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Effective Leadership Communication Skills to Lead Hybrid Presentations

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

by Stephanie Bickel

leadership communication skills

There is no way to avoid hybrid presentations, yet we know they are a struggle. A "hybrid presentation" is a presentation where some participants are in person in a room and conference with others in a separate location. Speak by Design recommends you encourage people to ALL be in person or ALL be virtual from an individual computer. If you are going to plan for a hybrid presentation, here are some effective leadership communication skills and best practices to help ensure it goes well.

Hybrid Presentation Best Practices:

  1. Assign an in-person tech host for the conference rooms.

  2. Assign a virtual tech host who is on an individual laptop as "Host" to be able to control muting lines and spotlighting speakers.

  3. All tech hosts must be connected for easy messaging through instant messaging.

  4. All tech hosts must be comfortable interrupting when sound, lighting, and camera angles are an issue.

  5. Speakers should be announced. Some clients have speakers announce themselves. Others have a master of ceremonies do all announcing. It may be good to put the speakers' names on slides if you are using slides or announce them in the chat room.

  6. Rehearse the day before to decide proper seating. Create a seating chart that caters to the speakers. Consider using table tents with large writing. Test that the writing is legible.

  7. See if another camera is needed to show the audience.

If you are a remote speaker, there are other effective communication skills that you need to consider when participating in hybrid presentations.

Tips for Remote Speakers:

  1. Be louder than you think you need to be - think "assertive communication"

  2. Use animated facial expressions - it's not all about vocals that drive leadership communication skills

  3. Use gestures to highlight key points

  4. Drive your own slides so you can decide when to take them down and have more engagement

  5. Direct questions to a specific person

  6. Plan engagement around every key point or page

Questions and Answers:

  1. My partner and I are flying to meet 2 prospective clients in California. We will have 2 of our experts joining remotely. What is the best format?

Arrive 30 minutes early to test the conference equipment and get to know the prospective clients better. Ask your experts to join 15 minutes early. You can warm them up to the prospects and test out angles and sound. Work on this as a team to show off how well you work virtually. Try to get the remote participants as prominent as you can on the screen. Ask them about your lighting, sound, and camera angle. Use the prospective client names as much as possible. Present to the camera lens as much as possible. Get the remote participants talking early and often at the top of the presentation, so people don't forget about them.

2. Should we use individual laptops and the large video camera?

We have recommended this for large Board meetings (50+). Even if you are in the main room, join from your individual laptop. The in-person tech host will unmute your line when you speak into your laptop and mute the room line, so there is no sound feedback. This should be practiced in a dress rehearsal for Board meetings or Townhalls.

Whether we like them or not, hybrid presentations are here to stay. It's all about what you do to drive engaging leadership communication skills in all settings. Be ready to get creative, be flexible, and adjust to the needs of your audiences.


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