How to present over Zoom

Social distancing means we're all having to become experts on videoconferencing! Here are our tips on how to present on whatever software you might be using.


Making the broadcast look good

Here are 4 simple steps that will help immensely. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/07/style/tom-ford-video-chat-tips.html

Make sure you have a good set up.

  • headphones – use them, always, to prevent feedback to Mic. Earbuds are ideal and they don’t need to be high quality.
  • microphone – have it close to your mouth if possible (but out of shot if it’s a proper mic)
  • camera angle – will look much better if the camera is level with or slightly above your head (try not to look down or lean into the screen)
  • where to look – at the webcam. ideally have the webcam close to the slides (so you’re not looking away from the camera to see slides). Don’t just watch yourself (move the picture of yourself to under the camera if you know you are going to do this).
  • lighting – make sure you’re not backlit or have light washing out your face
  • background – try to ensure that there’s nothing distracting in the background, if possible.
  • Internet connection – make sure you have the best internet connection you can get. Ideally, you would be using a wired connection directly into your router or a wall socket (ethernet cables are cheap and widely available). Wi-fi should be avoided if possible; if you must use it, make sure you are in a room with a good signal. Nearer to the router is better.   
  • location - if possible, please avoid using a room with lots of background noise (eg. next to a busy road).

You can put your presentation into full screen mode before you share your screen.

Find out if your set up is working – it is easy to record yourself with zoom - set up a session with someone else for a couple of minutes, share your screen and hit record - then you can watch it back and see how it looks to others. Before you start, if you go onto the zoom settings you can also see how your camera looks.

Remember to put your phone onto silent if you have it with you.

Make sure that you have your full name on your Zoom account as this is visible to everyone. Do this by clicking on your name and then renaming, or in the Participants panel.

Make sure the content will work for this format

  • As always – think about what’s on your slides. They shouldn’t be a script. They are a tool that goes alongside what you want to say. Don’t make them too busy or distracting.
  • Be realistic about how much you can cover in time available. Online events should be kept as short as possible – ideally below 10 minutes if you can.
  • Speak clearly/slowly and consider to overemphasising words or points since you can’t use body language
  • Remember that people are more likely to be distracted – stick to conveying the main points and be even more engaging than normal.
  • Since you can’t point at slides, consider where you may be able to use a cursor or animation of slides to guide people through the material.
  • Practice your presentation as if you were giving it to a physical audience. Time yourself. Ask for feedback from colleagues.
  • If you think you are at risk of running over your allotted time, have a clock or timer visible while presenting to make sure you stick to time.

How do you want people to interact with you?

  • Think about how you’ll take questions.
    • Build this into your plans – e.g. decide if/when you might want to pause to ask if there are questions
    • Tell your audience up front how you plan to proceed.
  • If you want people to be able to see you, you can ask them to change their settings (zoom lets you move the video of the speaker from a small floating box to a side panel and to increase the size)

Use people’s names when speaking directly to someone, asking a question, or asking someone to do something; remember that nobody can see who you are looking at.

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