Nowadays, a seamless and professional virtual presence is practically a necessity. In the past year, it has come to be what establishes our credibility when presenting to an audience.
There are certain things that are non-negotiables when it comes to looking at how we can improve our virtual image…
Your camera should always be set up as close to eye-level as possible. The problem with sitting up tall with a computer on a table is that by human nature, the speaker is looking down to the computer with their screen angled up. Although this may seem miniscule, this often makes the audience feel as though they are being talked down to. A better setup would be positioning your laptop on a higher platform that sits at shoulder height so that the
camera is directly in line with your eyes. This inhibits a more comfortable presentation.
There is nothing more annoying than muted microphones and scratchy sounds in the middle of a presentation (especially when they are serious or sensitive topics). Obviously we cannot always help if and when these sound barriers come and go, but what we can do is check our sound system before each meeting and ensure that our microphones are working properly. It takes two minutes!
Most people created a makeshift home office in quarantine that allows for some sort of professional background when giving presentations, but sometimes even these people make it too hard on themselves.
The easiest thing to do if you don’t have the resources to create some elaborately professional background, is to keep it simple! A blank wall will do just fine! Being in an open space opens up the possibility of people walking in and out of your screen, doors opening and closing, pets coming in and out, etc. This can be extremely distracting to your audience when they should be focused on you, not everything around you. It’s best to be up against a wall so it eliminates these distractions.
There are also a few things that we can do in general to make our presentation a bit more captivating…
On the front end of our presentation, we can eliminate a lot of “zoom fatigue” by creating a captivating title. The title of the meeting ultimately sets the tone for the rest of the presentation. A title such as “Business Strategy For Finance Professionals During Covid-19” is not going to get an audience excited to join a meeting. It’s boring! But a title such as, “Calling All Finance Professionals! Be Strategically Different In a Covid-19 World.” This title adds a little more voice to the topic, and lets the audience know there is a person behind the presenter.
Perhaps the most important reminder is to SMILE! Such an easy fix, yet so hard for some people to remember! In a virtual world, we rely more on facial expressions to communicate our engagement because body language is far less visible to the audience. Let your audience know that you are HAPPY to be there by smiling when eyes are on you!