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While lockdown continues to be slowly relaxed, the reality is that in-person events are a rarity. As a popular speaker, business owner or industry thought leader its likely you’ll have a few opportunities lined up to talk on webinars or at virtual events. Get your message across clearly with these simple but effective tips.

TIP #1: The most critical requirement for a good online presentation is fast and reliable internet. A minimum of 20Mbps line is advised. You can test your line on www.speedtest.net.

TIP #2: Depending on your laptop or PC, you might also want to invest in a high definition camera and microphone for a crisp, clear delivery. How will you know if this is the case? Do a dry run with the platform in question (so you can familiarise yourself with its layout) and rope in some friends or colleagues to give you feedback on your audio and visual quality.

Did you know that roughly 80% of what we learn from the world is mediated through vision?

TIP #3: Because sight is such a dominant sense in humans, its worth taking the time to create an appealing screen image for your audience. This starts with good lighting. Make sure the light source isn’t behind you, which will create a ‘creepy’ silhouette. If you don’t have a strong natural source of light, use a large shaded lamp or go extra-pro and invest in a portable soft box for really flattering results.

TIP #4: Remember to set up your camera at eye level, so you are not ‘looking down’ on your viewers. This can be as simple as putting a box under your laptop to raise it.

TIP #5: Another trick when presenting is to look at the camera so that your audience feels you are looking directly at them, which helps to keep them engaged. To make this easier to do, stick a small piece of paper next to your camera so you can locate it quickly and easily.

Another trick when presenting is to look at the camera so that your audience feels you are looking directly at them, which helps to keep them engaged.

TIP #6: Avoid distracting hairstyles, jewelry or clothes. This means shiny fabrics, bold patterns (screens hate stripes and checks) and oversized jewelry are a no-no.

TIP #7: Make sure your background isn’t distracting either. If your home décor is unsuitable, you could add in a virtual custom background. Most platforms – including Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangout – offer these. Alternatively, you could invest in a branded backdrop to help showcase and promote your business. Display and exhibition stand companies can assist you with this. Just remember to use a design that is not overly distracting; a bold logo and tagline works well, positioned in a way that they will be clearly visible when you sit in front of the backwall.

So many visual cues are lost through screens that you need to work extra hard to catch and keep everyone’s attention.

TIP #8: Check if you will be on screen even when you are not presenting. Many webinars, for example, show all of the speakers throughout the session. If this is going to be the case, make an effort to look interested and engaged in the discussions. Don’t look at your phone or multi-task.

TIP #9: Lastly – bring your energy to the presentation. So many visual cues are lost through screens that you need to work extra hard to catch and keep everyone’s attention. Standing while your talk can help, as it also allows you some freedom of movement. Just make sure you don’t stray off screen!