7 tips for presenting online
- Originally Published on March 25, 2020
Our home lives have suddenly become our work lives, and everything is a bit more personal than it was 2 weeks ago. When presenting online, small changes can make a big difference. Here are 7 tips for presenting online I’ve collected when presenting online, I hope you find them useful.
Here is the original post on LinkedIn
1. The camera
should be at eye level. It’s better for it to come from above than below but not so far below that you are looking up at everyone or it may make you look inferior. As most people’s computer desk is lower than eye level, the camera may be pointing upwards at you but be careful not to make this too accentuated or it may look strange. The camera should be positioned so your head is in the middle with some space around your head. Fill the frame. If you can, before the call, turn on your computer camera and check the frame.
Sounds can be muted in Teams with the latest update and there are tools out there for other platforms. Light should come from in front not behind the camera. Natural light is best, so a window in front is great. Your background should not distract from your face. Distractions are exaggerated and magnified on camera so check your frame, for examples shadows, things growing out of your head, and any visual distractions. Pets & babies can be fun – it’s all about being human – but keeping people engaged with your subject matter is more challenging online so try to keep distractions to a minimum.
3. Your eyes
To avoid looking untrustworthy or nervous, look directly at the camera lens. It is tempting to look at the little picture of ourselves in the bottom corner on video calls, or the other people or the person speaking. But if it’s your turn to speak, try to look through the camera with the device slightly out of focus – this will produce the best result for your audience. When other people are speaking, you can look engaged by looking at the camera lens too.
4. Your voice
To find the middle pitch, before the call speak (yell) as high as you can then as low as you can. You might seem mad to your neighbours but you will find your natural pitch, which is in between. I do this before presenting to make sure I am speaking in my natural key.
It is tempting to go faster, but important to actually go slower than usual if delivering to a remote audience. Extra pauses between points are essential. Without visual cues that we usually receive in person, it becomes even more important to involve your audience with questions. A little tip, in Teams you can see when someone is breathing if the purple circle around their head vibrates. This may mean they would like to ask a question so you can pause to give them a window.
The camera will make you seem much less enthusiastic. TV presenters are trained to exaggerate not only their pitch (voices up and down), but control their breath to give more energy when they speak. When presenting online, amplify your enthusiasm. This may seem unnatural but will actually make what you say more impactful.
From pre-internet past days of top down broadcast, now it’s about sharing. ‘Uploading’ is as important as ‘downloading’. I find Teams better for conversations or GoToWebinar for one-to-many. Asking questions of your audience during a presentation to confirm you are on the right track, such as Does that seem familiar? Is that how you work now? How do you see that happening in the future? will help people to listen to you, and their answers might be helpful for you too.
I got to practice these 7 tips for presenting online myself in the online webinar series I ran, you can view an episode here.
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