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Making your Virtual Performance Mega Memorable

Amber Daines | 6 June, 2024

Bringing some Z-z-za-Zoom to your Zoom Room

It’s four years since the pandemic first shut down the world as we know it, and in 2024, much has essentially gone back to BAU in how we deliver keynotes, panel presentations, and other speaker engagements, many being live (or hybrid) events once more.

Yet the online presentation remains a mainstay, and I deliver once every few weeks – perfect for someone who now resides a few hours away from the Sydney CBD, where much of the conference circuit plays out.

Here are my tips for your next online presentation to keep audiences engaged from the waiting room to wrap up.

Prepare the Tech

Your laptop should be at eye height. Use books to elevate it. This will give the impression that you are sitting across from the person or people you are talking to. You don’t want people looking up your nose or across your head to a vast space. The number of media interview crosses, or business webinars I see where speakers look like they just turned the laptop on and hoped for the best is cringeworthy.

Don’t sit too close to the screen. People should be able to see your entire head and down to the edge of your table. This lets you communicate with your hands – something quite natural and helps drive a point home.

Keep a little screen to see what you look like all the time. This will help you notice certain things you can secretly and instantly fix without someone else pointing it out.

Use plain, still backgrounds. Animated or virtual green screen backgrounds take away from your reality, and as we have learned from the memes online with kitten filters, they can be rather tricky to get rid of. Instead, pick a spot or well-lit room with lighting on your face or above you. Natural light is excellent when it works, but a simple clip-on ring light lets you have an even light across your face, even if it’s cloudy outside or in the evening.

Body Language Matters More

All your clients and colleagues know what you look like, and the screen can become a way to look even slicker with great lighting, angles, and a filter.

Do not face the camera directly. Looking directly at the camera can come across as confrontational. Angle yourself to a certain degree – this softens your look and makes you more approachable.

When making a point, turn your nose to face the camera directly, and when making an important point, turn your nose and navel while looking directly at the camera. This will ensure that your point is taken seriously!

Everyone should log in separately on their own laptop in a boardroom group meeting with another company or client. This will ensure everyone knows who is talking, and no one has to shout from across the boardroom table to be heard.

Suppose you are presenting something; alternate between the video option and explaining a critical point and the slides. We never want all the main points on a single slide – share information point by point as you go through the presentation. This will ensure that people don’t read ahead and lose interest.

Practice! There is no escaping this step. Try to sound natural; your expertise will come through that Zoom feed once those nerves get under control. The key is to know you are prepared and rehearsed.

To ramp up your speaker skills, we’d love to help you become more polished and confident faster – see our Business Leadership Presentation Skills programs.

Amber Daines on a Zoom call