How effective a presenter is at hosting their session, particularly for a virtual event, can make or break an attendee’s experience. With so many meeting and event professionals switching to virtual events because of the coronavirus, your presenters must be prepped and prepared with the best practices around every aspect of the process. That’s why we’ve researched and created this guide to the top five presenter tips for virtual meetings and events. Check it out.
1. Eliminate Distractions
Although this may seem obvious, presenters will want to eliminate every and all distractions before the big day so their session can go off without a hitch. Because most attendees will be listening through headphones and watching closely, we’ve outlined a few tips to remove distractions for presenters and attendees:
- Use a plain backdrop. Whether presenters are prerecording or livestreaming their sessions, they should consider using a plain backdrop, like a white wall. The less busy the backdrop, the less distracting it is for attendees and the more they will focus on the presenter.
- Be conscious of your lighting. Lighting can make or break video quality. The easiest tip for presenters to follow is: Do not sit with your back to the window. For optimal lighting and video quality, presenters want to be lit from the front and not the back, so make sure your light (whether artificial or natural) is adjusted accordingly.
- Find a quiet space. Attendees will be listening closely through their headphones to your presentation, which means they’ll be able to hear every noise you make. Make sure you remove all audio distractions like cell phones, email or text message pop-up notifications. If you’re presenting from your home, be sure you let whoever you live with (family, friends, roommates) know and ask them to be quiet or leave you be for the allotted time. Have someone take care of loud pets or put them in another room. Lastly, if you have index cards or printed presentation notes, be careful of rustling your papers.
2. Dress to Impress
Because today’s cameras are so clear and accurate, certain colors and patterns on clothing can look weird or distracting on camera. To help you dress to impress, we’ve collected the top dress code tips for filming:
- Avoid stripes or busy patterns. Thin stripes and small patterns actually can cause the video to waver, which is referred to as the moiré effect.
- Stick with solid colors. Solid colors like neutrals, browns, and soft blues are the safest, and most visually appealing. High contrast colored clothing like red, white, or black should be avoided because they can create strange lighting illusions (e.g. shimmering glow, floating head effect, etc.).
- Avoid clothes with writing or icons. Although a lot of clothes have brand logos, icons, or names written on them, avoid wearing such clothing on the big day. Your post-production team will thank you for sparing them the extra labor!
- Avoid noisy jewelry. If you’re a jewelry fan, read closely. When filming your presentation, you’ll want to leave your noisy, flashy, or shiny jewelry pieces at home. Some jewelry can catch the light in unanticipated ways (e.g. create shadows) or create distracting noises.
3. Choose the Best Microphone
Whether your virtual presentation is audio-only or will feature video too, your audio must be clear so your attendees can understand you. Some events will mail presenters microphones to use before their presentations. If your event doesn’t, we’ve created a list of the most powerful and popular microphones for virtual events:
- Heil PR-40: Although the Heil PR-40 comes with a high price tag ($329), it also comes with high-quality audio because of its copper-wound neodymium magnet structure. If virtual presentations or video recording is a thing that you’ll be doing a lot more of, this web microphone is a good piece of technology to invest in.
Photo Credit: Heil Sound
- Samson Meteor: The Samson Meteror is a durable, affordable condenser microphone that is ideal for small spaces. It can connect directly into your iPad and other tablets so you can easily edit your footage, and has folding legs so you can use it as a handheld microphone.
Photo Credit: Samson Tech
- Blue Microphones Snowball: The Blue Microphone’s Snowball is another affordable condensed microphone option presenters can choose for their virtual sessions. The Snowball is not only very popular because it produces excellent sound quality from its dual capsule design, but it also comes in eight different colors.
Photo Credit: Blue Designs
- Samson Go Mic: If you’re looking for a small, portable microphone that doesn’t sacrifice audio quality to record your virtual presentation’s audio, then the Samson Go Mic is the microphone for you. The Samson Go Mic can be clipped to your desk so you don’t have to worry about holding it while presenting. It also works with Macs, PCs, and has great sound quality thanks to its omni-directional pickup and switchable cardioid.
Photo Credit: Samson
4. Prioritize Engagement
Just like you would at events, presenters should use tactics to ensure their attendees remain engaged throughout the entire presentation. But how can you do this virtually? Check with the event organizer as every event will be different, but ask whether they'd prefer you to leverage features via their virtual event platform or their mobile event app. Here are some popular engagement options to consider:
- Picture in picture presentations
Another key point, especially if you do choose to incorporate a couple polls or Q&A sessions, is to remember to space them out throughout your presentation (such as every 10-15 minutes or so depending on your presentation length) for optimal effectiveness. Whether you utilize these features or not, simply acknowledging the audience throughout your presentation can also be very effective, i.e. asking them hypothetical questions, references some of the challenges they may be facing, etc.
5. Practice Makes Perfect
Just because your event is virtual, don’t wait till the last minute to prepare and rehearse your presentation. Presenters follow a best practice checklist to ensure they are ready for the big day. We’ve created a checklist for you to follow below:
- Check that your internet connection is strong
- Check that your backdrop is plain
- Check that your presentation spot is quiet and will remain quiet during filming
- Check that your presentation microphone is working and that your audio is clear
- Check that your lighting and video quality is clear
- Check that your outfit isn’t distracting or creating strange lighting illusions
- Check that your notes are numbered in case you drop them
- Check that your presentation doesn’t run overtime
- Check that your pacing is not too slow and not too fast
- Check that your mobile event app is working and preloaded with survey or poll questions
Virtual events can be scary for first-time presenters. But one important thing to remember: don’t forget to have fun! Attendees can tell when you’re nervous, and if you’re not having fun, chances are they aren’t either. So, relax, smile, laugh, use props, hold contests, and get creative!
As long as you’re prepared and you follow our tips to presenting for a virtual event, we’re sure you’ll nail the big day. Here’s a recap of the Do’s and Don’ts for virtual presenting: