The world's most charismatic speakers have one thing in common - they can relate to people.
Think Oprah Winfrey, Sir Richard Branson, Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama. They are compelling story tellers who know how to connect with their audience.
There are lessons to be learned for virtual leaders - you may not be face-to-face with the attendees of your web conference but that does not mean you cannot convey your message in a way they can understand and relate to.
The power of story telling
The key to engaging people is framing your presentation like a story. This is the technique most TED talk speakers use.
"A successful talk is a little miracle - people see the world differently afterward."
In fact,TED curator Chris Anderson says the first step to delivering a captivating message is finding an interesting way of framing it.
"A successful talk is a little miracle - people see the world differently afterward," he wrote in a June 2013 HBR blog post.
Author, writer, speaker and CEO Nancy Duarte advocates finding the right mix of reporting facts and figures and a story to deliver an effective presentation. While it may seem easy to hide behind hard data and facts in a web conference, remember you do not want to bore the attendees at the other end - after all, that would defeat the purpose.
"Great presenters layer story and information like a cake, and understand that different types of talks require differing ingredients," she advises in the HBR Guide to Building Your Business Case.
As a presenter located in a different geographical location, or perhaps even in another time zone, the only chance you have of connecting with your team is to have an effective web conference.
Here are three ways to make sure you make a stellar presentation to your virtual team:
1. What is your delivery plan?
Once you have decided what you will say and how you will frame it in an interesting way, consider how to convey it. You could write it down and read word for word, but that may sound unnatural. A better approach would be to jot down key points and then join the dots in a conversational manner. Remember to stop every so often and ask the participants for feedback.
2. Use multimedia wisely
A web conference lends itself well to visual aids. Use them sparingly to achieve the right mix of direct engagement and presentation tools
3. Wrap up early if you can
The idea of a virtual meeting is to create an experience that makes everyone feel connected. Plan your meeting so there are 15-20 minutes at the end to have a casual discussion about the points discussed.