an appeal to take some sort of political or moral or personal development action.

Webinar Contest Scoring

Max score
Speech Development 15
Audience Engagement 15
Speech Value 15
Call to Action 15
Visual 15
Voice 10
Manner 5
Appropriateness/Correctness 10
Total Possible Score 100

Speech Development is the way the speaker puts ideas together so the audience can understand them. The speech is structured around a purpose, and this structure must include an opening, body and conclusion. A good speech immedi­ately engages the audience’s attention and then moves forward toward a significant conclusion. This development of the speech structure is supported by relevant examples and illustrations, facts and figures, delivered with such smoothness that they blend into the framework of the speech to present the audience with a unified whole.

Audience Engagement is a score for how well the speaker responded to questions submitted via the chat. This includes how well the speaker managed the time management challenge of delivering their core presentation and still allowing time for questions, as well as the quality of the responses.

Speech Value justifies the act of speaking. The speaker has a responsibility to say something meaningful and original to the audience. The listeners should feel the speaker has made a contribution to their thinking. The ideas should be important ones, although this does not preclude a humorous presentation of them.

Call to Action is a clear statement of what the presenter wants the audience to do following the presentation – buy a product, vote in an election, or change their life in some way. How clear was the desired outcome?

Visual Presentation includes all the elements conveyed through video, including body language and the use of slides or other content shared onscreen.

Voice is the sound that carries the message. It should be flexible, moving from one pitch level to another for emphasis, and should have a variety of rate and volume. A good voice can be clearly heard and the words easily understood.

Manner is the indirect revelation of the speaker’s real self as the speech is delivered. The speaker should speak with enthu­siasm and assurance, showing interest in the audience and confidence in their reactions.

Combined in our scoring are: Appropriateness of language refers to the choice of words that relate to the speech purpose and to the particular audi­ence hearing the speech. Language should promote clear understanding of thoughts and should fit the occasion precisely. Correctness of language ensures that attention will be directed toward what the speaker says, not how it is said. Proper use of grammar and correct pronunciation will show that the speaker is the master of the words being used.

Replay: How to start an online Toastmasters club (panel discussion)

This panel discussion, moderated by Carole McCulloch of the Online Alliance, was hosted by Online Presenters with participation of leaders from other clubs. See below for links to each of the relevant websites.

Moderator: Carole McCulloch of the Online Alliance.

Panelists:

Larry Miller (Netizens)
Paul Finkelstein (Competitive Communicators)
Magda Van Rooyen (Ablaze Online)
Lorraine Taylor (Firebirds Collective)
Dawn Nocera (Advanced Toastmasters Online)
David Carr (Online Presenters)

You can learn more about the Online Alliance, which promotes education and best practices for online clubs at https://www.facebook.com/groups/OnlineClubsAlliance/

The video Lorraine Taylor mentions on club leadership collaboration with Trello is here.