As businesses get more comfortable with the virtual world, it makes sense to know how best to present to your target audience online. Customers, employees and partners are already living in that environment thanks to social networks and even e-mail, so the natural next step is to walk in their remote marketplace.

Just one example of how the virtual show is impacting is demonstrated by a leading car magazine whose staff are preparing a radical rethink into how they run this year's car show: they plan to stage an event at the world's first virtual green car show. A typical virtual show eliminates about 3,300 tonnes of carbon emissions and saves 17,000 trees. And it's not just savings to the environment that has inspired this move: a car manufacturer will have an average budget of around seven figures to have a presence at a major auto show. The green car show, however, will cost around 20,135 pounds.

It seems that virtual exhibitions and conferencing are catching on and offer the same opportunities as a live event. Attendees can stroll through the conference area just as they would at any other exhibition; there's the opportunity to meet and greet, sample new products and even enjoy the now widely accepted and expected freebie.

And a recent report by Market Research Media in the US claims that the virtual marketplace will grow to 18.6bn dollars over the next five years; with 87 percent of 10,000 executives ready to go virtual.

Obvious influencing factors for many companies include trying to save money. The amount of budget saved on everything from accommodation to travel and food are huge factors. Even hiring the conference site will no longer eat up the marketing department's budget.

With the growth in interest, big players in the virtual conference market are forging ahead in developing virtual-meetings software aimed at recreating the real trade show or conference experience. From checking in, to collecting a goody bag filled with virtual goods and brochures, it's a genuinely pleasurable experience. You can take a trip round the area and download company information, watch demonstrations or chat online to sales reps; and with keynote speakers, real-time question and answer sessions run on professional presentation software. Virtual networking is the natural definitely the way ahead.

As businesses get more comfortable with the virtual world, it makes sense to know how best to present to your virtual customers. And there's no better way to do this than to use the Broadcast Slide Show feature in PowerPoint 2010. Broadcast Slide Show enables presenters to share a slide show with anyone, anywhere, over the Web. You send a link (URL) to your audience, and then everyone you invited watches a synchronised view of your slide show in their browser. You can send the URL for your slide show to attendees by e-mail. During the broadcast, you can pause the slide show at any time, re-send the URL to attendees, or switch to another application without interrupting the broadcast or displaying your desktop to attendees.

Before you think about the content of your virtual presentation; remember the three Ps: preparation, preparation and preparation. Select the right technology. You need to know what you want to accomplish and what kind of information will need to be shared. Always try to send an agenda for participants to review well in advance. Remember to test the technology before the meeting. Consider time zones when planning start and finish times - think about lunch breaks, too!

Ask participants to log on 15 minutes before your presentation is due to commence as some online products require downloading and installation. Get participants to state their names when they speak, and remind them to turn off phones.

Try to think about the remote users' perspective. Obviously you will not be able to see puzzled looks and most participants won't interrupt to say they don't understand. Talk into your microphone or phone at sufficient volume and minimise distracting background noise. And don't forget to use your usual meeting skills to build a rapport with your team.

Finally, try to keep participants focused and engaged, which is always going to be more difficult in a virtual meeting. Participants will probably get distracted after about 10 minutes or three presentation slides. Break up speeches by asking for questions, taking polls or initiating team brainstorming.