Tips on making your next online presentation professional and effective.

If anyone here hasn’t checked out our podcast yet, or doesn’t know we have one then give a listen here! We just finished up Episode #2. We’ve got a solid rhythm going with it, the pacing is great, and its full of big ideas for your online event contingencies. But that’s not all!

Are your children driving you wild at home? Do you need to impose consequences for misbehavior? We strongly recommend forcing them to listen to this podcast. Think about it. You’ll get 15 solid minutes of productive helpful suggestions about online event solutions, and they’ll get what should feel like an eternity to reflect on their actions while enduring boring adult stuff. Were they extra bad? Make them write a report on it. Win-win.

As you might have noticed from these shameless plugs, we’d like to promote this podcast and get that click counter clicking. We worked hard on it! But beyond that we thought it’d be helpful to use this week’s blog post to walk you through our planning, editing, and recording process as a guide to making an effective audio or visual presentation. If you’re seeking out the best way to connect with your remote staff right now, you’ll definitely want to give this list a read through.

So, let’s talk about how Decibel produces its weekly podcast (which again, you can listen to here), and use that as the basis to describe how you should plan and execute any type of online presentation.

Get the Right Equipment

Sure, everyone’s computer now comes standard with a microphone and webcam but there are relatively cheap ways you can improve this set up for significantly better results. If your presentation only requires you to sit at a desk, then your integrated webcam is likely fine. If you’re using a real whiteboard or charts, you might want something with higher resolution so everyone can see the details. We recommend this guy right here:

Amazon Link

Your microphone is a different story. Integrated computer microphones tend to pick up a great deal of room noise. So if you were attempting a Skype-based conference call in your bathroom and thought you were pulling a fast one, you weren’t. Everyone could hear the echo on tiles and knew exactly what you were up to.

Try a nice external mic that cuts out a lot of the extraneous noise. You’ll get a much warmer, crisp, and clear sound that makes listening significantly easier. Here’s a couple entry level examples that will be more than enough to do the job:

Amazon Link

Amazon Link

Make a Road Map 

I know exactly one person who can speak brilliantly and concisely off the cuff. They know exactly how long they’re going to speak for, they know all the right notes to hit, their arguments make logical sense, and they never get tripped up. Everyone else I know starts out strong and gets lost in the weeds after 10 seconds. Like Joe Biden.  It’s a lot easier to stay on point when you’ve written up a road map and it’s a lot easier to listen to someone when they’re organized. You’ll want to include: 1) key points or topics in a logical order 2) benchmarks for length of time spent on each topic. You can check these off as you go along and keep track of your time to make sure you’re nailing everything efficiently. Any virtual conferencing platform like Zoom or Adobe Connect or Gotomeeting has time keeping functions by default. This brings us to our next point.

Always Have a Dry Run

Before we record our Podcast, we typically carve out a half hour to freely chat and allow for some themes to emerge from the noise. While we have a rough idea of what we’d like to record, these dry runs let us hone in on or flesh out particular key ideas, establish solid talking points, and get used to a conversational rhythm. We can’t emphasize enough how valuable this is.

If you’re recording or livestreaming a video there are additional things to consider here. What if your lighting is weird and the stream makes it look like you’ve made a poor man’s attempt at a film noir?  It’s distracting.

Have a dry run with your road map and review the video or audio. Make sure your audio and video are clear and professional. Identify the portions of your presentation where you’re liable to trip and put in a little extra effort to structure for time and clarity. You may well notice there was something big you forgot to include in your road map. No big deal, you can address it.

Always Have a Backup

The beauty of online video and audio streaming services is the ease of recording and creating backups. As much as I can’t stand the sound of my own voice, I always push through our rehearsal recordings to evaluate the quality of the sound and content. There’s also always the possibility that your rehearsal produced some magic that might not have been present in your performance run. Download some free open source video editing software like OpenShot to weave together your best moments.

This is especially useful if you’re planning to upload your streaming presentation as a VOD. Your remote employees may well be juggling a number of different responsibilities at the moment, and making a VOD available to them with all your greatest hits edited together will account for that need for flexibility. Record everything!

Get Interactive 

Sitting and watching or listening to a live streamed presentation can be tough, especially when you’re at home. You’re surrounded by countless toys, distractions and other immediate responsibilities. In addition to making an efficient and well-produced presentation, consider a streaming platform that allows for interaction. Platforms like Zoom can allow for private channels, file sharing, polling, and text-based chats that allow everyone in the virtual room to be actively involved in the experience. After you’ve prepped everything else. Find places in your presentation that allow for live feedback, or live reactions to specific content.

Since polling is among the easiest ways to do this, we thought we’d direct you to Zoom’s very own blog where they provide suggestions for how to integrate them into your next presentation. 

For a great example of how these steps produce great results, I will again direct you to Decibel’s Podcast. Did you know we had a podcast? And as always, reach out to Decibel to get any and all online event solutions moving today.

David Sonntag
david@decibelmanagement.com
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