Virtual Presentations and Webinars: Patti’s Tips on How to Be a Great Speaker

Before I jump into the tips to create that kick-butt first-rate virtual presentation, I’ll take a little detour. Here at HealthEconomics.Com, we have created the first and only virtual environment specifically for the health economics and outcomes research audience, and we call it HE-Xpo®. I invite you to visit this link, register (for free), and take a look around.  And of course, join us on December 11, 2014 from 8am-5pm for an incredible virtual Summit entitled Real World Evidence:  Practical Strategies for Addressing the Needs of Multiple Stakeholders.  Register here and we’ll see you there! No travel required.  And it’s free, so no credit card required either. How cool is that?


Now, onto the Tips for Virtual Presentations…

Patti's Tips for 1st Rate, Kick-Butt Virtual Presentations.

It’s a sign of the times, this movement to virtually-delivered summits, meeting, and events.  Welcome to the future!  You’re a trend-setter if you’ve attended one of these, and most certainly if you’ve presented in this virtual environment.  But this translation to the virtual world is not a natural one for many of us. Even if you’ve presented in dozens of webinars, delivering a presentation in a Virtual Arena is even more challenging, because there are so many more things competing for attention – the Exhibit Hall, Chat with Attendees, Social Media Lounge, web surfing, email, and more.  But, if you’re prepared, YOU will be the one they pay attention to!  So, please review these tips and suggestions to help you to powerfully engage a virtual audience and deliver a clear, credible, and compelling message in a virtual venue.


  • Tell a Story and be Audience-Centric! Help your audience see THEMSELVES in your story, address what they care about, and need.  Don’t know how to tell a story?  Use S-C-I-P-A-B, from Mandel Set the Situation (their current state of business), Identify their Complication, show the Implication for failing to act, state your own Position (i.e., Opinion) about what to do, and lay out an Action for what listeners should do, then tell them the Benefit.  Then repeat it at the end, to sum it all up.
  • Relate to the overall theme of the Conference.  Don’t be an island unto yourself..help the audience know why you’re there in terms of merging with the rest of the speakers and theme.
  • Add Color Spots – planned interactions and engagements with your audience. Approximately every 5 minutes, include polls, questions asking for feedback using the IM chat, invite audience members to “meet you in the virtual Lounge” after the presentation to dialogue, and tweet to you (provide your Twitter handle, and the hashtag for the event)
  • Use pictures. Use animation!  (But not too much of either; this isn’t a Warner Brothers cartoon!) 
  • Use Sound-Bites to summarize key points on your slide: 3 is good; 6 is too many. Don’t write in complete sentences unless it’s a quote.
  • Your slide title is your headline for the entire slide. Use it; it’s precious space!
  • Create robust speaker notes (and stick to it! If you’re composed, it’s much easier to listen to you if we can’t see you.) Then, practice.
  • Less is more. Provide additional slides or detail as back-up materials only.
  • Reference the Speaker before and after you. Contact them and have a conversation prior to the meeting, if at all possible.
  • Don’t sell from the stage, neither you, your company, your products, your children, or your used car! 🙂 (You can, of course, mention your company/products/publications, but strike that perfect balance, ok?)
  • Reminders about the Virtual Environment: Include a slide (or tell the Attendees) to:
    • Visit the Exhibit Hall and come into your company’s virtual booth (if you have one) to interact more with you and other employees of your company
    • Visit the Learning Center to download relevant documents directly into their Briefcase (accessible by clicking on the bottom navigation bar)
    • Visit the Lounge and engage with you after your presentation
    • Email/tweet you (provide your Twitter handle and remind to use the hashtag for the event).
    • Use the Chat button inside the virtual environment to communicate with you and other audience members.


  • Be Animated. Speak with Conviction.  Remember, we can’t see you…we just see the slides.  So we need to be drawn to your voice!
  • Laughter is wonderful and infectious. And it makes me stop and pay attention to you!                                        
  • Don’t race. Use a “pause”, rather than filling the space with “uhm”. 
  • Speak to me (the audience) like I’m in front of you! Some presenters like to have someone in the room listening to them, so they can “talk to them” as if they’re the audience. 
  • Sit up, breathe deep, smile, and gesture! Yes, smile and gesture!  We hear this in your voice!

 YOUR Q&A AND AUDIENCE INTERACTION:Your Q&A and Audience Interaction.

  • Prime the Pump. Have 4-5 questions ready to suggest and be ready to answer them.
  • Answer the questions concisely and straight-forward. But, if you don’t know, ask audience to give feedback!
  • Coordinate in advance with your Session Chair on the Q&A.
  • Be culturally aware. The audience is international, will be from multiple environments/countries/settings, and they will be in different time zones. Consider this diversity in your slides, pictures, and comments.
  • Limit the jargon, if the words aren’t “global”.


  • Be someplace quiet when you deliver it (office, conference room).
  • Be prepared: headset, high quality audio delivery, clean desktop, and things you need (water, tissues, phone).
  • Manage distractions while presenting. Mute your phone, turn off “bells” on your computer, limit Instant Messaging notifications, or email notifications, etc.
  • Plan for back-ups. Technology can go awry, so have a phone back-up, write down any dial-in numbers, email addresses, etc.  But if something goes wrong, we’ll help on this end, and just be calm.  The world won’t come to an end.  🙂



  • Stick Within Your Allotted Time Frame. According to the Gospel of TED from TED Talks , “Thou Shalt Not Steal the Time of Them That Follow Thee”.  🙂


Now, go out there and give a kick-butt first-rate virtual presentation.  And join us on December 11, 2014 from 8am-5pm for an incredible virtual Summit entitled Real World Evidence:  Practical Strategies for Addressing the Needs of Multiple Stakeholders.  Register here and we’ll see you there!

Patti Peeples, R.Ph., Ph.D.

Dr. Patti Peeples is a respected health economist, pharmacist, and entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience in the pharma and healthcare communications industries. She writes. A lot. And she likes to start new things. The author of over 200 publications and creator of two successful business, Dr. Peeples was at the forefront of the health outcomes and market access movement in the United States. She is considered a pioneer in using the internet and digital media for communication and marketing in the health economics field.

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