We are exceptionally proud to host Speaker and Communication Coach, Elia Nichols in our new series about working with virtual events. She brings a fresh and energetic voice to the world of webinars, exhibitions, trade shows and other types of virtual events. We look forward to bringing more of her cutting-edge methods, ideas and suggestions to the ever-expanding world of vir 3D virtual events and webinars.
7 things to do, and not to do, when Communicating and Presenting in Live Video!
Is MOST of your business done using Live Video platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams? How’s that going for you?
Many people are finding that meeting virtually is the best way to do business in these strange times.
The problem is, it is very different to communicate and present to others through a screen than it is to present to real people IN PERSON!
For this reason, a lot of my clients have said that they don’t feel as effective at doing business through live video, and some have even seen a drop in sales because “online communication isn’t as effective as selling in-person.” Others just feel plain awkward doing business through live video and are desperate to figure out how to make their online meetings and presentations more interesting and interactive.
Elia Nichols, Public Speaking and Communication Coach
Elia Nichols is a Public Speaking and Communication coach, as well as a television and film actress, who brings twenty years of teaching and coaching experience in speaking and presentation techniques, soft skills, and nonverbal and verbal communication. Elia works with clients to perfect their presence and speaking skills onstage, in the courtroom, classroom, boardroom and onscreen. She believes that charisma is a skill that can be learned and which, once mastered, has the potential to motivate, persuade, inspire, and advance business and personal interests.
Nichols works closely with her clients to develop their speaking and presentation skills, fine-tune their personal and professional appeal, and transform their ability to connect and attract in any setting. Her wide range of services is tailored to each client’s specific needs. With a Master degree in Acting, a tv/stage acting career, and high-level roles in Public and External Relations, Learning and Development, Elia has a strong understanding of the business, academic, and mass media worlds. Thanks to this diverse background, she offers a unique and original training experience that, in just a few weeks’ time, greatly improves the presentation and communication skills of each client.
Here are my 7 technical do’s and don’ts for how to present professionally in live video & virtual events!
1) Don’t bore OR overwhelm with your background.
Your background should be interesting enough that you look professional, but bland enough that it is not distracting. Don’t go for the virtual backgrounds or the “blur your background” options that Zoom gives you. They don’t always work well and do not come across as professional. Do put a plant to the left or right of you! Green looks good next to anyone!
2) Use an external microphone.
In Hollywood, there is a saying that, “Good sound makes video look better”. And darn if it ain’t true. Don’t rely on the internal mic inside your computer. Your audience will hear everything around you (including your dog and children) and it creates annoying echo.
- earbuds with a cable
- wireless earbuds
- even the single earcup headset with a boom mic—who doesn’t want to be like Madonna!?
- desk microphone with stand
3) Know where the MUTE button is!
Mute your microphone when you are not speaking. It is considered common courtesy in the virtual meeting world. When you are giving a presentation, kindly ask your “audience” to mute their microphones. If they want to comment or ask a question, they can use the chat feature.
4) Light your eyes!
Light your face from the front so that your eyes sparkle. Too bright? Beauty is pain, people! Stage actors get used to bright lights in their eyes after 1 minute. You can too!
If you don’t want monstrous shadows all over your face, stay away from side and back lighting.
Do put a light behind your device, shining directly on your face, or sit in front of a window with nice natural lighting. The LED ring light works wonders as does my 15-year old flexible Ikea lamp.
5) Center yourself in the computer screen frame.
The human brain likes symmetry. To visually please your audience, frame your face in the center of the screen. Don’t cut your head off, and don’t let there be too much space above your head either. Get close enough to the screen that we see your face well, but not so close that it distorts your image.
6) Eye Level to Camera
Your eyes should be at the same height as your computer’s camera. If your computer isn’t high enough, raise your computer so that the camera is EYE LEVEL. This is much more flattering than having the camera below you looking up at your neck.
7) Make love to that camera!
The black dot at the top of your computer is the camera lens. When you look right at the camera, which absolutely feels awkward at first, the other participants in your meeting experience good eye contact. Believe me, it is uncomfortable and unnatural to look right at the camera and not at the person on the screen in front of you. But it is the only way, virtually, to give the sense that you are looking into the person’s eyes, as you would do if you were having that meeting in-person.
To remind yourself where to look, stick a post-it note above your webcam that says: “Look Here!”.
Want a few more tips?
Love thyself!: Accept the way you look and sound on video. Why? Everything on video comes across as exaggerated. Your wrinkles, your crooked nose, your eyebrow scar. You’ll never love the way you look on video, so accept it, and change the things you DO have control over (such as background, lighting, audio).
Choose contacts over glasses: There is nothing more powerful than looking your audience in the eye—especially in the virtual world. Glasses reflect the lights around you as well as your computer screen, AND this reflection blocks your eyes. If possible, use contacts. If you have to use glasses, get non-reflective lenses.
Don’t wear sweatpants!: Please get dressed. Yes, you can attend a virtual meeting without pants or shoes but you’ll feel much more professional if you’re dressed as if you were having that meeting in person. Also if you don’t get fully dressed, this can always happen:
Note Will Reeve’s BOXER SHORTS?!?
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, do a test run: Try out all the tools you’ll be using (PP, new software, ring light, new earbuds, etc.) and work out the kinks beforehand! This will ensure you can concentrate on doing what you’re there for: communicating the best of yourself!
Stay tuned for body language and voice tips to excel in live video presentations!
Elia Nichols is a public speaking and communication coach, actress, and professor, who has worked throughout America and Italy and is proud to claim Florence, Italy as her home. Would you like Elia to coach you or your company how to present well in-person or in live video? For more information or to contact Elia for public speaking lessons, you can reach her here: