Knockin’ on the client’s door or Effective remote presentation

The most important elements:

– The information perception efficiency in remote mode is reduced by 40-50% compared to personal communication, but the remote communication stays with us for a long time (90% of company executives are of the same opinion), so something needs to be done.

– The most effective way to increase the productivity of telecommuting is to provide eye contact. The presence of the presenter in the frame increases the success rate by 127%.

– Non-verbal signals have the greatest influence on the audience (55% of the effect), followed by the degree of importance – abstract sound signals (tone, timbre of voice, intonation of speech) and in last place, (7%) verbal information (spoken words).

– Videos can be an additional factor in helping to assimilate information, since they are much more convincing than text or just a voice presentation. Visual images also help perception – graphs, diagrams and other accompanying illustrations (but they should be as visual as possible, not requiring deep interpretation).

– You will have 30-60 seconds to captivate the audience with your presentation, so at the beginning of the presentation you should use a few of the most powerful slides.

Interesting? Then let’s get down to the details.

Man is a social being. Direct communication and effective exchange of personal experience is one of the most important factors that have given our species an evolutionary advantage. In a broad sense, the situation has not changed much over the past several hundred thousand years – despite the abundance of modern means of communication, face-to-face dialogue or a lecturer’s speech in front of an audience in a hall always       provides a better understanding and assimilation of information than remote communication. There are a number of scientific works on this topic. One of the most recent studies conducted in 2020, that is, at the height of a pandemic, showed that, for example, in conditions of distance learning the effectiveness of information perception decreases by an average of 40-50% (regardless of the gender of the subjects).

“Remote work” – the new reality

On the other hand, it is not yet clear how long the pandemic and the accompanying quarantine restrictions will last, necessarily, remote lectures, remote presentations, webinars and other “digital” tools will remain a priority in business communication for a long time. For example, a recent study by McKinsey & Company reports that 90% of B2B decision-makers expect to maintain the current remote sales model in the long term, while 75% of respondents believe that such a model is the same (or even more) effective than the methods of interaction that were traditional before the pandemic. Moreover, according to the same study, only 20% of business customers prefer to communicate with representatives of the selling company in person, and this situation is predicted to continue even after the end of the coronavirus crisis. This means that companies need to continue to look for ways to increase audience engagement in the remote interaction process, bringing it as close as possible to real communication.

Don’t turn off the camera

The easiest and most effective way to do this is through eye contact. If we are talking about the commercial sphere, for example, about the sale of products, or even more so projects, through online platforms the presence of the speaker in the frame radically increases the likelihood of success. For example, statistics show that when a seller has a webcam turned on, the likelihood of a successful deal more than doubles (127%) compared to blind sales. If the buyer’s camera is also turned on , this indicator increases even more.

Why is the difference so significant? The point is in the peculiarities of human perception. So, according to Albert Mehrabian, Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California Los Angeles, who is one of the world’s largest experts in the field of interpersonal communication, verbal information (that is, directly spoken words) accounts for only 7% of the total effect produced on the audience…But as much as 38% is given by abstract sound signals – tone, timbre of voice, and intonation of speech. But, the greatest influence on the audience (55%) is provided by non-verbal signals – motor skills, facial expressions, gestures, etc.

In other words, if a speech or presentation is not supported by video sequence, then their effectiveness is more than halved.  So, the use of video communication in the process of remote communication is the best alternative to talking face-to-face with potential clients. Visual contact allows all participants in the process to catch, on the conscious and subconscious levels, the smallest non-verbal signals of the interlocutors. For a potential client, this  results in increased confidence in the speaker, for a salesperson, it is a way to capture the mood of the audience (which in some cases will make it possible to alter their presentation  in real time).


Shoot videos and more

Videos can be an additional factor in helping to assimilate information, as they are much more convincing than just text or a voice message. This phenomenon is convincingly supported, for example, by the results of a study conducted by the wyzwol company, which showed that in 2021, 87% of marketers noted a positive ROI after using video in advertising campaigns, while in 2015 there were only 33%.

In a broader sense, this fact can be applied to any means of communication, including public speaking and remote presentations. In addition, a number of studies show that if, when reading the text of a presentation, a person assimilates on average 10% of the information that the speaker would like to convey to them, then in the case of a video, this figure reaches 95%. This fact is largely due to human physiology: the transmission capacity of vision is 100 times higher than that of hearing. What’s more, according to HubSpot, 72% of customers prefer to learn about a product or service through video. And according to Forbes, 65% of CEOs visited the target site and 39% called the company on the phone after watching a marketing video.

At the same time, it is optimal that the duration of the video does not exceed a minute, otherwise there is a risk of losing the listeners’ attention.

Of course, video isn’t the only way to make your presentation more engaging to the listener. All kinds of illustrations are a good means of retaining attention. Their selection and the logic of their application is an art form. But, if we briefly summarize the experience of professionals, then the main thing is that the illustrations are as clear as possible, understandable to the target audience at an intuitive level. As a rule, no one is ready to stare at aslide to understand the nuances – any graphic or text information should only help the listener not to miss important points. The same applies to charts, graphs, and tables – show only the most important parameters, it is better to explain the details by voice.

Struggle for attention

Not every message works equally effectively – an important nuance of perception lies in the fact that the ability of the human brain to process specific images is much higher than the mental processing of abstract information, which means that the idea embedded in a slide or video should be as clear, concrete and concise as possible.

Even if the speech does not contain a video, remember that with the help of voice you can also achieve good results of perception, but for this the presentation must be framed so that its text does not ‘speak’ everything for the speaker (otherwise the target audience will read more than listen).Instead, the presentation should be used as a basis and reason to start a conversation,

At the same time, practice shows that any audience is ready to spend on presentation no more than a minute of their time (depending on various factors, this value fluctuates in the 30-60 second range) and if during this period the listeners were not able to captivate, then the rest of the  performance will fail to capture their attention. This applies to any type of information – text, visual, voice – in either a personal or remote format.

An analysis of the well-known Slideshare platform, which is actively used by tens of millions of people around the world, convincingly shows that the best presentations posted there (those that received the largest number of views), as a rule, have several (3-5, rarely more) ‘ catchy’ slides at the beginning, which broadly cover the subject area, its significance, scale (sometimes it can even be customer reviews), and only then is there a transition to the consideration of a specific product or solution.


Working remotely will be with us for a long time, perhaps forever, which means that it is necessary to adapt all business tools to this mode as much as possible, including methods of delivering information to the client.

People are best able to perceive visual information, which means that webcams should be turned on, and videos should be part of any presentation that claims to be effective and attract potential customers.

You will have no more than a minute to captivate the audience with your presentation, so at the beginning of the presentation you need to use 3-5 of the most powerful, ‘catchy’ slides.

It is not enough just to send a presentation to potential clients – it must be at least well-voiced, at the most, enhanced with visuals or elements of interactivity. It is also highly desirable to be able to interact directly with the audience – via video and audio communication or chat, in order to maximize the effect of the presentation.

Human reaching out to a robot inside a phone
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Human reaching out to a robot inside a phone
You have read the original article. It is also available in other languages.

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