Improve Your Virtual Meeting Presence

  • April 27, 2022
  • by V2V Healthcare Communications
  • Speaker Training,Technology

Over the past couple of years, many of us have seen how easy and accessible it is to meet online. Even though meeting virtually has now become second nature, we can often see the difference between someone who understands the nuances of presenting on camera compared with those that do not. Even the most accomplished public speakers sometimes struggle to present themselves virtually with the same effect as they do in person. Something is lost in translation and it becomes evident to anyone watching, even if it‘s hard to put your finger on what exactly is off. For key opinion leaders (KOLs) and speakers presenting virtually, it can be very overwhelming and can potentially impact their ability to convey the information in a professional manner.

Fortunately, there are a few simple tips and tricks for improving one’s virtual screen presence, and by employing these, it can help you appear more comfortable and confident on camera. While higher-quality equipment will always result in better picture and audio quality, the following tips are easy to implement and can make an instant improvement to your virtual presence.

Camera and Microphone

Let’s start with the camera and, more specifically, how it’s positioned. Framing yourself on screen properly can make a huge difference in how you look on camera. TIP: Position your web camera centered above the screen or monitor that you will be using throughout the meeting and tilting it slightly down for the most flattering angle. This creates the appearance of maintaining eye contact with your audience.

Next, you’ll want to create a small buffer of space between the top of your head and the top edge of the camera’s frame—imagine an apple sitting on the top of your head and try to leave that much space. You can accomplish this by physically adjusting the tilt on your web camera or by sitting closer or further away from the camera.

Once your camera is optimized, review your audio setup and to confirm that you can hear the audience and that the audience can hear you clearly. TIP: Use a headset with a built-in microphone, if possible. Not only will your voice come through sharper and more clearly, it can help to reduce background noise and will also eliminate the possibility of creating an audio feedback loop in which the sound coming from the computer’s speakers is then picked up by the computer’s microphone.

Lighting

Having proper lighting means much more than simply making sure that you can see your materials and screen. The key to looking great in virtual meetings is to make sure that YOU are well lit.

Be wary of things such as over lighting or having excessive light coming from behind. Having too much light directly focused on the speaker’s face results in their face appearing to glow. Conversely, having too much light shining on the speaker from behind can cause them to appear dark and silhouetted—sitting in front of a brightly lit window, even with shades or curtains drawn, can create this effect.

Ideally, you want a controllable light source that can be placed directly behind or above the web camera’s to illuminate the speaker’s face. TIP: A ring-light with adjustable brightness and color tone is recommended but you can also use a small lamp or two. With your light source in place, it’s then a simple matter of tweaking the position to light the speaker’s face properly. Make adjustments until there are no shadows and if you have a ring light, adjust the brightness and tone. If you are unsure of how well-lit you are, it’s best to jump on your meeting platform and test, if possible, or use your web camera’s preview to take pictures and adjust as necessary.

Environment and Background

Proper lighting is only a small portion of the overall environment and background. You should use the preview from the camera to analyze the environment as it will be seen by the audience. TIP: As mentioned above, you should avoid sitting in front of bright light source, such as with a window directly behind you. Look for any elements in your background that may be distracting (eg, mirrors and reflective items) or reveal anything you wouldn’t want the audience to see (eg, clutter). In general, you want your environment to be neat, tidy, and professional so as not to shift the focus from you to those of your surroundings. Some virtual platforms support digital backgrounds or the ability to blur your background which is handy if you are unable to modify your environment. If you can’t change your background, you might consider purchasing a hanging backdrop that you can place behind you to hide your environment. There are many options that look professional, are inexpensive, and very easy to hang on a wall or with a stand. Checking your background is a simple tip, but one that’s often overlooked.

Background Noise

Many people remember to silence their phone before speaking, either virtually or in person, but there are many other potential noises and distractions to consider. One of the most common is from the computer itself. TIP: Audio notifications for emails and other computer applications have a tendency to be overlooked and chime in at the worst times. You should silence notifications on your computer and phone before your presentation begins. Again, this is where a good headset and microphone come in handy, as the speaker will be the only one hearing the sounds if they aren’t disabled.

Other potential noises to look out for at home include pets and family members unintentionally making noise by watching television nearby or using appliances such as vacuum cleaners. At the office, you should notify coworkers of the need for quiet and make sure you mute your desk phone.

Dress

As in any public-speaking event, a speaker should already know the importance of dressing appropriately, but like many of the aforementioned tips just described, there are several things to consider when preparing for a virtual presentation. It’s a simple matter of understanding how clothing appears on camera. It’s best to avoid wearing extreme colors like black and white as they make it hard for the camera to balance the exposure. Stay away from patterns because they are often distracting and some can create a moiré effect that makes the pattern appear to strobe and move. Finally, avoid jewelry or accessories that might reflect light or obstruct your face. TIP: Wear solid, jewel-tone colors such as emerald green, maroon red, sapphire, or turquoise blue that contrast with your background to really stand out in a good way.

 

Using these easy tips and tricks to prep yourself and your setting will instantly improve how you come across on camera in a virtual meeting. When these elements are all addressed, it visually reinforces to the audience that the person they are listening to is indeed knowledgeable and credible.


About the Author

Vision2Voice Healthcare Communications (V2V) is a healthcare communications agency that serves the pharmaceutical industry. Our mission is to bring the highest quality medical education solutions to our clients for the benefit of patients everywhere.

Other Posts You Might be Interested In

3 Tips for a Strong Speaker's Bureau
How Speaker Training Has Become a New Hybrid Paradigm
The Things Really Amazing Speakers Do

Comments

No Comments Found...



Leave a comment