Effective online presentations require all whole extra layer of technology that differs from in person presentations. Having the right tech can mean difference between a successful online presentation or webinar and one that is anything but. We will explore some core technologies that will help you ace your next virtual presentation.
Most laptops, tablets and smart phones come with an embedded WebCam and microphone which are less than optimal for online presentations. Some features you should look for are audio quality, focus features and video quality.
Most off-the-shelf WebCams will give reasonable quality audio for Zoom, video call or other meetings, but not deliver high enough quality audio you might need for your virtual presentation. WebCams have different focus options available to choose from such as autofocus, manual, or fixed. Autofocus is the best option as it keeps you in focus even while you move while presenting and gives you the best picture quality. In terms of video quality, you looking for the highest resolution and frame rate for your needs. Most general-purpose WebCams will capture video at 720P at 30 frames per second. This would be fine to attend an online meeting, but perhaps not high-quality enough to deliver a webinar or online presentation. For better video quality we recommend 1080p at a minimum, that support autofocus and high FPS.
Most off-the-shelf laptops, tablets, smart phones & even webcams will not have the highest quality microphone. As a result, they will produce lower quality audio for your presentations. Those so-called ‘embedded’ microphones which come pre-installed in these devices. These are fine for simple video chat but don’t deliver the best audio for an online presentation. If higher-quality sound is a requirement, an external microphone will be a better option than an embedded one. One option is a lavaliere microphone (AKA lapel, neck or body mic) seamlessly clips to your clothing and come in both wired and wireless form. A lavaliere microphone comes in all shapes and sizes and allows you to capture high-quality audio in a hand-free fashion. Besides capturing quality audio, it also allows you to move freely while communicating with your audience.
Wired and wireless headsets are another quality option for audio capture. These come in over the ear (headphones), or the ear (earbuds) headsets. The choice between wired and wireless is really a question of mobility. If you need to move freely while presenting a wireless solution is far better. But keep in mind, wireless is more costly and will have a finite battery life. Regardless of which you choose, make sure the microphone supports noise cancellation which will reduce ambient noise and better capture your vocal delivery.
Often the most basic technology can be a barrier to a successful virtual presentation, and your Internet (or wireless router) is no exception. With the work from home trend, more and more people rely upon their own technology vs. that managed by their organization’s IT department. If you work in an enterprise on-site, this applies less to you than if you work at home. If you present from home, you’ll have an Internet router or wireless router that connects you to the Internet. The simplest way to think about your router is that it allows you to create your own home network and connect multiple devices to your Internet connection. It also provides a variety of other functions such as firewall features, wireless connectivity, and a switch which allows you connect wired Ethernet devices.
Most ISPs (Internet Service Providers) such as Comcast, Verizon, will offer a single box that functions as a modem, router/firewall, wireless router — an all in one box solution. These devices do not perform particularly well vs. other commercially available Internet/wireless routers. Remember, if you are using a cloud-based application such as Skype, Slack, Google meet, zoom, or Microsoft teams, your Internet router matters. As a general recommendation, buying your own quality Internet router (wireless router) ensure a better quality virtual presentation because your network will not be the bottleneck.
Quality Internet connection will mean the difference between jittery audio and video — or a smooth, seamless experience. Most ISPs offer a variety of connectivity options that can meet with your video presentation requirements. An effective way to gauge the required bandwidth is to reference the help pages for the online presentation service (Microsoft Teams, Zoom, etc.) you use. Their help pages they will detail what it requires optimal Internet connectivity for their product. If your current ISP doesn’t meet the requirements, look for another one in your area that does. With geography being a critical aspect to your choice, we’ll hold on offering any specific recommendation.
I hope this quick overview of online presentation technology was helpful for you. Our virtual coaching and virtual training cover all of this and more to maximize your online speaking success. If you have any questions, leave them below as a comment or contact us. Would love to hear from you.