Lights, Camera, Action: virtual presentation tips to put your best foot forward on your next web-based call or presentation
WFH (aka Work[ing] From Home) has become our new normal. With face-to-face meetings on the backburner, we are now heavily reliant on web-based call subscription services and apps like Microsoft Teams or Zoom. While web-based calls can be highly productive, they can also be frustrating. More often than not, distractions such as sound, background, and lighting often get in the way and can make even the most well-prepared presenter look unprofessional. Just as we’d prepare for a face-to-face meeting, client pitch, or presentation, it is equally important, if not more so, to put our best foot forward virtually, which is why these virtual presentation tips are so helpful.
When preparing a presentation for the recent NAVUG Summit, I was given some valuable lessons on how to run more effective online meetings.
Before you sit down for your next work call, keep “The 5 P’s” front and center: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. With this in mind, I put together some additional tips that will help you up your game on your next web call or presentation.
Become Your Own Desktop Director With These Virtual Presentation Tips
In order to fully prepare for your next web-based presentation, it is important to consider all of the variables around you that could be sources of distraction for your audience. Think of yourself as the director of a film and you are getting ready to shoot your next blockbuster production. As the director, you are responsible for all the different departments in your production:
Color is key! In order to eliminate distraction, avoid loud patterns and the color white in your wardrobe; they are visually distracting and can overwhelm or blind your audience.
Dos: Light pastels, blues, and greys
Don’ts: Only dressing from the waist up! Do not make the same mistake as the ABC reporter who failed to put on pants for a live shot with Good Morning America. Make sure you are preparing for your meeting from head to toe.
While it may be tempting to sport your best watch or earrings, it can cause more of a distraction to your audience. Remember, jingly jewelry is a no-no! It is noisy, distracting and can cause interference with audio.
Don’t be another “talking head.” In order to properly set up your camera for a presentation, place your laptop camera at eye level. If you have your camera too high, you may appear as if you are towering over your audience, which can be an intimidating factor. By positioning yourself directly in front of the camera, you are able to make eye contact with your audience and appear more trusting.
Another helpful hint: use the rule of thirds and get your body and hands in the frame. Using gestures while speaking helps engage your audience and gives you more credibility as a presenter.
At a recent team meeting check-in, I posed the question: “What frustrates you most about web-based calls?” 90 percent of Team Silverware agreed audio issues negatively affect the quality of a call. Our CEO, Sara Silver, mentioned how it is often hard to know when someone else is talking, which indirectly correlates to sound or connection issues.
When preparing for a presentation, it is paramount that the sound quality is tested beforehand. Wired microphones/technology work much better than Bluetooth. A headset is the best option for going live, as it drowns out any ambient noise, keeps you in the zone, and makes it a lot easier for the audience to clearly hear and understand you.
As your own desktop director, it is also important to consider lighting. The most important factor? Make sure your lighting comes from the front. If possible, configure your desk to be in front of a window, as daylight works best. If you do not have natural lighting available, use a lamp on your desk.
You want to avoid backlighting; if there is a lot of light coming from the back, your face will be dark and it makes it difficult for the audience to read the expressions on your face.
In order to maximize the visual appeal, declutter, clean, and organize your background. Having a clean background is not only visually appealing, but it makes you appear more organized and professional.
Are you looking to have a better connection with your client or team? Personalize your background with these additional virtual presentation tips:
- Up your professionalism: Display your diplomas and professional certificates.
- Create a welcoming environment: Add fresh plants or a vibrant floral arrangement.
- Opportunity for conversation: Strategically place family photos or items that show your personal hobbies as potential talking points.
Last but not least, tidy up your desktop folder. If your audience happens to see your computer when screen sharing, it is important that they do not see a chaotic and disorganized desktop.
Go Virtual with Silverware
The next time you get ready to hit that “Share Screen” button, consider these virtual presentation tips for becoming your own desktop director. Our team at Silverware is here to make your customer experience the best it can be, especially on a virtual level. If you’d like to learn more about Silverware and its services, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Anna Kroitzsch