Top tips for chairs and speakers
Below are some helpful pointers for speakers to help support the best guest experience for your virtual audience and professional appearance of your event.
Everyone who has a speaking role during your event will require the following equipment:
- Laptop with a good quality video and microphone
- A wired broadband connection (ideal) or very fast wifi connection
- Ideally a headset or earphones
- Microsoft Teams app
Preparing for your event
- Be sure to participate in the rehearsals beforehand with the other speakers and event organisers; these will usually be arranged by your event organiser.
Setting up your space
As most people will be presenting from within their own homes, to create a professional set please follow the points below.
- Ensure your background is blurred or place yourself in front of a blank wall. You can also make use of one of the professional backdrops available in Microsoft Teams. A selection of bespoke Imperial backgrounds are now available to install. View the guidance on how to install them here.
- Ensure your face is well lit and avoid having a window behind you as this will create a dark silhouette for your audience.
- Ensure your microphone is not covered as this will impact the quality of your sound.
- Ensure you are in a quiet, private room and any other members of your household are aware that you are speaking at an event.
- How you position yourself in relation to the camera will affect how you appear to the audience. Ideally, you should be seated at your usual work space and positioned at a distance so that the audience can see your head and tops of shoulders.
The College Photographer and Image Manager, Thomas Angus has also put together a detailed guide on how to look your best on video including tips on lighting and positioning your laptop. Guidance on how to look your best on video calls.
Chairing a virtual event
- Begin your event with a housekeeping announcement including the following points:
- If the event is being recorded let guests know they can turn off their camera if they do not wish to appear in the recording.
- If running a Teams Meeting, remind your guests to remain muted throughout the event and only unmute if invited to by the Chair when taking part in any verbal Q&A session.
- Let your audience know how your Q&A will be run and how e.g. in a Live Event by posting written questions using the Q&A function or on a Teams Meeting giving the audience a chance to ask verbal questions when requested by the presenter or Chair.
- In Live Events let your audience know that they can turn on subtitles themselves if they would like to and announce which languages are available.
During the event
- For Teams Meetings all presenters should mute themselves when joining the event and only unmute when presenting to the audience to reduce background noise.
- When presenting, try to speak to the camera as much as possible – if you are looking at your screen your audience will see you looking down rather than at them. Placing a picture or sticker next to your camera can be a helpful reminder to speak directly to it.
- If sharing your screen ensure you have closed everything else on your computer other than what you plan to share. Remember to close Outlook and turn off any pop up notifications.
If you would like to discuss any of the points above, or require further support and guidance with planning and designing your event for an online audience please contact the Institutional Events team in the first instance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org One of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.