Behind the Scenes

Tips from Preparing for My eSpeakers Virtual Presenter Certification

June 2020

I recently became certified as an eSpeakers virtual presenter (woohoo!) and got to apply the knowledge I’ve learned about the differences - both subtle and distinct - in presenting virtually.

I’ve delivered about 50 live presentations and speeches over the past year and it’s definitely my first love. Being able to engage and interact with a group “in 3D” as I like to say, and tailor the content to give them the best value for their time is my JAM.

Prior to COVID-19 and self-isolation, I had dabbled in the world of virtual meetings. One of my past clients was a remote team within a global tech company, so I grew pretty comfortable with facilitating online meetings using Zoom. Here’s the BUT….

Virtual meetings and virtual presentations are two very distinct animals

Meetings with well-thought out agendas are more forgiving - especially during this time of adjustment to the work-from-home life. As a facilitator, you have more time to collect yourself while participants are participating.

Presentations such as webinars and virtual keynotes are more nuanced and require a different approach to keep the pace and maintain your audience’s attention. My certification included recording a brief “virtual proof” video, so I made the set up a bit more formal than my real life “certificates and sticky notes” background, but still wanted the tone to be lighthearted and energetic to align with my brand promise. Based on my experience so far,

Here are some basic tips for nailing your virtual presentations:

**** stay tuned for an upcoming post with more advanced tips ****

1. Wear a brightly coloured shirt to pop on screen and capture the attention of your audience.

2. Find the best space available for natural light on your face. The importance of lighting can’t be understated. No one wants to look at you in what appears to be a dimly lit basement.

3. Add an extra portable light for good measure (optional, but recommended).

4. Cover the walls and mirror with towels (or dog blankets in our case) to prevent echo, especially if the room has a hard floor. Carpet helps absorbs the echo.

5. Check your background. We redeployed a random household curtain for this particular shoot.

6. Put the camera at or above eye level (on a lap desk, board games, anything goes!)

7. Rearrange furniture to get the set up juuuust right.

8. Kick the family off the internet to prevent lag, or activate your phone’s hot spot if you have the data available.

9. Test the meeting link early and keep the link handy just in case it drops! There’s nothing like a technical issue to throw you off your game!

10. Mic check. Test 1-2. You probably need something better than your computer’s built-in mic.

11. Adjust the camera angle so your head and shoulders fill most of the frame. Ensure there isn’t too much space above your head and that you look balanced in the frame.

12. Last chance to tame your wild COVID hair ‘do, check your lighting, angles, etc.

13. Position any notes near camera lens to maintain the connection with your audience.

14. Look directly into the camera and BRING IT!

It’s not always glamourous, but it works!

Here’s the (almost) final product. I filmed my last rehearsal working out the kinks and shaking off the nerves 😊

Thank you Joe Heaps from eSpeakers – your enthusiasm for the ‘sneak peek behind the scenes’ inspired this post.

Fun Fact: I tried to predict the duration of my recorded video Babe Ruth style… I said 38-41 seconds and ended up at 35! Close,but no Babe. 😊

Check out the final product here.

Bonus Tip…

Let your spouse in the house

When you are done, remember to tell your spouse that he can come back in from the

garage 😊

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