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Giving a presentation on camera is very different from presenting in the room with your audience. A few tips—and a few rehearsals—will make you a video star. Your coworker Dylan was easy to follow when sitting across a table or standing before a projector screen, but on Zoom? His guide for us in May on how to video conference like a rock star was such a hit that we asked him to come back and tell us how to deliver a videoconference presentation that will keep viewers engaged so you can drive home your message. Beneath your performance, there are several technical details that affect how well you come across.
Viewers will forgive janky video, but not garbled audio. A test audience who give feedback are invaluable. Will your audience make critical decisions based on your presentation? A speaker with one constant energy level can seem insincere, and detached from the human audience. If you regularly give long talks, Richard recommends at least trying a teleprompter. By Mike Sholars. By Tomi Akitunde. By Matthew Braga. By Drew Pearce. By Devon Murphy. By David Vallance. In the future, we may send you information about Dropbox products and services.
In the future we may about Dropbox products and services. Thank you! A confirmation has been sent. To whom will you be presenting? What does this person want? Who do they want? Write a script before you start. Rehearse and record it. Write yourself a script. It can be a block outline or a detailed speech. Then practice delivering it on camera to a friendly test audience, or by yourself.
Either way, record your rehearsals. Speak slowly. Get over your fear of silence. An audience that sits in silence at the end of your sentences is listening. Manage your nerves through practice. Not only will your delivery improve, but your fears will subside.
Tech Essentials Beneath your performance, there are several technical details that affect how well you come across. You do need to put in the effort so that your voice comes through clearly for everyone listening. Get a decent microphone. Read the instructions. Even tech-savvy software developers are sometimes seen on video calls speaking into the top of a side address microphone. Set adjustable mics to cardoid mode. Many mics have a switch or knob to adjust their listening pattern.
Cardoid is the one you want, where the mic is set to listen straight ahead at your mouth, with as little sound as possible from the rest of the room. Use a clip-on mic if you move around while presenting. Lavalier mics, as used by TV talk show guests, keep your voice up-close and consistent as you move.
Minimize echo and reverb from the room. You may need to find a different spot in the room, or a different room at home from which to present. Frame your video shot Turn off your custom Zoom backdrop image. Just no. Do you have a videogamer heet? Set it aside for a less intrusive TED-talk type of rig. Richard warns that Apple AirPods are known for iffy microphone quality, as are most Bluetooth earpieces. Stand up! Lens at eye level. Many videoconference users have their camera to the side, or below their chin. Hate me.
Step back from the camera. There are two reasons.
First, most computer and phone cameras have wide-angle lenses which will distort your image up close, giving you balloon head. Second, besides your eyes people pick up emotions and emphasis from your torso. Watch some TV news. There are conventions for framing stand-up reporters and sit-down anchors. Copy them! Do you move around? Consider a tracking camera. People who pace, or who need to hold and show real objects onscreen, look better if the camera follows their motion rather than letting them drift in and out of center frame. Dress rehearsal Will your audience make critical decisions based on your presentation?
Wear the same clothes or a nearly identical wardrobe. Present at the same time of day. Present at the same energy level. Record your rehearsals. Watch your recorded rehearsal with the sound off. Listen to your rehearsal with your eyes closed. You will spot ways to revise your audio, camera, script and most important, your performance.
Do you seem natural? Are you compelling—or boring? How is the energy level overall? Does it vary, as a comfortable, authentic presentation should? Tricks for your script Be professional but human. No one wants to watch a humanoid robot read slides. Open with a short mention about yourself. A nice safe joke or anecdote about yourself that lets others relate to you as human. Acknowledge that some or all attendees are reluctantly working from home.
Here we go! Pause after each one. Nor do you need to tie multiple things into one long sentence to show that they are connected. Your audience will connect the dots themselves. Usually this means removing professional jargon, technical terms and acronyms. In the rare case your presentation is a deep dive for like minds, then keep your introduction short and get to the data and insights they came for.
Stop to explain insider terms and concepts. Like a conversation, calm versus excited should vary from one part to the next, rather then being one straight mood on which people will tune out. On-camera behavior These are so obvious that they need little explanation. Maintain eye contact with camera nearly always. Keep slides visual and minimal on words, rather than flooding them with text. Keep info near the camera lens.
Paraphrase onscreen info. Develop the confidence to stop. Vary your energy level as you go A speaker with one constant energy level can seem insincere, and detached from the human audience. Practice thinking on your feet. Your audience will wait if you seem to be thinking before you answer. Take a few seconds. Look to the side and narrow your eyes in thought. Then turn back to camera with your answer. Neutralize trick or off-topic questions. Turn your session back to what you want to talk about. You, too, can shine onscreen. Just take to heart an old joke from the golden age of movies: Q: Excuse me, sir.
How can I get to Hollywood? A: Practice! Filed under. The Author. Paul Boutin. Paul is a serial tech startup worker who has written about tech-fueled culture for Wired, The New York Times, and many others.
A veteran Dropbox user, he explores remote collaboration as not just an interest, but a way of life. Related Articles Your browser does not support the video tag.You want bbc read
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