Presenting Online – Raising the Bar

We’re over four months in now from Lockdown, and still, a large proportion of people are working from home. In their home offices, studies, spare bedrooms or even in their gardens. The universal Zoom meetings are prevailing. Many moaning about them, complaining of Zoom’ itis but also some taking to them like a duck to water.

The standard of online presenting has dramatically improved, naturally. More important, though, are expectations. You’re expected now to give a half-decent online video presentation. The bar has risen. Here’s what’s required of you now with seven new tips to raise your bar:

  • Too close or too far away. Bring yourself forward to your camera, so your head and shoulders take up at least a third of the picture. Position your head in the top third of the movie, either head-on or to the side. Not too far away.
  • Stand and deliver, sang Adam Ant in 1980. The girls loved him; your audience might adore you more if you stood and gave your presentation. Have a delivery zone where you can move around a little, autofocus your camera and put it eye level, avoiding nostril view. Try it and see
  • Use “you” more than the omnipresent slides. Many speakers like to hide behind the slide deck, relax in their chair and talk. These webinars don’t cut it so much nowadays; your audience wants more of you. So more you, fewer slides. Use software that combines your video feed with your slides. Prezi Video does a great job of integrating both you and your visuals on the screen that your viewer sees. Use Logitech’s Capture to screen share your slides and your video feed in several angles and positions. The software produces a “webcam” option in Zoom or Teams that you merely use instead of the default camera.
  • Dress casually. You’re at home; everyone knows that now, so you don’t need the full suit and tie, it’s not congruent. Even financial services types should ditch the tie or even don a polo shirt. Casual might work better.
  • Care your background doesn’t distract. Sometimes this is tricky so virtual ones might work better. These are little like chocolate at Christmas. You gorge yourself to start with but soon become sick of the sight of it. Have a background but not too cluttered. Green screens that fit around the back of your chair retail at less than £50 so that might be an option.
  • Lighting is straightforward. In front of you not behind. I still see people with the window behind them. These are professional people too. The light should be in front of you behind the camera, period.
  • Noise and distractions. Once you’ve mastered your mic and sound, be aware of background sound. Even in my basement video studio, I still get outside noise, especially when I open the window in the summer: dogs barking, babies crying, traffic noise. You can get software to eliminate background noise now. Try “Krisp”. You feed your mic through their cloud software, and it automatically removes background sound. How cool. A simple solution that might cost you a few dollars, but if it relaxes you and keeps you on track with your presentation, then it’s worth the investment. How many of us have lost track when a sudden noise erupts? You lose attention and focus, even if it’s in your head only.

These tips will help you present very well over online video. It’s the future, so embracing these ideas now will help you perform better. It’s expected.

And chocolate, I never tire of that, especially at Christmas.