In the last newsletter I shared how meetings in the future will be different and shared links to my videos and guide that review some of the challenges and solutions. These ideas were quoted in an article in Canada’s national business newspaper and led to a radio interview last week.

Presenters need to prepare for this new reality, including meetings that have a significant proportion of virtual attendees. In this newsletter I want to help you build your skills at using virtual meeting platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. I’ve been creating resources to help presenters use these platforms more effectively. Today I want to share some resources on options for showing PowerPoint slides, making sure your meeting doesn’t get interrupted by technology, and creating and using a custom background.

Many presenters are not aware that they have options when presenting PowerPoint slides in Teams or Zoom. I recently created videos and articles that explain the options and show you what the attendees see with each option. The Teams video has over 13,000 views and the article has hundreds of viewers a day from Google searches because this is such a relevant topic now with so many organizations implementing and using Teams. The Zoom video and article are starting to take off as well. If you are just using the “share entire screen” option, check out the other options you have in these videos and articles.

Before you start your virtual meeting, make sure you follow my checklist on how to have an interruption free meeting. It is amazing how many meetings get interrupted by notifications on the presenter’s screen. This can be embarrassing for the presenter. Even worse is when an update starts to run and ends the meeting when it restarts the presenter’s computer. I follow my own checklist and twice in the past three weeks I’ve had an update to Office and Windows that needed to be run when I checked. Glad I got that done a couple of hours before the meeting!

Backgrounds behind people’s image in video meetings have been an area of focus. In fact there are twitter accounts that rate the bookshelves behind speakers. Both Teams and Zoom allow you to use blurred or custom backgrounds behind you. They use AI technology to discern what part of the screen is you and what is the background. They aren’t perfect but often do a pretty good job. Teams recently introduced custom backgrounds and I wrote an article on how you can use PowerPoint to create and use a custom background in Teams.

Since virtual attendees will be a part of many meetings in the future, take some time now to use the resources in this newsletter to improve your skills at using popular platforms like Teams and Zoom.

I'm offering courses to train presenters how to effectively present using Teams and Zoom (you can get a preview of some of the ways I engage participants in this video). If there is a topic you'd like to see me cover or write about in the newsletter, please let me know.