Let’s Get Digital: Seven Steps for Digital Speaking Success
As we previewed in earlier blog posts in our Let’s Get Digital series, events and conferences have continued to move forward with all-digital events. The marketing team at AppLovin has been working hard to bring the energy of our live events to the number of digital events we’ve been producing and participating in while most of the world is still sheltering in place.
While the marketers behind-the-scenes of these events are learning how to shift the events themselves, there are some lessons that anyone participating or presenting in digital events should keep in mind. Before your next event, taking a little bit of time to prepare your space and set up your devices will help make your virtual experience more seamless.
As the Director of Field Marketing and Events at AppLovin, I wanted to share some of our team’s learnings on the top tips to get you ready for your next digital event!
You might be in a home with multiple people trying to participate in video calls, complete homework, or catch up on Netflix, so ensuring your Internet connection is stable might be a challenge. If you can, plug your computer in via ethernet cable for a more reliable internet connection than you can get from Wi-Fi. Also make sure that there are no broadband-consuming activities happening — that means stop streaming any videos, quit your games, and pause downloading files before you log on!
Instead of having your laptop in your lap where it could easily move around if you move, put it on a table, desk, or other steady surface. Position your camera as close to eye level as possible, so the top of your head is still in your camera view. Just because your camera is at eye level doesn’t mean you should be making eye contact with yourself — make sure you are looking at the camera as much as possible.
If you don’t have a laptop stand in your new home office, get creative and grab a small box or some books so that you get a straight-on angle. If you know you talk with your hands (and even if you don’t!) make sure that you’re sitting at a distance where viewers can see some of the natural gestures you make while you’re speaking.
Check the windows in your space and make sure they’re closed before you start presenting — you never know who’s going to be walking or driving by during your call and you want to avoid any jarring background noise that could detract from your presentation flow or distract your audience. If you’re able to, use wireless headphones with a built-in microphone for your presentation. This will keep noise levels to a minimum, and having a mic close to your face will ensure that the audience can hear you clearly.
If you’re working from a laptop, make sure that your email, Slack, and text message apps are closed and/or silenced. The audience does not need to hear a sound notification every time someone sends you a message! The same goes for your phone — even if it’s on vibrate, that noise can be distracting to participants.
Lighting and Background
If you have an international audience you may find yourself participating in events during different times of day. One of the most important things — whether you’re leveraging natural or artificial lighting — is to make sure that you’re facing your lighting source so that you’re not backlit. Consider leveraging in-room lighting by placing lamps in front of you at your desk or workspace or facing a large window.
We recommend sitting in front of a solid background to avoid distractions such as other people walking behind you . If you’re using Zoom for your meeting, you can leverage their digital background capabilities to make sure you have a solid, non-distracting background. Here at AppLovin, we have been able to create some custom digital backgrounds for events — so check in with your marketing team to see if this is something that you or your organization can develop for future events.
From the chest up, you’ll want to make sure you’re dressed to appear on camera! Avoid all black or all white clothing because they can affect lighting and may make you appear washed out. Instead, opt for a solid colored shirt or sweater that’s a natural or pastel color, or something that falls in the mid-tones. And while you might be tempted, you should avoid wearing any patterns, or sparkly accessories as they can be visually distracting on camera.
Don’t Forget a Dry Run
Just because you won’t physically be in front of people, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice your content ahead of time. Even a seasoned live speaker should practice as it might feel weird to be presenting to a screen since you’re unable to play off the audience’s reactions. Additionally, make sure you know how to properly use your video application so you can smoothly transition through any presentation materials.
Consider testing how to share your screen or monitor any live questions that may be coming in through a chat function. If you need help testing, reach out to your events or IT teams so they can give you a hand with any questions.
Since you won’t be able to see your audience, you’re going to need to do your best to make sure they are hearing your content clearly.
That means enunciating and speaking clearly throughout your presentation. If your nerves get to you, make sure you still take pauses where you would naturally and have a glass of water nearby in case you need a drink. Most importantly — smile when you speak! Your audience would not be there if they weren’t interested in what you have to say, so do your best to have a comfortable, pleasant expression on your face.
Even once we are able to safely return to in-person events — there may be some digital events that are here to stay. Not only do they allow you to connect with others when you’re not able to physically, they remove some of the barriers for participation (like travel fees) for those with limited resources, which means a wider audience can participate and engage with your content!