Using a webcam on large webinars or even on smaller collaborative team sessions helps you engage with your audience and your colleagues. With the use of Skype, Zoom, WebEx, and many other web and communication platforms, in combination with the fact that all laptops and tablets have built-in webcams, makes video easier than ever. We thought we would share some simple tricks to help you look your best on webcam, because let’s face it — webcam isn’t like TV – you don’t have professional lighting or a production team directing you (usually). We guarantee if you follow these simple tips you will look professional on your webcam.
- Make sure you have the best internet connection possible – You don’t want your video to look choppy or pixelated because you are on a slow Wi-Fi connection. If planning on presenting or speaking on a webcam, be plugged into your modem directly, and test the webcam quality out ahead of time.
- Dress professional (at least from the shoulders up!) Looking put together and well groomed, and sitting up straight – these things will make you feel confident and ready to shine.
- Raise your laptop or device up so the lens is just about at the top of your head. This is the best angle, especially for the wide-angle lenses that are used in most webcams. You also don’t want to sit too close to the lens, sit back a bit as the wide-angle lens can exaggerate features a bit the closer you are.
- Lighting – This is a BIG one. Make sure you are not back lit, and turn off any overhead fluorescent lights if possible. The best is to have a lamp or desk light right over your computer centered with your webcam lens. This will illuminate your face the best.
- Smile, and look at the lens when you are speaking, not your video screen. It is in our nature to want to look at ourselves everyone now again but remember looking at the lens is akin to making eye contact with your audience.
Virtual Event Manager | V2
Panel Discussions are a very popular format – you see them on talk shows, radio shows, and now podcasts. Panel Discussions are a great format to integrate into your webinars as well. Even if you aren’t doing live video where you can see the speakers talking to each other, panel discussions can work really well in an audio-visual (slides/demo) format. Below are some tips on how to make your panel discussion shine:
- Consider your Audience – Gather questions/topics from your audience prior to the webinar on the registration form. This will help you hone in on the subjects that really matter to your attendees, and allow your speakers to discuss this together ahead of time and really fine tune the material and how it relates to the presentation at large.
- Use Video and Images – Consider having live video of your panelists! Even if they aren’t together in the same location, people love to see the faces of the speakers. If you can’t do video, have the panelists bios and photos up on slides or in a speaker bio widget, so people can still get a visual.
- Practice the hand offs and discussion flow between panelists. For panelist discussions, it is important that each speaker not only review their own material they plan to cover, but that they all practice together. In a virtual setting, if panelists are not in the same room, they won’t have the same visual cues they normally would when having a conversation.
- Stick to a Timeline – Creating an outline that sticks to the allotted time can be difficult, but try to map out your time in your practices, and remember to leave time for live questions from your audience. They will appreciate you being aware of their busy schedules.
Virtual Event Manager | V2
- Simplicity is key. Don’t over do it with tons and tons of text. Your slides should be an addition to your presentation. You shouldn’t be reading off your slides verbatim.
- Limit bullet points & text – images and charts are more powerful when telling your story
- Here’s a biggie – limit your animations, transitions, and builds. Too many of these can be overwhelming and cause you to get off track. Also, some transitions and animations may not translate well to your webcast platform, depending on what you are using. Always check with your producer on best practices.
- Use high-quality images
- It’s great to have a theme and company template to incorporate. Avoid using the PowerPoint Templates.
- Incorporate charts where appropriate, and make sure numbers and text are legible.
- When using colors, stick to your theme or your company colors. This makes your presentation more professional and cohesive
- Choose basic, clean fonts and keep it consistent. Sans serif fonts are cleaner and easier to read.
Below are some great tips on how to engage and get your audience hooked into your presentation within the first few minutes. The biggest items to think about from the attendees’ perspective are: What am I going to get out of it? How does this benefit me? Start simple by filling in the below remarks with content that fits your presentation.
- During this session you will hear from (speaker names/bio/background, how their expertise brings value).
- You will have the opportunity to ask questions about (key topics to be covered in the presentation).
- You will discover where to get more information about (great idea to include contact information and other handouts at the end as well).
- During this session you will see a demonstration of (software or other products that might benefit from a live demo).
Follow these tips and we guarantee attendees will be engaged, ask questions, and stay for the duration of your presentation!
V2 | Virtual Event Manager
Many of you have probably attended webinars or webcasts where the speaker demos an application or software from their desktop to give a sneak-peak or preview to audiences that may be interested in purchasing a software or application license. While most speakers tout their “live demo” in the webcast description, sometimes, those “live demos” are pre-recorded and shared as video content. I know, I know…gasp! The reason many speakers do this is to make their demos as smooth as possible and to be able to edit out any mistakes, pauses, or “ums.” However, pre-recording your demo is not necessarily always the answer, sometimes it’s best to run the demo live. Let’s take a look at each option in more depth, shall we?
Here are some top instances when pre-recording your demo is a good option:
- If the speaker who is giving the demo cannot be on the live session, then it is obviously a good option to have them pre-record their demo content and share it as a video. In this situation, you don’t have much choice if they are unable to make the scheduled time of the webinar.
- If the content you plan on sharing is highly technical and requires graphic heavy and bandwidth intensive software or multiple applications to achieve, then it may be a good choice to pre-record the demo as a video. Trying to share too many data rich applications at once can really slow down your connection to the webcast and cause a bigger delay in the audience demonstration.
- Your speaker will be traveling or is in a location with poor internet. This is a good reason to pre-record the demo in this instance to avoid delays or issues connecting to the webcast sharing Having a solid wired connection to the internet is KEY when presenting on any webinar or webcast!
- Some best practices to follow when recording your demo – use software that allows for good audio quality and try not to make the video too large in size. Make sure you are checking with the webcast provider on optimal video bit-rate specs to ensure the video isn’t going to run into buffering issues.
Here are some ideas on when to run your webcast demos live. (Don’t Be Scared!)
- Your demo is relatively straightforward – you are sharing one application, platform, or software, and you’ve tested the sharing option in the webcast and everything is working fine. Doing the demo live does tend to sound less “scripted” and you can better respond to questions as people are asking them.
- Often, presenting your demo live allows you to bring up your sharing screen again later in the session. Perhaps an audience member asked a question about a feature that you initially hadn’t thought about sharing; doing a live demo gives you the freedom to do so.
- Practice, Practice, Practice. One way to alleviate your nervousness about doing a live demo is by doing what you do during any presentation…practice! Practice by yourself, in front of colleagues, in the webcast meeting room. Practicing will calm your nerves and will allow your presentation to flow naturally.
V2 | Virtual Event Manager
We work with a lot of companies, big and small and have worked with all kinds of presenters on the webinars and webcasts that we produce. As they say, “practice makes perfect” when it comes to giving a top notch online presentation. However with our many years of experience in this field, we have gleaned some very important tips if you are presenting on a webcast that will make you feel prepared and less anxiety ridden for those last 30 minutes before presentation kickoff.
- Have a back-up of your slides – either a hard copy, or a soft copy saved to your desktop in the background that you can easily reference. This will give you peace of mind if you have any trouble with your internet connection. Hard copy is most fool proof – in case your computer shuts down because you forgot to install those updates! This way you still have a visual of your slides, but can have another colleague or your producer move slides for you as a back up.
- Grab a glass of water. This sounds pretty basic, but we always recommend this when we talk to new virtual presenters on rehearsals. Water or tea is best to clear your throat – did you know that milk in your coffee actually can create dry-mouth?
- Shut down your mobile phone – We recommend this not only so this isn’t buzzing or ringing in the background, but also so you don’t get distracted by checking your email. Same goes on your laptop or computer – shut down your email and all other applications you don’t need. This will keep you focused on the presentation at hand.
- Reboot your computer before logging in and presenting on any webcast. The morning of or even the day before we recommend this – that way if there are any updates that need to finish, etc., you won’t be caught with prompts in the middle of your presentation.
- Make sure you login to the webcast at least 30 minutes in advance. Whether a rookie or an all-star at virtual presentations, we do this on every single webcast we produce to ensure presenters can get connected, and can do audio checks, and make sure everything is set to go. This time will allow you to feel prepared and not rushing minutes before you are scheduled to begin.
V2 | Virtual Event Manager
Let’s pretend your webinar or webcast is a party. Okay, these informative and lead-generation gatherings maybe aren’t quite the same without the appetizers and beverages — but on the planning level, there’s that same nagging fear. What if nobody shows up?
For webinars (and, presumably, parties) — we believe that high attendance can be linked directly to the invitation email, and by extension, the registration page.
Email is simply the most effective channel for promoting webinars. The 2013 ON24 Webinar Benchmark Report states that 80% of registrations come from a combination of email and site promotions.
Your invitation emails are key to a successful webinar! Let’s take a look at some proven strategies to increase the effectiveness of your email Invitation.
Webinar invitation emails are all about making it easy for people to say yes to registering and by extension, attending.
- Be concise, and use an active voice. People don’t want to read a novel to figure out what your event is about. They want to be able to easily see in a few seconds or less what the event is about. Use a clear call to action like “Sign up Now” or “Register Here” so they know they have the opportunity to attend a virtual event.
- Optimize your email for HTML, plain text, image-free and mobile viewing. Make sure your email can be opened in all of these formats.
- Use bullet points and numbered lists. Across the board, people like lists – they are easy to read and digest, and our eyes naturally gravitate toward them.
- Your email subject line is maybe one of the most important parts of the invite. This is the first opportunity to grab attention and get your prospect to open the email. It should feel personal and exciting, and should be between roughly 25 to 50 characters at the most. We also suggest testing out different subject lines to different segments of your audience.
- Use a sense of urgency to get the audience to register sooner rather than later. Using phrases such as “space as limited” and “Register Now” are good ones to get people to sign up.
- Include a short summary of the webinar topic as well as bios and photos of the speakers.
- Make sure the graphical elements and branding match the registration page for the event so everything is cohesive and isn’t confusing to the audience.
- Keep things personal by using their first names at the top of the email. People are more inclined to open emails if you use the recipient’s name in the first line of the email.
We guarantee if you follow these tips, your invitation emails will get more views and you will see a rise in attendance.
V2 | Virtual Event Manager
When creating a registration page for your event, you want to be clear, concise and engaging so as to entice people to register for and attend your event. First of all, picking an interesting topic to the audience you are trying to reach is key. Now once you have that interesting topic and speaker(s) lined up, what do you include on the registration page?
Here are a few simple tips we recommend when setting up your webinar registration pages:
- Introduce presenters on the landing page, with brief bios that explain who they are and why they are experts on this topic.
- Include a summary of what the webinar will cover. Bullet points are best. Also creating and listing a dedicated Twitter hashtag for your event is recommended so people can tweet along during the meeting.
- Clearly list the date, time, and duration of the webinar along with a link either on the page or in the confirmation email that allows registrants to add the event to their calendars.
- Clearly explain when and how the webinar will be accessible. For instance, make it clear once they register they will receive a confirmation email for instance with the login details.
- Explain the value of your webinar. What will people be able to do after they leave your webinar that they weren’t able to prior to attending?
- Remind folks that the session is being recorded and that they will be given access to the archive as well after the event to share with colleagues.
V2 | Virtual Event Manager
Below we’ve listed some key tips to breathe some energy into your online presentations and make people sit up and listen. These tips are tried and true practices done by some of the top speakers in the industry.
Use slides as a presentation aid. Your slides should be a supporting piece of your presentation, not the whole webcast word for word. Not using your slides correctly for the presentation can have a huge impact on your audience maintaining their interest and communicating the main ideas of your presentation.
Incorporate images and graphics that help explain your points – avoid making slides too text heavy
Highlight the specific area on the slide that you are talking about. You can do this with animations or with the use of the highlighter or pointer tool in the webcast console you are using.
Don’t show slides too quickly. Give attendees some time to absorb the material on the slide before moving on.
Use animations, but use them sparingly. Having tons of animations on one slide can get cluttered and distract from your message. Keep things simple.
Use bullets or numbers for text to keep things organized
Don’t just read the Slides. Instead, have an outline of your speaking points. Reading a script will be obvious to your audience, and will not be as engaging. You may worry that you’ll forget something if you don’t have a script. If you use an outline, then you will have noted the important points. Specific facts and figures should also be written out. Very important points should also be on slides. If, however, you do forget something, it is not something that the audience would realize anyway. Preparation is the key.
Use Humor (where appropriate). Integrating a little bit of humor into your presentation is a great way to connect to your audience and capture their attention.
Smile! Even if you are not seen on the webcast people will be able to tell if you are smiling. Smiling makes us speak better.
Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse. Practice makes perfect! Do a mock presentation and record yourself, even if it is just the audio portion, to see where you can improve your delivery and slides.
Speaking on a webcast can be a rewarding experience for you and for your audience. Take the time to jazz up your presentation using the tips that have been given here. The more care you take in your preparation and attention to detail the more you will get out of your presentation, be it audience engagement, ROI, or leads.
V2 | Virtual Event Manager