Putting together a good presentation can be nerve wracking - you are juggling so many elements - from your slide show to the way you stand to being sure your messages resonate. And this gets more complicated when you are part of a panel of presenters. It’s hard enough when your audience is in the same room, but what happens when presenters and audience are all in different locations and you need to deliver via video conferencing? This adds an additional layer of logistics and session management that can feel daunting - but don’t worry, there are some things you can do to make this a presentation to be proud of.
Video conferencing technology that works for you
When everyone is in the same room, there are no questions around who is speaking when or who is in the audience. You control access to the room and can more easily pass the baton from presenter to presenter with a word, a nod or literally handing them a microphone. What happens when you are geographically scattered? You need to rely on your technology to support:
- Controlling access to the video conference session. You want your invited guests there - no more, and no less. Unfortunately, some conferencing systems, like join.me, use the same online meeting room for every one of your meetings - so once someone has been to one of your video conferences, web meeting or conference call, they know your meeting room address. This may be fine if you are manually “allowing” each attendee in one at a time - but if you have 20 invited guests, you might be tempted to just “unlock” the meeting - and there goes your control. If you have different back-to-back sessions planned, how ugly could it be if you are VP of HR rolling out the benefits to different groups of workers - exempt staff at 1pm and the unionized staff at 2pm - and someone dials in at the wrong time? You also won’t have any way of knowing who actually attended. Without the lock on the meeting, the attendees aren’t logged into the system in any tangible way. With horn, you can easily host a secure session where only those with invitations can access - and your next session can be in a separate “meeting room” that you can switch into with just a couple of clicks.
- Controlling who is seen and heard. Having a video conference with many attendees and multiple presenters in disparate locations - potentially even across the globe - requires technology that can support you in identifying who is who - and giving each group specific rights. Say you want your presenters to be able to speak and be seen via video at all times, broadcasting the presentation to the audience. The audience should be able to see and hear, but not chime in to ask questions until you open up the floor for audio. Zoom’s webinar meetings can do this - but it is separately licensed and priced (higher) than their standard meeting software.
- All your video conferencing needs - and more. Many organizations have an array of technology licenses to address their various online meeting, voice conferencing and broadcasting needs. It’s not unusual to see the see one paying for join.me, Zoom, and GoToWebinar at the same time - wracking up lots of cost and still having unhappy users. Having a flexible system like horn, you can use whether you’re holding a video conference for 10 or 100 - and can also leverage for your other web and voice meeting needs. This can run the gamut from live and recorded broadcasts to using in your tech support or customer service calls to internal project meetings. One platform that meets wider needs lets your team be comfortable with a single, feature rich tech - and is a much more cost-effective and flexible approach for most businesses.
- Continuing to enhance and reflect your brand. It’s nice when you can have your internal folks using a video conferencing system that reflects your brand’s usual “look and feel.” It’s imperative for prospective and current clients that your brand moves seamlessly through all your embedded technology for interactions and communications, including video conferencing platform. So ask about “white labelling” and customizing the interface for your organization with any potential provider.
The best video conferencing tech can’t help unless…
Great tech is a huge part of a successful presentation delivered via video conferencing - it’s not the only thing. You still need to be prepared and practice certain habits that will make it rock:
- Personal preparation. If you work in an open floor plan or your office is in a noisy area, you’ll want to identify and reserve a quiet location to broadcast from. In addition to making sure it is quiet, you’ll also want to test the audio and video ahead of your meeting day. Do a short recording and play it back. Is it truly quiet - or are you so used to the traffic noise from below you don’t notice it anymore? What is behind you on the video? Is it a lot of visual “noise” - or worse - something that could be “corporate secrets” or considered inappropriate by the audience? And are you looking right into the camera on your screen - or are they looking at the top of your head as you look down at your notes on the desk while you mumble? You want to be looking directly into the camera, speaking clearly - loud enough but not shouting - and have a neutral environment.
- Panel preparation. Share with your other presenters the “tips and tricks” that you are employing for ensuring a good location for the video conference - quiet, good visuals etc. Provide them with the agenda/flow of events you’ve planned and confirm that everyone is on the same page. You’ll also want to invite to be presenters and share specific instructions for accessing the video conferencing system.
- Tech practice. Practice launching the different stages of the video conference with one or more of the other presenters (it’s great when all can do a “dress rehearsal’ but not always practical or possible). Document the elements/details and share with the other presenters, along with the agenda. If you are using something like horn, one time through and you should feel comfortable to go!
Pairing your well-planned content with great tech and overall preparation can make for a successful presentation via video conferencing!