The Speakers Lab
Tips and Tricks for Presenting Virtually
Setting up: Before your speech even begins, you need to create the right environment.
- Background—Find a non-distracting area; avoid bedrooms, bathrooms, and clutter.
- Lighting—Use a lamp or find a spot where the light is above and behind your computer. If possible, avoid sitting with your back to a window.
- Camera placement—Elevate your camera, phone, or laptop to be just above eye level.
- Camera angle—Tilt your laptop screen toward you so the audience sees the wall behind you, not the ceiling, and so your head is in the center of the screen.
- Clothing—Stay away from plaid, checkers, and lines; opt for simple solid colors instead.
Quick tip: When possible, move the video of yourself directly under your webcam. Our eyes naturally want to look at ourselves when presenting; this trick keeps you looking at the camera.
Slide Creation: Pay extra attention to your slides to maximize their usefulness.
- Images—Use more pictures and visuals in your slides to keep your audience engaged.
- Decrease Clutter—Limit the content per slide; instead, spread content over more slides.
- Animations—Animate bulleted points to keep your audience engaged and focused on you.
Quick tip: Audiences stay more engaged when they can see the speaker. Make sure that while you are sharing your screen, the video of you speaking is visible to your audience.
Presenting: Speaking virtually can be quite different from in-person presentations.
- Smile—Smiling shows confidence, be cognizant of facial expressions while speaking.
- Gestures—Limit gestures when presenting virtually, they can become a distraction.
- Hands—Beyond gesturing, be aware of your hands; try not to touch your face or neck.
- Voice—Use more energy when speaking virtually and avoid the temptation to read.
- Tempo—Change the rate of your speech and utilize pauses to add power to your speech.
- Words—Filler words are more noticeable online; practice using pauses instead of “um.”
Quick Tip: Position yourself a little farther from your camera; this allows your eyes more freedom to look at your slides and notes while still appearing to be looking in the camera’s direction.
Quick Tip: When possible, to keep your audience engaged, use Zoom tools like “annotate” and “polling” to quickly indicate a specific area of a slide or to quickly get audience interaction.
Creating and Uploading Virtual Presentations
Please find resources below to help you successfully prepare and execute virtual presentations through Panopto or Zoom software.
The Butler University Speakers Lab employs highly trained student tutors to give one-on-one help with the creation and delivery of both individual and group speeches or presentations. In 30- or 60-minute sessions, our tutors provide a relaxed yet effective environment to assist students with all parts of the public speaking process which includes: refining the topic, organizing the content, effectively presenting, and developing visuals. Tutors provide constructive feedback at any stage of the process. They are also trained to assist in the preparation of interviews.
Students who are interested in signing-up for a Speakers Lab session must sign-up using our online system at speakerslab.appointy.com.
Please note the following:
- Individuals seeking one-hour sessions must sign-up on the hour rather than on the half-hour intervals (e.g., 2:00 PM, not 2:30 PM).
- Students must book appointments at least 2 hours in advance. The online system will not show available sessions within that 2-hour timeframe; however, the Speakers Lab does accept and encourage walk-in appointments without reservations if a tutor is available.
- Sessions must be cancelled or rescheduled 24 hours in advance or students will be marked as absent if they fail to arrive.