Presenting Online


Presenting online via a videostream or conferencing app requires some additional preparation compared to conventional physical presentations in a classroom/meeting/conference. Here are some preparatory considerations.

– Find a quiet place with stable and fast enough internet connection. If you don’t have such at home, consider presenting from somewhere else. You may also consider turning off other devices/running online operations to increase bandwidth for your presentation. This includes e.g. VPN networks – if appropriate.

– Good lighting of yourself as the speaker is essential, your audience wants/needs to see your expressions to support the impact of your presentation. (Be aware that most video chats continue broadcasting your camera feed also while you’re sharing your screen, i.e. your audience sees your slides and your face – even if you may not see it on your own screen.) Avoid back light and/or too dramatic lights from the side. If you rely on natural light, be aware that it might change in the course of your presentation, depending on weather conditions, daytime etc.

– While the camera merely broadcasts a limited frame, make sure that your setting outside the frame is equally conducive to a good presentation: windows/doors open or closed – as appropriate; not too cold or too warm; no avoidable sound sources to interfere (telephone, TV) etc.

– Desktop or laptop computers are preferable over smart phones or tablets for presentations as they generally have stronger streaming capacities. 

– Make sure you have a working camera and mic connected with your presentation device. Often those will be in-built; check them anyway. In various instances certain models of headphones and/or bluetooth speakers can interfere with audio transmission. Test your particular setup before going live the first time.

– To protect your privacy – and that of your co-habitants – use a virtual background or the blur-background option of the video streaming software. Also, before you share your screen close any unwanted/not needed/private open files on your desktop; that includes potentially tidying up the desktop from any personal files and/or removing particularly personal desktop backdrops. Finally, turn off any apps that might be pushing notifications during your presentation (e.g. email clients).

– Prepare digital files of all materials you intend to show and compile them into one single slide show (.ppt, .pdf or else). Avoid switching between different files or softwares, and especially make sure you don’t need to search for files while live.

– Make sure you know where the “share file” button/function is in the video streaming of your choice. Ideally try it out before your presentation.

– Be dressed appropriately for your presentation, also beyond the initial frame of the camera. You never know what may happen.

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Peter Benz

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  • TIP: In some instances it might be of interest to work with two video feeds (=cameras) in one presentation, e.g. one to show formal slides and a second to show a live experiment. To achieve this you may log into a your video meeting with two devices, e.g. a laptop and your work email plus your mobile phone and personal email. In that way, you may use the two cameras for different purposes, e.g. the laptop cam for more static frontal instruction, and the handheld phone cam to more flexibly follow demonstrations of processes or techniques.

    To avoid audio feedback you’ll need to mute at least one camera at any given time.

By Peter Benz



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