Virtual Presentation Skills – Going from Passive to Interactive (Reinvent DON’T Recreate)

Virtual Presentation Skills – Going from Passive to Interactive (Reinvent DON’T Recreate)

No matter what you call it “pivoting to virtual” or “forced to work from home on video,” the one thing that won’t work is merely doing the SAME thing we do offline just virtually!

That is what causes content shock and adds noise to the already noisy world. We can all think of painful recent examples where a 60-minute zoom calls with one person talking into the camera puts us to sleep. The webinar that shares slides in full screen with a robotic voice speaking to us as though we can’t read what’s on the slides ourselves.

Here’s the thing…

I don’t believe virtual will replace what we do offline!

But I believe that by reinventing how we think about virtual and what a virtual experience is, we will discover new opportunities and experiences we never knew were possible.

One of my most popular talks over the years is titled: “Limitations Inspire Creativity,” which is especially true in this current environment.

What we can’t do is combine offline limitations with the new limitations we are presented within the virtual world.

The reason most virtual presentations suck and many fail when making this transition to virtual is they don’t reinvent; they repurpose. They create based on the old limitations and then blame the new for not being as good or the right path to the future.

  • Virtual experiences require a paradigm shift embracing a 360° perspective of what’s possible, rethinking everything from:
  • How we share our knowledge?
  • What format do we deliver our message?
  • How long do you require the audience’s attention?
  • What visually is best to convey the emotion and impression we desire?

Virtual experiences aren’t about having multiple cameras, or 3D avatars or interactive overlays flying across the screen.

It’s about discovering what is possible in the virtual world and reshaping the experiences we create to capture, maintain, and scale TRUST with today’s hyper-connected virtual audience.

Find more Virtual Presentation Resources on these pages:

How I’m telling stories in my presentations with Prezi Video Interactive on video overlays

The live streaming tool I went all in with in 2020 to live stream to Facebook Live, YouTube and Linkedin Live

Virtual Experience Media Hub and Resources

4 Immersive Virtual Presentation Styles to Create with Prezi Video

4 Immersive Virtual Presentation Styles to Create with Prezi Video

I’m a big believer that Limitations Inspire Creativity

Created with Adobe Spark highlighting my Prezi Video Presentations

Forty-three days ago, I “googled upon” Prezi video, and although I had used Prezi in the past (2016 last logged in) I hadn’t heard about them launching a video tool in late 2019.

I tweeted them:

Since that tweet, I’ve delivered 18 virtual presentations and created 25+ videos using Prezi Video. On top of that, I also have another 6 Prezi Next templates in the “design brainstorm phase.”

The only limitations with virtual presentations are within our creative minds!

The feedback after each presentation has been fantastic, but I’ve also appreciated the access I’ve had with the Prezi Team. I’ve had multiple calls with the co-founder, the head of the video product, VP of Strategic Partnerships, and other members of the team to share feedback and have a better understanding of the use cases and roadmaps of Prezi Video.

Below are 4 of types of dynamic presentations I’ve given using Prezi Video.

But honestly, the most exciting part has been exposing Prezi Video to friends, executive clients, and fellow virtual speakers and seeing the unique ways they are leveraging it for their presentations, video meetings, and virtual keynote presentations.

If you are still working on the strategy for your next virtual event make sure to check out this post on what it takes to create a successful virtual event.

1. Customized hologram overlays with a shaded background

Customized a Prezi Next presentation and then converted it to Prezi Video as the video becomes the background.  This can be used to create the desired emotional connection needed to maintain audience attention and drive interactivity within virtual events.

2. Branded speaker program transparent overlays

Custom graphics and overlays for Brian’s Press The Damn Button Virtual Keynote Program.  As speakers, it’s important to stand out from the noise, be memorable but also demonstrate the high quality and value you provide with each virtual presentation.  This is a great way to do just that!  This screengrab is from the Socio Hackathon you can watch the replay and read the recap here.

3. Sponsored overlays with brand colors

Zoom presentation live-streamed to Facebook Live using overlays and interviews.  This is one of the 3 main types of video content needed when building a dynamic virtual event. You can watch the replay on Adobe Sparks Facebook Live Page!

4. Video templated graphics replacing webinar slides

Created from a Prezi Video Template much easier to customize and adapt for a virtual video presentation.  This can be done with pre-recorded, produced, and even live streaming video content.   When thinking about live streaming it’s important to go beyond the average Facebook live.  This screen capture is from Kerwin Rae’s K2 Business Accelerator event and you can watch it here.

Why Prezi Video?

For me what excites me the most about Prezi Video for virtual presentations as you aren’t limited to standard templates or just video overlays as you can leverage all of the Prezi Next catalog or even create your own from scratch.

The advanced editing functionality has really allowed me to up my game and the virtual cam connecting directly to Zoom, GoToWebinar, Facebook Live and every other platform I’ve presented on virtually makes Prezi the number 1 tool in my virtual presenting toolbox.

I’m sharing all this not to get you to try Prezi instead to open your mind to what’s possible as you never know what you might “google upon” if you are determined to shift the perspective and transform the way you share your message virtually. 

If you want to see how I created one of these Prezi Video presentations I did a walkthrough using eCamm Live directly after a virtual event hackathon for Socio where I shared the steps and mindset I leveraged here:

I’m such a fan that I’ve signed up as a reseller and created a landing page that I will update after each presentation with tips, tricks, and lessons learned with Prezi over at

Ps. I’ll be sharing more info over the next couple of weeks around the reseller partnership and services that we are working on together… In the meantime, feel free to send me an email if you want to jump in and give Prezi Video a try!

Live Streaming Your Virtual Event: 9 Questions to Ask Before Committing

Live Streaming Your Virtual Event: 9 Questions to Ask Before Committing

Live streaming video has exploded during these times much like it did in 2014 but what is it’s role in virtual events and how do we know when to use it versus pre-recorded video.

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Live streaming took the world by storm in 2015, and I for one was a major fan! I helped deploy live streaming initiatives for companies like IBM, the Superbowl and SAP. For a while, live streaming was my go-to strategy.

In the video above Brian uses Prezi Video to go live on Facebook Live. Brian answers the 9 most popular questions being asked around live streaming video and its role in virtual events in 2020.

As conferences move from offline to online they are looking for ways to create true virtual experiences and Brian believes live video is essential. But you might be surprised by some of these answers as there are many use cases where Brian doesn’t believe live video should be utilized.

Looking to create a successful virtual experience beyond just live video read “How to create a successful virtual event in 2020!”

The top 9 questions I get asked about live streaming for virtual events:

  1. Should all virtual events be on live video?
  2. Why should we #PressTheDamnButton with live video?
  3. When should we not use live video?
  4. Which platform is best for live video?
  5. When should a virtual event include: live video vs produced vs pre-recorded?
  6. How do I combine produced video with live video to maintain audience attention?
  7. How can we use live video to promote a virtual event before and after?
  8. How do we get the audience to interact and ask questions during the live stream?
  9. What should we do to limit the risk involved with live streaming on the day of the event?

1. Should all virtual events be on live video?

No, the entire event should never be fully live video. But yes, all virtual events should include live video segments before, during and after the event!

2. Why should we #PressTheDamnButton with live video?

  • Live video is participatory content
  • It shrinks the distance between the event and audience
  • There’s no better way to build trust or convey authenticity
  • Empowers the audience to help shape the direction of content and feel a part of the event
Home Studio Online Summit Keynote Speaker

3. When should we NOT use live video?

  • Live video will never replace production video and the power of editing can transform an average presentation into a great one.
  • If there isn’t a plan for active engagement or the presenter won’t see or adapt to the live conversation, live only adds complications. All of the moving pieces aren’t worth it if you are not going to live to its greatest ability.
  • When you want to have a unified look or controlled audio and video settings, live is not the way to go.
  • If you need more than one take or you’re doing a demo or you’re going aspects beyond the presentation might malfunction.

4. Which platform is best for live video?

  • There’s no one platform that is better than any other.
  • You must first determine what success looks like for your live video. Ask, who you are trying to reach? What format & style do you plan on creating? (Interview or mobile or vertical)
  • Understand the benefits and risks of streaming to multiple platforms at once
  • Have a plan to manage comments, questions and the live audience on the channels you are streaming.

5. When should a virtual event include: Live Video vs produced vs pre-recorded

  • Live Video: Providing access and leveraging the participatory component of the video!
  • Produced: Telling a story that must go beyond the presenter’s words and slides through things like b-roll, sound effects and story format.
  • Pre-Recorded: When you want to control and manage the audio, video and length of the video while doing multiple takes. Also if you want to add closed captions and mitigate risks involved with live video.

6: How do I combine produced video with live video to maintain audience attention?

  • Manage expectations at the start
  • Be Transparent with what aspects of the virtual event will be recorded vs live
  • If the speaker will be doing Q&A after a produced video tease that before and during the produced video session
  • Leverage live video before a produced video to add context and take questions teasing what is to come in the produced video
  • Balance the desire to have evergreen videos with live to provide the FOMO and excitement available beyond the produced videos you can watch later!

7. How can we use live video to promote a virtual event before and after?

  • AMA
  • Launch party
  • Q&A  with speakers 
  • Behind the scenes planning
  • Giveaways and contests
  • Influencer collaborations
  • Preview of the day
  • Daily Recap
  • Key takeaways to create FOMO for those that didn’t attend
  • Updates and changes to schedule or expectations 
  • Speaker access
  • Episodic shows

8: How do we get the audience to interact and ask questions during the live stream?

  • Teach & provide examples
  • Reminders and recommendations 
  • Seeded questions to influencers and ambassadors
  • Giveaways 
  • On video acknowledgment 
  • Ask direct questions with multiple types of answers
  • Focus on open-ended & personal over choices or true & false 
  • Empathetic connections more WE than Me
  • Crowdsource ideas and direction of content
  • Celebrate those that do comment 

9. What should we do to limit the risk involved with live streaming on the day of the event?

  • Create backup plans but don’t plan to fail
  • Create swim lanes & live video expectations rather than rules
  • Create pre-recorded filler videos as a backup
  • Allow the host freedom to stretch things out with direct communication with the host
  • Test, Test and Test and know that something will go wrong
  • Bandwidth, lighting and audio will be top priorities create best practices 
  • Use kit or standard equipment to limit variables
  • Leverage remote producers beyond the live video talent
  • Teach presenter to roll with the punches rather than expecting it to go as tested
  • Tweak, Test, Tweak again, Repeat

As we continue to push the boundaries of what we can do with virtual experiences I’ve enjoyed testing new solutions for presenting and interacting with the audience.

As you see in this video I used PreziVideo which is a new tool that allows you to create a template for your video then either record it or live stream it to Zoom replacing stale slides.

I enjoy disrupting and testing new tools and as I do I will be sharing all of the insights, links and use cases on my Virtual Event Resources page.

Looking for more on live streaming and how it should be leveraged with virtual events? Watch this video!