You may be wondering how to prepare speakers for virtual events. It’s an important piece to your planning and preparation. There may be more to the process than you have considered. Preparing speakers for virtual events differs from in-person events in a variety of ways. The amount of speaker training and management is considerable and includes support in areas such as:
- Tech Checks
- Formatting Slides
- Pre-recording Sessions
- Audience Engagement
- Panel Moderation
Making sure you plan the time with each of these activities to prepare speakers for virtual events is well worth the investment for a successful event.
Start with the Speaker Agreement
To prepare speakers for virtual events it is important to lay out all the details as the virtual event presentation may well be archived, unlike an in-person speech. Some examples of the clauses you may want to consider as part of the virtual event agreement are:
- Agreement from the speaker this recording may be used for instructional purposes and/or added to the conference or organization website and online presentation catalog.
- The speaker agrees that no compensation is to be paid for their services unless stated in a separate agreement.
- Retaining rights to preview the recording and to request a revision from the speaker.
- Authorization from the speaker the conference or organization to use, reuse, publish and republish the presentation.
- Approval from the speaker releasing the conference or organization from any and all claims and demands arising out of or in connection with the use of the presentation, including any and all claims for libel, publicity rights, or other similar actions.
- Speaker places the following restrictions on the use of the recording…
- Agreement from the speaker to attend a tech check prior to the event day to help ensure a seamless event.
Troubleshoot Technology in Advance to Prepare Speakers
Plan to have a production team to work through the various technologies with speakers they will be engaging with. This will make sure they are prepared well in advance. Schedule tech checks to ensure speakers look and sound their best. For some examples of what you should cover during tech checks here are some elements that need to be considered in a pre-event tech check:
- Additional surroundings (Background, sounds, etc.)
- Internet bandwidth
- Computer make and model
- Screen sharing
- Q&A process
- Review procedures for event day
- For some visual examples here’s a Tech Crunch article
Share Best Practices for a Professional Look
Part of a successful virtual event is to prepare speakers with the technology. Speakers using virtual technology for the first time will want to follow a set of best practices to ensure their presentation is successful. By providing them best practices on behalf of the organization, the presentations will be uniform and professional. At a minimum we suggest the following:
Desk Set Up
- Choose a quiet location.
- Ensure your video is well-lit. Avoid backlighting or sitting with your back to a window as your camera will adjust to help with exposure and make you appear as a silhouette.
- Choose a simple background, with few distractions.
- Look directly into your camera when speaking.
- Once you have established a good camera position, try to stay relatively still while on camera and don’t reach up to adjust your screen or camera.
- Ensure you are sitting far enough back from your camera to avoid distortion and be sure to place your camera at eye level to ensure the most flattering angle.
- Keep your attire simple. A plain, solid color will keep the focus on you and your content.
- Stay on mute when not speaking to avoid causing feedback/echoes.
- If you’ll be working from a presentation be sure to keep your slide content large and high contrast.
- Present with energy and animation—virtual presentations require even more energy from speakers.
- Engage your participants by crafting your presentation to have the audience contribute using the tools available in your virtual platform.
- If you have a tech moderator, check in with them frequently to see if there are any questions or comments from the virtual audience.
Although the preparation is a bit different from speaking to a crowd in a physical meeting room, these steps are well worth the time and energy to prepare speakers for virtual events. The majority of people agree, public speaking is an uncomfortable situation, virtual events are no different in that aspect. Use all available tools to help virtual event speakers be as confident and well-trained as possible.
Virtual Event Experts at MeetGreen, Britta Ehnebuske and Kate Wilson, share this information based on their work producing high-profile virtual events for global clients.