Presentations at in-person meetings shouldn’t go back to the way they were before

Now that many business professionals are returning to the office, more meetings will have everyone in a meeting room like in the past. I don’t think this should mean that presentations go back to the way they were before: the presenter standing at the front of the room beside the screen.

The lessons we learned from virtual presenting should be brought into the room to make in-person meeting presentations better than they were in the past.

Standing beside the screen that is 6-10 feet away from your laptop on the table doesn’t allow you to use any content other than slides. You can only click through the slides.

During the time of virtual presenting we learned that access to the keyboard allows us to give so much more to the audience. We can make the presentation more effective when we:

  • Use the expert features of PowerPoint Presenter View to be able to quickly jump to any slide when the audience needs us to, annotate the slides live, or zoom in to show a diagram or image larger (articles for Windows and for Mac).
  • Include clips from YouTube videos in a clean browser window so we play only the section that we want and we can include closed captions (article and video).
  • Take the audience on a tour of a PDF document like a brochure or spec sheet and annotate it live (video).
  • Customize an example using inputs from the audience so a model or calculation is specific to their situation (article).

All of these ways to engage the audience involve the presenter accessing their laptop during the presentation. This is easier to do when you sit at the end of the table close to the screen so people can see you and the shared content easily.

Don’t go back to the way things were before for presentations in meeting rooms. Improve the presentation for everyone by sitting at the end of the table with your laptop ready to incorporate content other than slides so the audience is engaged and the presentation is more effective.

By Dave Paradi

Dave Paradi has over twenty-two years of experience delivering customized training workshops to help business professionals improve their presentations. He has written ten books and over 600 articles on the topic of effective presentations and his ideas have appeared in publications around the world. His focus is on helping corporate professionals visually communicate the messages in their data so they don't overwhelm and confuse executives. Dave is one of fewer than ten people in North America recognized by Microsoft with the Most Valuable Professional Award for his contributions to the Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams communities. His articles and videos on virtual presenting have been viewed over 4.8 million times and liked over 17,000 times on YouTube.