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5 ways to improve your public speaking when presenting from home

Getting ready to make a work presentation from home in light of COVID-19?

You will come off more polished if you follow these five tips to improve your public speaking.

1. Think

People right now are being bombarded with urgent messages from everywhere. Don’t waste their time. Think about what you want and need to say, and what your audience wants and needs to hear. Then boil it down once. Twice. Three times. (If you planned for a 20-minute presentation, can you get it done in 10?)

2. Organize

Once you have clear, concise messages in your presentation, put them in a logical order. Don’t make your online audience sit through disorganized ramblings – because they won’t. They need to 1) hear and understand you and 2) quickly get on to what’s next. Respect that.

3. Present in a room with a closed door

Forget the kitchen table or the dining room. Select a room in your home with a closed door that’s far away from everyone else who’s stuck at home with you. This will allow you to focus on what you are saying, avoid a surprise interruption (from barking Fido or your teenager who needs a snack) and cut down on any background noise that will obscure your message.

4. Look at your camera

Too many people look somewhere else on their screen and not at their camera when they present online. (Think about it: If your eyes are looking down or off to the side and not at the camera, you appear disinterested, disengaged or sleepy.) Take a moment to reposition yourself by adjusting your chair height, your device and your camera angle. Looking at the camera automatically gives you the eye contact you need to be genuine, connect with your online audience and hold their attention.

5. Take 5 and rehearse

Before you present, take 5 minutes to record yourself in your newly adjusted position and then review how you can improve. Five minutes is all you need to see and fix distractions such as annoying personal habits (remember: you shouldn’t be touching your face anyway) or environmental interferences (glare from windows or overhead lighting).

Following these quick tips will not only make you more polished but also boost your confidence – and confidence is key if you want to improve your public speaking when presenting from home.


Published on 3/19/20.