Monday, October 26, 2009

How does the H1N1 national emergency affect presentations?

This weekend the H1N1 influenza virus was declared a national emergency in the U.S. The pandemic is progressing and the government is taking more action to help stop it getting worse. How does this affect presentations? I have a past experience that can give insight into one potentially large impact this could have. I live close to Toronto, and a few years ago, we went through the SARS crisis here. The impact on presentations of all kinds was dramatic. Organizations could not risk entire offices being sick or quarantined, so they forbid in-person meetings where any travel, even down the street, was involved. Thousands of presentations were cancelled overnight.

It is quite possible that during this latest crises that involves person-to-person transmission of an illness, that in-person presentations will be cancelled due to the risk of having people in close proximity in a room. Whether you feel that this is an appropriate response or not, we must deal with this real impact on our presentations. What many organizations are, or will be, doing is starting to use web meeting services to conduct presentations where each person attends by watching the presentation on their own computer screen. Services like WebEx, GoToMeeting, Live Meeting and many others have grown in recent years partly due to this issue.

So is it as simple as firing up the service and running your PowerPoint slides just like you would if everyone was in the room with you? No, it is not that simple. In a virtual presentation, attendees don’t have a fear of being caught surfing the web or checking e-mail because you can’t see them. You need to design your presentation to be more engaging and interactive than you would for an in-person meeting. There are also some features of PowerPoint that work fine in a conference room that don’t work well through one of the web services. If you haven’t done web presentations yet, you need to know how to create and deliver an effective web presentation.

That’s why I worked hard over the weekend to create and record a 53 minute video training program that shows you what you need to know to create and deliver effective web presentations through WebEx, GoToMeeting, Live Meeting or any other service you are using. I cover when a web meeting is appropriate & when it is not, what equipment you’ll need, how to select the features of a service that will help make your presentation effective, how to plan and design your presentation to keep audience interest and work well through the web service system, and how to prepare for and deliver a great web presentation. You can purchase and download your copy of the video at Here is a preview of the program.

In addition to learning how to create and deliver an effective web presentation, you’ll see how I engage the viewer on this video with regularly changing visuals – one of the techniques you’ll need to use in order to keep your audiences engaged when delivering web presentations. To get your copy of the video, go to


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