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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Kane

How to overcome "Zoom fatigue"​ as a presenter and keep attendees engaged

Originally published on LinkedIn on 1/11/2021

You've probably seen an article or two about "Zoom fatigue" over the past 9 months or so. I find the subject particularly fascinating, and I noticed that the majority of the articles/opinions are focused on the attendees. Solutions range from "attend less meetings" to "block your schedule so people can schedule less meetings".

In short, most experts recommend that you avoid Zoom meetings. They blame the software, they blame the hardware, and they blame the attendee for allowing themselves to be overscheduled.

So what do we do as presenters when our attendees are being encouraged to stop attending meetings? Is it exclusively the medium that drains the audience, or is it possible that we aren't as engaging as we thought?

I love a good opportunity - and this "remote meeting overload" presents an opportunity for all of us to level up our presentations skills. If we can connect with folks through webcams, headsets and screens, we can connect to an audience in any room, anywhere!

Make "eye" contact Webcam placement is really important to engage with your meeting attendees - if your webcam is on Monitor 2 but you're presenting material from Monitor 1, your webcam is in the wrong place! You will end up looking like this:

Just like with a "real" audience, you need to make eye contact! This is a tough thing to get used to, but it will increase your audience attention and engagement. Tip: Rehearse your presentation thoroughly ahead of time so you don't feel tied to your slides or your notes (I do like to put a little post-it next to my camera with essential reminders though).

Encourage interactivity In a live situation I like to encourage questions and comments throughout my presentation - with remote attendees you can use the features built-into the software to help with that. Polls, chats, and "reactions" are useful tools to keep your audience involved.

Tip: It's hard to monitor a chat, maintain eye contact with the camera, and also remember what you're talking about. Have a colleague or co-presenter help you! They can respond to chats and also highlight top questions or comments aloud during the presentation.

Be mindful of time Don't keep your attendees longer than the expected meeting duration. If they are excited and engaged, it's ok to say "I'll stick around and keep the meeting open for another 15 minutes for questions, but for those that have to go (insert your killer wrap-up here)" to allow people to leave without feeling weird about it.

Finally, make sure you send a follow-up via email with links to your resources, handouts, and other "next steps" to keep the momentum going!

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