4 Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills Online

Go from deer in headlights to cool, calm and collected

With COVID-19 ruing the party this year, most of our connections have gone online! The most significant difference in presenting to a room full of people versus presenting to a camera in a studio is the amount of energy you need to generate to take charge of the situation.

When presenting at an in-person event, you generally have a sense of ‘where the room is at’ both mentally and emotionally. You get to experience an immediate feedback loop that affirms to your brain that the information you’re sharing is being well received. Your self-efficacy is strong, and you’re in a state of acceptance because of your past experiences on stage. You’re closer to your peak performance or flow state.

When presenting behind the camera; in a studio, at home or behind a work computer, you can expect your performance state to be less than optimal.

However, these four tips will help you present in a fun, comfortable and empowered manner.

 

TIP 1: Understand Your Camera Frame 📺

 

via GIPHY

When the audience receives your presentation on their computer screen, they will have a sense of intimacy. They may feel as if they’re meeting with you outside the lecture room to discuss a topic one-on-one.

In-studio:

• The videographer will most likely shoot you in an intimate frame, meaning from your chest and shoulder height to just above your head.

• Lighting will add an element of warmth to your body that might not be a sensation you’re familiar with on stage.

Behind your laptop or computer screen:

• Set up your space so that your chest, shoulders and the area just above your head are the focal points on the screen.

• Think about how your background is informing your audience. If there is clutter in your space, clear it, so your audience is not distracted.

• Choose an environment that has little-to-no background items. Setting yourself up in front of a curtain or a plain coloured wall is ideal!

 

TIP 2: The Eyes Tell All 👀

 

via GIPHY

The eyes are the parts of your body that will ‘POP’ in a video presentation. The videographer will provide lighting that will light them up and help you to connect with your audience. If presenting behind your laptop, find a well-lit, sunny space to set up.

In-studio:

• Your eye line needs to be slightly to the right or left of the camera lens. Choose a side you’re most comfortable with and stick to it!

• You’re aiming for a slight shift in the eye-line. Not too far away from the lens as the audience will lose a sense of connection with you.

• Imagine that you’re presenting to a favourite student as your eye-line remains softly focused off to one side of the camera lens. This helps you build a sense of comfort and safety as you present in an unfamiliar environment.

Behind your laptop or computer screen:

• Look warmly and directly into the lens of the camera. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but there are visualisation practices like the one below that can help you feel more at ease.

• Look through the lens and visualise a person or student who makes you feel at ease and empowered. Imagine presenting to just one person instead of a room of many.

• When you have essential points in your content that need emphasis, look right into the lens with warm but direct eye focus, then wait a few moments for the information to sink in.

• Blink as needed – there’s no need to go “possum-eyed” during your presentation.

 

 

TIP 3: Maximise Your Vocal Range 🎙

via GIPHY

By using a lapel microphone, you eliminate the need to project your voice to the back of the room as you may previously have needed to do. In-studio and behind your laptop or computer screen:

• Keep your voice clear, dynamic and in a conversational style.

• Add some variety to the pace of your speech and use different pitches to keep the audience’s attention.

• A monotone voice makes it easy to lull your audience into a hypnotic state, so keep an element of surprise in your tone to keep your audience engaged.

Warm-up your voice by practicing vocal resonance exercises such as ‘hums’ and ‘lip bubbles’. These practices help you connect your voice with your breath with the least possible resistance.

 

TIP 4: Mind Your Body Language 🙅🏼‍♀️ 

via GIPHY

The nature of presenting on camera means your body movements tend to read ‘bigger’ than they do in person due to the framing of the environment. Aim to keep your body language gentler and more flowing vs strong and jagged.

In-studio:

• Standing at a lectern or podium means it’s easy to lean your body and break the chain of neutral posture.

• Breaking this chain means you compromise your breath and flow of communication.

• Keep your body posture neutral with spine straight, hips square, spine straight, shoulders back, chin and eye line directly in front of you, neither too high nor too low.

• The camera should frame the upper part of your body only so you can use hand gestures as you typically would when presenting in real life.

• Practice an “A stance” at the podium and use mental imagery techniques such as imagining you have a tail to help ground you as you’re presenting.

Behind your laptop or computer screen:

• You’ll most likely be seated so choose an ergonomically suitable chair and desk height. Alternately, you can present stranding up and the same principles apply.

• Your laptop or computer screen needs to be at a level that’s comfortable for a neutral eye-line.

• Your back should be straight, but not tense and your shoulders rolled back and down.

• Your head should be in line with your shoulders, and your eye-line should be straight ahead; not straining to look above or below the camera lens.

So there you have it. Simple tips that will help you maximise your impact behind the screen either at home or in a studio. 

💌 Bec Djapovic knows communication! 

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Bec is a curious, friendly, and creative storyteller who believes in the power of harnessing our innate creativity to be an unstoppable force for good. She’s a copywriter for big-hearted brands, a versatile voice-over artist and public speaking coach. And she offers bold business bosses high-quality and customer-focused work that turns browsers into loyal customers.