The art of virtual presenting

Catherine Bailey Bar Marketing

Catherine Bailey, Managing Director at Bar Marketing

By Catherine Bailey, Managing Director at Legal Futures Associate Bar Marketing

One big casualty of the pandemic is face-to-face meetings, conferences, exhibitions and other events in the legal sector. While some ‘real’ forums have picked up again, others remain ‘virtual’.

You could argue that, although the format’s changed, many factors remain the same, these being your purpose, message, audience and outcomes. What is different in a major way between a physical audience sat in front of you and an online audience sat in their homes is their attention’s under threat.

Consider an auditorium audience. Everything is done to get their attention, from dim lighting to seats facing forward. Consider now a remote audience. There are distractions all around, from devices pinging notifications to washing waiting to be hung outside on the line. The priority, then, is defeating distraction.

Here we present seven tips for presenting virtually so that even an earthquake couldn’t distract your digital audience (exaggeration maybe; but you take our point):

  1. Be more pithy

Why drag out your presentation to half an hour if you can say what you need to in ten minutes? Keep your content concise and you’ll maintain your listeners’ engagement.


  1. Start with a bang

Begin with the good stuff. If you leave it until later, your audience may have zoned (or Zoomed!) out by then. You could challenge or provoke, ask a question, whatever. Just cut to the chase.


  1. Create a great slide deck

The devil is in the detail. Your members of your virtual audience have the screen right in front of them. It’s all that’s preventing them from tabbing across to another window. Show a decent level of content (more than you would if presenting in person) and display it in a visually appealing way.


  1. Unlock your inner DJ

Your voice and delivery are pivotal to a successful virtual presentation. Tap into your full vocal range – breadth and variety of your voice – and let your body loose. Your voice will reflect your body language so get active!


  1. Use silence wisely

Silence can be extremely powerful when used strategically in presentations. You can really emphasise a point. Pauses also give you a moment to reflect. But be careful: hold it for just the right amount of time for attention-keeping purposes; too long and you’ll lose track.


  1. Make eye contact

We realise there’s actually no eye contact in virtual delivery, however there is lens contact. By looking straight into your camera lens, you’ll be staring right out of your audience’s screens. To guarantee this personal connection, don’t read from notes. Instead, know where your story’s going next and simply lead the slides.


  1. Embrace the technology

Utilise the functionality within your virtual presentation platform to involve your audience, such as asking questions and launching polls. Get to grips with the tech side of things. Your audience (and outcomes!) will thank you for it.

Digital presenting does bring new challenges but they’re not insurmountable. You’ll find that, by adopting these techniques, your face-to-face presentations will improve as well.


Catherine Bailey is the Founder and Managing Director of Bar Marketing Limited, a dedicated legal industry marketing agency utilised by leading law firms, solicitors, sets and barristers across the world. She is also co-author, along with Jennet Ingram, of ‘A Practical Guide to Marketing for Lawyers’ by Law Brief Publishing, now in its 2nd edition.


Associate News is provided by Legal Futures Associates.
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