With Intellor’s experience in managing over 10,000 virtual conference calls and events over the past year alone, we’re well aware of the reality of “web cam fatigue.”
Let’s face it, we’ve all gotten pretty tired of looking at each other’s faces framed by computer screens. However, since we all know that video meetings and calls are more or less here to stay when it comes to organizational communications, we still need to think about how to most effectively present our messages in an online setting.
Proven techniques for video conference presenters
Much has been written specifically about how to look your best when presenting during a webinar. After more than a year of regularly participating in online conferences, it’s easy for all of us to start forgetting the basics. Here’s a brief refresher to keep us all looking our best and effectively communicating in video meetings:
- Raise your camera to your eyeline. This may require creating a temporary platform for your laptop or monitor. Whether you’re using books, boxes, or some kind of stand, make sure it’s stable and provides good support.
- Center yourself in the screen. Some recommend positioning yourself an arm’s length away, but experiment to find the angle and distance that work best for you.
- Keep the light in front of you. It’s better to sit on the wrong side of your desk than to have a window casting your entire image into shadow. Natural light makes all of us look our best, but regular household lamps will work just as well.
- Avoid distracting virtual backgrounds. We will follow up this post with another that specifically deals with this topic, but we’ve all experienced how humorous/whimsical virtual backgrounds can pull our attention away from what is being presented, especially when the images flicker or waver in and out.
- Do you wear glasses? Cut down on glare by positioning the light above you with, if possible, a slight angle down toward your face. Covering the lower half of the window (with something as simple as cardboard, and preferably darker to absorb light) or setting lamps on shelves are two options for this. If the light in front of you is bright enough, it will minimize your computer screen’s reflection. The rest can be removed by adjusting the brightness of the screen.
- Keep your script in front of you. Looking down or off to the side while reading is distracting and can take away from the message you’re trying to convey. Have your notes open on the same screen as your webcam, and adjust the window so you can still see the conferencing software behind.
- If possible, stand when you present. Standing helps us give a more natural delivery. It can give us a more commanding physical presence and a better range of motion. Some even find that it’s easier to maintain variety in our voice, which goes a long way toward keeping the audience’s attention.
- Watch your posture. Whether standing or sitting, pay attention to your carriage to make sure you’re not slouching.
- Work out the setup and camera settings before your event. You can schedule a webex or zoom meeting with any free account, which will give you plenty of time to see what works best for you. If you can, join your event early and get guidance from the host on how you look on screen.
In general, when your task is to deliver your message in as clear and engaging a manner as possible, you want to minimize distractions and focus on professionalism. Even the most simple and intuitive techniques go a long way towards holding your audience’s attention and making sure they come away with the essential points you want to communicate.