Who would have thought, back in March when we first went into lockdown, that come November we would still be meeting online – and in the middle of a second lockdown?

And the reality is we are likely to be working like this for some time to come now.

What has become clear over the past months – is that the principles of good presenting are the same whether we are online or in person.

I believe the key to being a great presenter is to make it interesting… a bit like that teacher in school who made it interesting… we all loved that lesson didn’t we?

Well, we are just bigger kids now.  And we still want it to be interesting.

So how can you make your presentations interesting.  Add some zing in your zoom and twinkle in your Teams meetings?  Some ‘Wow’ to your Webex…

I have an acronym to help you make your talk interesting: It’s WAG.  Imagine if everyone in your audience had a tail – what would make it WAG?

What does WAG stand for?

W is for WIIFM What is every member of your audience is asking themselves when you speak?  WIIFM?  Whats in it for me? Make it useful and relevant and address their WIIFM

A is for Active – get people doing something – involve them in your message

G is for Gripping – use stories, open knowledge gaps, arouse curiosity

So first, W for WIIFM: Imagine your audience were wired up to a WIFometer – what would make it peak?

My background is coming up with ideas for big PR campaigns – so this is an area I love helping people with… coming up with ideas to make the presentation interesting – but it usually comes down to how much you stop and ask yourself ‘Why will they be interested in this?’ and then thinking about

Think of a Presentation you may have coming up or could create: What’s the WIIFM?

A for Active You know that feeling when you’re sat in a presentation and time just drags.. well, guess what – time isn’t dragging for the presenter at all because they are active – they’re doing something… presenting.  And this is the fundamental paradox of time – when we are active it flies, when we are passive it drags.  So, What’s the solution: it’s to keep involving your audience by making them more active

Think of that Presentation you can give: What will keep people ACTIVE?  

G is for Gripping: how can you be sure your audience are so gripped by what you are sharing that they don’t turn their video off/or start checking their emails on your calls?

There are many ideas I work on with clients – but the one I want to remind you of is the simple STAR technique: Situation, Task, Action, Result

STARs help you to grip people because our brains are wired to keep listening until the story has resolved and we have ‘discovered’ what happened ‘in the end’.

Think of that Presentation you can give – what story can you tell?  How will you create a STAR?

Take a moment to think of a good story or parable that illustrates something you want to get across in your talk… you can always start with the moral of the story – and use the STAR to tell in a minute.

Our new reality means we are going to be presenting online for sometime to come… and we need to engage people: our colleagues who are working remotely; our existing customers who we want to serve – and new ones we want to attract.

So next time you are preparing to present online – remember to ask ‘What’s in it for them?’ (think of the wifometer), consider how to keep people Active, & what will keep them Gripped…. So that if your audience had a tail, it would start to WAG.


If you want to improve your online presentations or public speaking skills you can book a ‘Discovery Call’ with Caroline Hopkins to find out more about how she can help you to enhance your skills during lockdown.