TLDR – Remote meetings and presentations, 5 things I am not good at

Remote meetings and remote presentations are the most innovative online experience for most people working from home due to COVID-19. Here’s the list of 5 things I am not good at when it comes to remote meetings and presentations.


I am locked down at home like a quarter of the world’s population. In the last four weeks, I’ve attended many remote meetings and presentations and presented many topics to a virtual audience. I found these experiences exhausting and often not valuable in business. In my day-to-day work life, meetings and presentations are already among the most important parts of my job. As a designer, I have to face the diversity of the audiences and their knowledge, expectations and behaviours. Those challenges in the virtual space turn into thorny problems. Complexity spikes because I’m not sitting in the same room as the audience. Most of the time, I cannot quickly modulate the volume of my voice to wake up folks, I hardly feel the actual chemistry in the room, and I am often distracted by the tool I’m using to join the meeting or the presentation (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Zoom)

The list of 5 things I am not good at when it comes to remote meetings and presentations

  1. 🥴 I don’t excel as a speaker in the analogic life because of the stress I feel when making a presentation in English which – you may have noticed – is not my mother tongue, then when I am in remote meetings and presentations I need to rehearse more. This costs me more time and effort
  2. 🤐 I often forget to mute my mic when I am not speaking. Then I realize that I am distracted or, even worse, not listening. This is a clear sign that I am not adding value to the conversation. At times, I found it more productive to apologize to the other attendees and to leave the meeting rather than counting the minutes down until the session is over
  3. 🧰 I am not always equipped with the synthesis gift. I am very passionate about my job and that’s why I tend to be verbose. In the remote working environment and because of this very loquacity, I might lose the audience. I work a lot on avoiding the diva attitude, a very frequent phenomenon among the designer community, by carefully measuring the time and checking on the audience to be sure they’re still awake
  4. 🎤 I do not always invest the right amount of time to prepare myself for a good voice-over narrative. The risk is to delegate most of the communication to the slide content and this really sucks. In the remote meetings and presentations, people will get lost or lose track of the narrative much faster
  5. ☠️ I am not always well prepared to the creepy silence at the end of the session when I ask “do you have any questions?”. I believe it is mandatory to have an exit strategy for this scenario. In order to be more reactive to this situation, I am planning to prepare a slide/page with some links to deepen the topic or a quick survey on the focus topic covered during the session by using tools such as Mentimeter.

I didn’t mention the remote office setup as a pain point of my current situation because this is a working in progress. This is a key point since I am inviting people into my home through online windows all the time. I am experimenting with several options to have the right light on my face and a decent background. A precious reference on this topic is John Maeda‘s articleHow To Light Yourself When On A Video Call While Remote“.

Remote meetings and presentations, how To Light Yourself When On A Video Call While Remote

For now, I do rely on the “blurry background” feature. I love the one available on Microsoft Teams. I am surprised that Google Hangouts doesn’t have such feature. This forces me while using this tool to adapt my entire setup.

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