Technology Basics For Online Presentations

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"Don’t let the tech side of online presentations put you off - it doesn’t take much to learn these few basics so you can start to feel more confident about it."

Have you taken your first step to conquering online presentations?

If you’re concerned about the technology involved in online communication, then here’s an overview of the five technology basics you need to know about.

The five areas to become familiar with are:

  • Camera
  • Lighting
  • Audio
  • Background
  • Zoom basics

Camera

The first things to consider about your camera is the quality. The in-built camera on your laptop is not likely to be the best quality. Use an external webcam and place it at the top of your computer instead. You’ll look much more professional if the quality of your camera is of a high standard. Logitech do some excellent webcams.

The next thing to think about is your camera angle – how you hook into the camera. It’s best to be at eye level with the camera so that you are not looking up or down into the camera.

You can use a stand or place it on a box so that your computer screen is raised high enough for your camera to be at eye level.

Lighting

 

For meetings or online presentations via Zoom, it’s a good idea to use additional lighting to light up your face – this can be in the form of a simple desk lamp.

However, there are other options such as ring lights that you can clip on to the top of your computer or LED lights on stands that you can place behind your laptop on either side.

The main thing is to make sure your face is not too dark or in shadow or else too bright or over exposed.

If you’re workspace is well lit with natural light, then you can use the light from your window. However, if you’re too close the window the light can get too bright and you may become over exposed. If this happens then you can get a plain white net curtain to diffuse the strength of the light.

Audio

It’s a good idea to use an external microphone for better audio quality rather than the inbuilt one in your computer. Here are some options.

If you record from your desktop or laptop you can either use a USB microphone that you can position near your computer, get a lapel microphone that you clip on to your shirt or use the headphones that came with your smartphone, with the inbuilt microphone.

I prefer to use an external USB mic because I find I can use it for both online presentations and videos with ease and not having to worry about any cables.

However, if you’re concerned about noise, you may need to use headphones so you can purchase noise cancelling headphones.

If you record from a phone it’s pretty much the same options except instead of a USB mic you can get a mic that plugs into your phone socket.

One additional point to consider is that if you don’t use headphones and you attend an online meeting for your presentation then get a set of speakers so that you can hear the participants well enough. The sound quality from the inbuilt speakers on your computer is not as effective as speakers.

Background

Trying to get the background just right is something that can be very time consuming indeed.

The thing to remember is to aim to get your background as clutter free as possible, just so that it’s not a distraction for your audience. However, don’t spend too much time trying to get it just right. Your content is what’s most important.

If you prefer to use a virtual background instead, the main thing to keep in mind is to ensure you use a green screen behind you and that you are well lit. If the green screen is not well lit it won’t work and will start to flicker in areas of shadow. Also ensure your computer has the right specifications for using a green screen, you can check here https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/360043484511-System-requirements-for-Virtual-Background

Zoom basics

Zoom is a popular platform to use for virtual communication. The key to being confident on Zoom is simply to become familiar with the basics.

There are a lot of functions on Zoom, most of which you will not need for your presentation but it’s worth becoming confident with the most basic functions that you will need.

The key points to remember are that you are responsible for your camera and audio unless the host has chosen otherwise.

Learn to choose which microphone to use for your presentation, how to unmute yourself and how to turn your camera on and off.

Also learn how to share your screen for when you want to use PowerPoint slides or share other images or even videos as part of your presentation.

Lastly, be aware which view you would like to see, gallery view, where you see all participants, or speaker view, where the person speaking is on the main screen.

It’s a good idea to be familiar with the basics so that when you do your presentation you can focus on your talk and not worry about being unsure about the technology involved. Don’t let the tech side of online presentations put you off, it doesn’t take much to learn these few basics before you can start to feel more confident about it.

Once you become more familiar with these five areas – camera, lighting,  audio, background and zoom basics – you’ll start to feel much more confident about giving online presentations.

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