As a speaker at a virtual session, having the right equipment will help you keep your audience engaged.
In this article we provide some guidance on how you can best prepare for your presentation.
A desktop or laptop computer is the first tool you will need to run your presentation.
Your computer should be equipped with one of the following browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge, or Internet Explorer.
Although most conferencing tools support older versions, it is recommended to update your chosen browser to the latest version for security and stability reasons.
Most computers have a built-in microphone that can be used to speak during your presentation.
However, other solutions are available that can make your voice sound more clear and keep external noises to a minimum:
- External microphone - you can use an external USB microphone that plugs into your laptop and place it closer to you for better audio.
- Headset - a headset with a built-in microphone can also be plugged into your computer. The proximity of the microphone to your mouth will help make your voice more clear and cancel out unwanted noises.
- Landline - conferencing tools allow users to join audio via phone. A landline provides clear audio and a stable connection to the conference tool.
These three solutions will provide superior sound quality to that of your computer’s built-in microphone. Pick your preferred audio equipment and test it to make sure your audience will hear you clearly.
Like with your microphone, most computers come with a built-in webcam. If available on your computer, make sure to turn on the HD definition for your webcam. External webcams can also be used if your computer does not have one, or if you want more flexibility on where to place your webcam.
Make sure your desk allows you to keep your webcam at eye level. When speaking you should be looking straight at the camera.
If your desk is too low, raise your laptop to match your eye level. You can do so by using a stand, or books for example.
A standing desk can also be a great piece of equipment for your presentations. Standing up while presenting will make you look more professional and more engaging.
Background and lighting
Keep your background neutral and clean of distractions. You want the audience’s focus to be on you and your presentation and not on the room behind you.
Face your brightest source of light to make sure you are clearly visible when speaking.
An ethernet hardline is recommended over a WiFi connection to provide you with more stability. If you are proceeding on WiFi, the following can help you ensure a better connection:
- Boost your WiFi strength - sit close to your router, have as few obstructions between you and your router as possible (walls, microwaves, TVs, etc.).
- Close everything not used for the call on your computer- downloads/uploads of files, unused applications, etc.
- Restrain other users - if sharing internet with other users, try to minimize their internet use during your meeting.
- Disable HD video - some video conferencing tools allow you to share your video in HD but take a higher toll on your bandwidth. Disabling it can help your internet connection while over WiFi.
In terms of bandwidth, conference tools such as Zoom or Webex recommend a minimum of 3 Mbps upload and download speeds.
However, to ensure the best connection while speaking, showing your video and presenting your slides, a connection of around 20 Mbps is recommended.