As virtual meetings and events become second nature, we want to make the tips and tricks to make their success second nature too.
Make sure you’re prepped and ready for your virtual event by reading through our technical tips and event best practices – together, they’ll help make sure the event runs smoothly for everyone.
The technical basics
Your internet connection: If it’s possible to have an Ethernet connection, then this is best. If, however, you are using Wi-Fi, it’s ideal if other people minimise its usage for the duration of the session (wherever possible), and it’s also best if you’re sat close to the router because this will maximise signal strength.
Your internet bandwidth: A minimum upload and download speed of 5 Mbps would be sufficient - you can check this with a bandwidth test on: speedtest.net; www.testmy.net; or Speedtest by Oookla app (for mobile devices) and try to test at the exact time of day and in the environment you plan to use when you’re taking part in the live session.
Close all non-essential applications and tabs in the browser.
Minimise disruptions: Turn off desktop notifications or instant chat programmes, turn all nearby devices (such as mobiles or tablets) on silent and keep them away from your microphone, and lastly if you have voice activation devices nearby, such as an Alexa, it’s great to turn those off, or move them out of earshot.
Double check your audio visual elements: Make sure you check the audio, video, lighting and background quality ahead of the broadcast.
Find a place to set up: First things first, a quiet room is always best, and make sure you’re close to the microphone – it’s often best to use an external mic (such as a headset or headphones) to give the greatest clarity. Ideally, you’ll also want to try and maintain some distance between you and the background, for a good sense of depth.
Lighting: Front-facing natural light is best, so try using natural light that comes from behind your camera, if the camera is built into your screen. The best way to keep yourself out of the shadows is to put a light behind your device's camera, shining on your face. You can get dedicated LED video lights for this, or you could position a desk lamp in the right place to help with this too. A bright space with even light also works well. Please note, a dim room can make a camera look grainy. It’s also best to avoid spotlights directly above you as they may cause unflattering shadows and we’d recommend avoiding silhouettes, so make sure there aren’t any windows or bright lights behind you.
Using headphones: If possible, use earbuds that have a microphone in the cable or advanced wireless earbuds with multiple noise-cancelling microphones. This improves audio quality and avoids feedback from the microphones, as well as reducing external noise interruptions (such as laptop keystrokes). An inexpensive but effective choice is a single earcup wired headset with a boom mic.
Think about your background: Minimise background noise and distractions wherever possible – what’s behind you when you’re on camera can range from distracting to revealing so have a think about what your audience will be able to see. We’d also recommend against putting unknowing co-workers in the shot; showing whiteboards or monitors with sensitive information; or using a virtual background (unless you have a green screen) as it can distort the image, plus, it’s more personable to have something “real” behind you.
Position your camera at eye level: An external webcam is always preferable, but with a built-in webcam, you may need to raise your laptop or device up to eye level. Then, once you’re set up, make sure you are looking directly at the lens so it appears you have “eye contact” with the audience.
Framing the shot: Head, shoulders and chest is a good guide to how to ‘frame’ yourself. Don’t sit too far away from your device, or too close. We’ve also found standing, rather than sitting, whilst on camera keeps the energy high.
Consider your attire: Is your presentation formal or informal? Your working from home audience may be casually dressed, but you may wish to think about what you’d wear to work. Detailed stripes and patterns can sometimes affect the video and plain colours always work best.
And always make sure you’re comfortable: Have plenty of water, tissues and other comfort items handy.
Top tips for Moderators and Panellists
Top tips for Moderators: Make sure you fully understand the moderation process; how questions are being sent by the audience; how they’re moderated; and how you will deliver them to the panel. Make sure you address the person that you’d like to address the question to by name so it’s clear too.
Top tips for Panellists: It’s important to deliver concise responses. Key things to think are: 1. what would be interesting to the audience? 2. Are there any learning curves, experiences or tangible recommendations I can share? 3. What’s relevant now?
On the day of the event
Make sure you’re up to date: Install the latest version of Zoom/Teams/Firefox/Chrome on all applicable devices.
Speakers will join via a link: This link will be added to a speaker’s calendar invitation prior to the event so make sure you have it ready.
Join ten minutes ahead: Ten minutes ahead of the event, join using the link in your calendar invitation. Once connected, you will be welcomed by a technician who will check your setup, make sure you’re comfortable and count you down to the go live of the event.
Always keep your camera on: You will be visible to attendees for much of your session time so please do not turn off your camera during the session because this will disrupt any live editing process we’re running.
Always look at the camera: Once you have your camera at the right height, don’t forget to look at it. The natural temptation is to just look at your screen, below the camera, where the other participants are present, although, this will give you an odd, distracted look. Of course, you’ll look away to consult what’s on your screen, but try to maintain regular eye contact with the camera, especially when you’re talking.
Lastly but by no means least: When the session is finished, wait for us to notify you that you’re good to go, and leave the event. If you exit the event too early, this may disrupt the session display for the audience, and the plan is always a seamless solution from end to end.
An expert lead: Our technical lead will run all the live stream, sound and visuals. They will be there to support you and will help make any necessary adjustments before you go live. They will also count down for the go-live of the session.
If you want to know more about sharing messages with your people through virtual meetings and events, get in touch. We'd love to show you a few more expert tips and tricks.