When I started Presentation Studio, we set out with the mission to rid the world of terrible PowerPoint. Over the last decade, I am pleased to say we have done just that. However, as the nature of corporate presentations change, so too does the definition of a terrible presentation. The latest iteration of this comes through the form of unengaging, unnecessary, and overwhelming video meetings.
Combatting ‘video fatigue’ requires a two-phased approach: first, you need to reduce the number of meetings you have and secondly, you need to improve the standard and engagement of the meetings you do have. This guide is designed to give you five practical steps you can take to improving the quality of your online meetings to empower you to help rid your organisation (and the world) of video fatigue!
But first, note on planning – 99% preparation, 1% inspiration.
Creating an engaging and energising virtual presentation takes a lot of planning and preparation. You have the almost impossible task of maintaining an audience’s focus and attention – virtually.
Firstly, you need to create your content – what message does your audience need to hear and how do they need to hear it? Spending the time to really understand your audience’s needs and crafting a message that engages those needs head-on requires time and research. Make sure you take the time early in the process, otherwise you may suffer the consequences later down the road. For more on planning, content click here.
Once you’ve locked down your content, it is time to practice, practice, practice. Even if you are a seasoned live presenter, presenting to the camera is a whole different ball game. Actors and Actresses know this better than anyone, it’s why they implement a different set of skills when acting in front of a camera compared to acting on stage.
Below are five presenting to camera techniques to be aware of so you can improve the quality of your next meeting and do your part in ridding the world of ‘video fatigue’!
- Keep it conversational.
Cameras magnify performance, so real life doesn’t always look natural on camera. Normal tends to look larger than life. This is because in real life we are experiencing events in a wide shot. When we talk to someone, we might look in their eyes, but our vision includes much of our surrounds as well. This means that when it comes to connecting with an audience, you don’t need to push vocally or physically beyond what you might for a conversation with a friend. Keep in the front of your mind the idea your world is small spatially. This will help you to stop trying to reach the camera which could be quite far away. Get comfortable with the idea that the camera is reaching to you, trust that it will capture your every move and every thought.
- Be mindful of your gestures.
Gestures are an important part of presentations both on and offline. When it comes to gestures the rule of three’s is important to keep in mind. Any mannerism or action that is repeated more than three times becomes a distraction. This is especially true for online presentations, make sure you take control of any nervous ticks or fidgets you might have. Recording yourself during rehearsal and watching it back might be useful in identifying these unwanted gestures.
- Blocking is just as important online as it is offline.
Blocking is the staging of your movement throughout a presentation or performance. Body language is extremely important and when it comes to presenting to camera, your movements need to be more precise than ever. If your movements are too slow, you might be at risk of distracting your audience, if you move to fast internet connection or poor-quality camera can make you blurry and pixelated. In rehearsal, practice in front of the camera working out what movements help drive home your point, and which distract. Send a recording to your colleagues or someone you trust to help get an outsider’s perspective on what movement works.
- You are what you wear.
It’s important to inform yourself on which styles and colours suit your complexion and if applicable how to apply make-up to look natural and fresh. For the camera, it’s advisable to wear clothes that are fitting and simple rather than baggy or too flowy. Sometimes wearing clothes that you’d normally present in, can help you get into the presenter’s mindset. Make sure you wear shoes, so you feel more in character!
- Lights, Camera, Action!
When presenting online, you often might find yourself playing two roles – presenter and tech person. Whether it’s ensuring you have a solid internet connection, making sure your background is professional or getting the lighting right – there is a lot to consider before you present.
- When it comes to background use a background image that is in line with your company brand. If you don’t have that kind of functionality, make sure you have a plain background behind you – no hard colours.
- When it comes to lighting make sure you have bright, soft lights. No harsh shadows or dark moody lighting.
- When it comes to sound, consider purchasing an external condenser microphone or hand sheets on the wall to make the space denser. Wide spaces usually mean more echoes!
Getting the production parts of your presentation right can make or break your performance and be the difference between contributing to or defeating ‘video fatigue’.
There is a lot to think about when it comes to Presenting Online. If you’d like to get the most out of your digital presentations, why not train with some of the best corporate speaker trainers in Australia.
Book in a Present-From-Home training session today!