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Top 10 Best Practices for Virtual Event Speakers

When it comes to virtual events, content is king (or queen—whatever you prefer). You don’t have the distractions and interactions that you would have at an in-person event, so all eyes are literally on the speaker on the screen at all times. Also, 80% of attendees only attend virtual events for the educational content. So, how are you going to ensure that your virtual event speakers are prepared to generate buzz, keep attendees engaged, and just overall be prepared to give the killer virtual session presentation attendees are hoping for?

Our EBA team has been helping teams train virtual event speakers since the onset of the pandemic. We’ve learned some tips & tricks to prepare speakers for successful virtual events that help your business reach its goals. Whether you’re training your virtual event speakers or preparing for a session yourself, these tips are key!

#1. Get Comfortable with Tech

Let’s be honest, most of us aren’t pros with technology. Especially if you’re a speaker that typically presents at in-person events with a full A/V team on-site to hook up your mic and give you the clicker to your presentation and you’re off.

Virtual events are not like this. You have to be at least a little confident with your tech set up so you can troubleshoot if necessary.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to tech mastery for virtual event speaker:
  • Ensure you’re connected via hardwire internet if possible or have high-speed internet that is trustworthy and won’t go out. Even better, have a Wi-Fi hot spot in case you lose power and need connectivity options.
  • Check your microphone to ensure proper sound levels. If people can’t hear you talk, you’re going to lose your audience quicker than it takes you to troubleshoot the problem.
  • Check your video and make sure it is enabled. Virtual events are based upon what people are seeing on their screens, let’s make sure they can see your pretty face! We love the mmhmm app which allows you to present and show your face for greater engagement, so don’t skip the camera.

#2. Set Yourself Up for Success… Literally

Just as you’d set up a session room for an in-person presentation, you have to set up your “stage”. Whether that’s your home office, a closet away from the kids for a quiet space—wherever it is you need to be set up properly. This starts with the tech check but also includes things like checking that you have proper lighting, so your face isn’t dark or washed out, as well as setting up your positioning so you’re in the center of your camera with your face, neck, and shoulders framed!

#3. Design a Background

If you’re one of the virtual speakers tuning in from a closet away from the kids, you’re going to want to design a background that’s fun and on brand for you or the event you’re speaking at. Sometimes event organizers will provide a virtual background for platforms like Zoom. A simple image that frames the speaker. If you’re an event organizer this is a great way to spread the event hashtag or general branding. Or, if you’re using a platform like Microsoft Teams you can even blur the background with you only in focus. You want to make sure the attention is on you, not whatever is going on in the background.

We bet the famous CNN Dad from a few years back wishes he had a background, huh?

#4. Be Lively & Skip the Wordy Slides

You’re not a college stats professor teaching equations to the class. You’re a world-class speaker channeling your inner excitement to share with those you’re teaching—own that! The slides are meant to enhance your spoken words, not replace them. It’s so key that your energy is contagious and you’re not simply reading word for word from your slides. When it’s easy to slip out with one click of the exit button, you want to make sure your attendees are engaged. This brings us to the next point…

#5. Incorporate Virtual Event Engagement Tools

Interaction and engagement are the top two things virtual event organizers struggle with most. It’s partially the responsibility of the speakers to help enhance that engagement and make the presentations so irresistible that the chat box is exploding with comments, questions, and general chatter between attendees.

Make sure you’re using the functions of your virtual event platform fully. Use polls, enable chat boxes and emojis, plan quizzes and giveaways, allow attendee participation with a quick panel chat. The options are endless. Check out our recent blog about how to increase your virtual event engagement for more tips.

#6. Practice Makes Perfect

Speaking virtually isn’t natural for most. It’s weird to stare at yourself rather than an audience when giving a virtual event presentation. This is just one of the many reasons why your live session should never be the first time you run through your presentation. Record yourself presenting and tweak accordingly for the real thing!

#7. Appoint a Moderator

As a virtual event speaker, you should never be reading the comments yourself—it’s too distracting and can throw off your game. Appoint a chat moderator that can help answer questions, provide you with the tidbits you need to help engage attendees from home, all so you can focus on delivering that juicy content!

#8. Get Out of Your Chair

A chair allows you to lounge, sit back and relax. As a presenter, that’s not what you’re there to do. In order to help with the engagement and liveliness we talked about earlier, you want to make sure you’re standing confidently—literally—not slouching.

#9. Have a Backup Plan

No matter how much we plan, nothing ever goes as planned. That’s the first rule of events, in-person or virtual. So, when things don’t go as planned, you have a backup option. Make sure the moderator has a copy of your presentation in case your screen sharing doesn’t work, have a phone ready to dial-in in case your Wi-Fi drops and you lose connection, and practice plan B. If you do these things, even if something does go wrong, you’ll be prepared to make it a presentation to remember.

#10. Have Fun with It!

At the end of the day, if you’re having fun, it’s more likely that your audience will be engaging and having fun too. Participants want to know you’re having a good time, they don’t want to listen to a stale presentation you’re obviously not into giving. So, have fun with it! Events are supposed to be fun, don’t let the stress of a new virtual format get to you. You got this!

Need Help Planning Your Virtual Event & Training Virtual Event Speakers? Eventistry by Alecia Can Help.

These tips are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to planning a perfect virtual event from A to Z. Our EBA team has spent months learning all sorts of virtual event platforms, designing unique engagement opportunities, and overall helping businesses and speakers level up their virtual event game for greater ROI. If you need help with your virtual event strategy, schedule a free strategy session today!

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