Virtual Speaking Tips

Preparing your session

Be sure to test and re-test all links or videos embedded or attached to your presentation BEFORE recording.

Slides should be managed by one presenter. If you have one or more co-presenters, decide who will be managing/advancing the slides ahead of time and rehearse accordingly.

Experiment and have fun. Obviously, you don’t want to go overboard, but it’s worth exploring your options and getting creative. What would be fun for your audience to see? What would be an interesting way to show the data you have?

Revisit your body language. Everyone has their own style of hand gestures and movements when speaking. But these can be either exaggerated or lost in front of a camera. To assess your body language prior to your recording session, position yourself the same distance you’ll be from the camera, hit the record button and run through a section you’re comfortable with. In the playback, make sure to mute yourself so you can just pay attention to your movements.

Never stop rehearsing. Physical or virtual, there is no greater method for being calm and collected in front of an audience than rehearsing your talk or presentation.

Setting up to record/present your session

Find a quiet, well-lit place. Be sure to light your face to avoid looking like a scary silhouette. Have light from a lamp or a window in front of you, rather than behind you. Make sure there are no shadows being cast on your face, like from light coming through window blinds, etc.

Unclutter your recording area. Find an unbusy, plain area before recording to minimize visual distractions. Ensure there will be no moving objects on camera during your session – people, pets, etc. What’s behind you? Make sure it’s as plain as possible, preferably a solid wall or screen.

Raise your computer’s camera. Grab some thick books, an old-fashioned dictionary or a large flat box and raise your computer so you’re looking straight at your screen, not up or down. This is much more flattering than having the camera below you looking up at your neck.

Use a separate mic – desk microphone, Bluetooth earpiece, headset, earbuds, etc. – instead of your computer’s mic. This will decrease ambient noise and minimize your voice breaking up.

Dress appropriately. Make sure your outfit looks great on camera. The best rule of thumb is to pick clothes that help you stand out from your background with block or solid colors often being easier to see than complicated patterns. Avoid dangling earrings to prevent any extraneous mic noise.

3,2,1 – Let’s Present!

Look straight at the camera lens at the top of your computer. It may feel weird at first, but when you look straight at the camera, the other participants at your meeting will experience good eye contact. Holding and being aware of that connection will give you much better authority and presence in your virtual presentation. Also, back away from your computer a just a bit – you don’t want to be too close to the screen.

Relax your face. If you’re searching your screen for the right document or button to click, you may look worried and tense which can make your audience feel worried and tense. Relax your face as you search your screen.

Give your normal energy some extra oomph! Your audience isn’t totally captive. They are at home, at their desk, there are more distractions than normal. It will feel extra, like you’re overperforming, but it’s exactly the amount of energy you need to connect with an audience watching on a screen. Giving 110% always feels weird but it is so much better to watch than someone scared to go past 60%.

Enunciate more than ever. Just like with your energy, you need to overcompensate a little to make sure you are heard. Your audience may have poor speakers, noise in the background, or a poor connection. Speaking clearly and ar-tic-u-la-ting each word will give you the best chance of getting your message across and not losing people who may otherwise log off out of frustration.