Many meetings are quickly shifting from face-to-face gatherings to virtual events, introducing new factors for speakers to consider as they prepare presentations.
Here are a few tips to help you make as big of an impact from your computer screen as you’d do in a conference room or on a stage:
Ensure a strong internet connection. Make sure your internet connect is strong with a speed of at least 8 mbps. Visit https://www.speedtest.net/ to test in advance. If your Wifi isn’t reliable, connect your computer directly to your internet router using an Ethernet cable.
Create flattering lighting. Find a place to comfortably present with soft lighting free of shadows or glare and as close as possible to natural light. If your home lighting isn’t ideal, consider a ring light on a tripod to create flattering lighting.
Hear and be heard. The audio on most laptop computers is adequate for you to deliver your presentation clearly. Test your computer’s internal microphone in advance to be sure you can be heard clearly when speaking in a normal voice (not yelling) while sitting 6-12 inches from the computer. If your internal mic doesn’t suffice, you can purchase an external mic to connect via USB. Be sure to select a quiet space with low risk of distractions and noise.
Select a professional background. Pick a location with a soft, solid color wall. Blues, greys and soft whites are all good options but avoid stark white walls and bold reds, oranges and yellows. An uncluttered bookcase, plants or a few pieces of non-controversial art on the wall is fine, but stay away from busy patterns, clutter and personal objects.
Make eye contact. It’s tough to make eye contact when you don’t have other faces in your view. Look directly into the camera on your computer and imagine a friendly colleague in front of you. Be sure not to look down into the camera or at your slides. You may need to adjust the height of your chair and/or your laptop to achieve a level eye line.
Monitor your body language. As in a face-to-face presentation, be conscious not to fidget, sway in your chair, play with your hair or touch your face. Rest your hands comfortably in your lap or at your side. Avoid bigger hand gestures – even ones you might typically use sparingly to make a point – as your frame of view will be much smaller than in a face-to-face meeting. Sit up straight, attentive but comfortable, as you would in a job interview.
Do a practice run. Several days before your presentation, prepare your entire set-up. Download the webinar software and test the lighting, audio, internet speed. Hold a meeting with a friend or colleague and ask them to give you feedback on all of the elements above as well as the delivery of your presentation.
Be authentic. As always, be yourself. Allow the audience to see the best version of your authentic self, your innovative ideas and how your organization plans to impact the healthcare industry.