Episode 6. How to get comfortable presenting online

There’s a lot to think about when presenting but doing it online presents a different set of problems. How do we prepare and practice, and what equipment do we use when presenting online?

We used to heavily edit our podcast but now we are a lot more relaxed about it. That comes with practice, and developing confidence talking online.

Preparation

What kind of preparation do you need? You spend a lot more time looking at yourself than in real life. There’s psychological, physical preparation, practicing, removing distractions. This comes into focus when you’re leading a conversation. Understanding what your voice sounds like out loud.

Recording your voice

Understanding that you sound like is very useful. Your voice in your own head sounds different to how it sounds to others. When you’re presenting, putting yourself on display, you can practice, listen back. You don’t HAVE to plan – you can just keep doing it over and over again. We got a lot of practice listening to each other, keeping things going, understanding our little mannerisms – it’s worth recording, editing, releasing if you want to learn a lot about it.

For women it can be a different challenge – you are more likely to have your tone policed, to enter into situations apologetically, asking for permission. It takes practice to overcome these challenges. Relaxing, getting the pace right, makes it feel less weird.

GUILTY FEMINIST PODCAST

TEN WAYS TO HAVE A BETTER CONVERSATION

Men need to do better. let women talk! We can include people without picking on them.

It can be worth practicing saying people’s names!

Remove distractions

Any distractions will interfere with your ability to do a good job. You have to be present, shut the door, tell people you’re not available. Turn off your email. If you’re distracted by a notification your focus will be immediately undermined. Minimise anything that might get a red icon on it. It’s also worth clearing your physical area to minimise distractions like post-its.

Microphone technique

The closer you can be to your microphone, the less it will pick up distracting background sounds. You need to find a comfortable position, and that should be the same position that you plan on being in when you start presenting.

Equipment

The image you present can be improved with better lighting, camera, backdrop. A good front-facing fill light can make a big difference.

HOW TO LIGHT YOURSELF

Body language

You might not be aware of what body language and other unconscious behaviours will show up on camera. Again, looking back at video of yourself will help you get used to yourself.

Most people are quite self-obsessed though. Other people are probably looking at themselves a lot of the time! It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to not be distractingly bad. As long as you’re comfortable then other people will be comfortable too. And you can be a perfectionist but all that really matters is whether it worked.

Getting help

Questions to ask “what is coming across? does she know what she’s talking about, is she interested in what she’s talking about? Is she passionate about what she’s talking about?”. You might just use your hands a lot – you don’t ee

You can get feedback that will help you with your confidence.

Perfectionism vs doing

Don’t try to get something perfect every time when you’re offline, you’re gonna miss things that are different when you’re live. You need to practice in the real environment. Even if you do it badly, you’ll learn a lot.

From editing to live

You can record yourself and edit until you create a perfect presentation. You’ll learn a lot. Soon you will be able to do it in real time in one take. But you have to put it out to learn from it.

Expensive equipment

It does matter. There’s a lot you can fix without it but it does make a difference!

Standing up vs sitting down

Standing up can give you a better energy – people can tell the difference. It makes your vocal cords less restricted, you can be looser. But if you sit then make sure you sit up so you don’t get a kinked airway! Muscles can build that compound this effect if you always work in a hunched position.

Voice coaching

It comes down to projection. You’ll think you’re too loud but really you’re just clearing your airways and being clear. It can be good to see a voice coach, even if you don’t do the exercises religiously. You don’t have to want to be an opera singer, it can just help you understand your body better. You can overcome negative value judgements about your voice if you start to understand and control it better.

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