Your online event should adhere to the same standards as network news broadcasts. Every aspect of the image and audio is carefully manipulated to ensure that the viewer receives an optimal and consistent experience right through the entire broadcast. Similarly, your online event should aspire to the same levels of excellence as your attendees will judge you in an effectively identical manner.
You want to ensure that your audience is focused on the event presenters and the content being displayed. Some of the primary ways to ensure that you are successful in this task include:
- Set up a stationary background – Nothing is more distracting than placing your presenters with busy goings on in the background, or in front of a window where passersby can distract your attendees. You’re going to be far better off crafting your entire event in front of an interesting but static background to keep your audience’s attention focused on the delivery of the content, not the activities behind which are irrelevant to the event.
- Use headset mikes – True, many people wearing headsets look a bit goofy in online events, but it is a small price to pay for the considerably heightened audio quality you’re going to receive. If you are absolutely dead set against placing your mikes half an inch from the speakers’ lips, then invest in renting or buying a state of the art cardioid microphone which will help minimize the distracting background noise.
- Review all visible clothing – The patterns and accessories in the clothing that is worn by the presenters and is visible to the online audience can severely affect the success of your entire event. Tight patterns can create extremely distracting swirling moire effects, and sparkly jewelry can catch the light and make your entire online event look like you’re emulating the annoying constant lens flares in the recent Star Trek movies. Stick to solids in darker, neutral colors with a minimum of bling and your audience will thank you.
- Rehearse the technology – How many online events have been marred by the presenter not knowing where to click on their laptop to provide the next slide, how to plug in their microphone, or even which way the camera is facing? Take a page from the Broadway theatrical playbook and make sure that you have a full dress rehearsal run through to make sure that technical ignorance is not going to dynamite your online event.
- Obtain professional lighting help – Lighting a scene properly is both an art and a science which is not easy to master and your online event has an inherent indisputable obligation to correctly light its presenters or the entire event will suffer. Ensure that your lighting does not create any unusual contrasts such as dark shadows under the eyes, nose, and chin, or washouts where lighting sources such as windows overpower the controlled lighting and make one side of the presenter’s face look like half of a vanilla ice cream cone.
- Back off from the camera – Far too many online events are conducted by presenters who believe that unless the camera lens is more than three inches from their nose then they are too far away. This excessive proximity provides a comical fish eye lens effect and exaggerates your visual expressions. This is all fine and good if you’re doing a comedy routine, but extremely counterproductive if you’re trying to portray authoritative and sober knowledge and information… however, the most important and critical factor is…
- Look at the camera naturally – It seems the majority of online event presenters have a deeply-rooted psychological problem which prevents them from making eye contact with the camera. When a presenter avoids eye contact it makes them look shifty and insincere and therefore immediately loses the opportunities to build trust with the viewer. Staring like a hypnotizing Svengali into the lens is just as off-putting, so your presenters should be comfortable engaging the camera with the same level of eye contact as they would at a business lunch.
If you apply all these top techniques your online event will be a boon, not a bust!