Design for the Virtual Presentation

It can be a bit daunting to present virtually for the first time if you’re used to presenting in front of an audience and it can be especially daunting if you’re just starting to give presentations and your first ones are virtual.

Design can help with a number of different things you can do to prepare for a presentation or talk, including how you set up your workspace and camera as well as designing your presentation.

Setting Up Your Space

When it comes to designing your home office for a virtual presentation, obviously, you have to do whatever you have to do, so these tips or tricks are basically mix and match, take the ones that work for you and your circumstances. I know not everyone has their own space for their office, I don’t, I live in a studio apartment and my cat frequently makes an appearance in my video calls. I hope you’ll find something here that makes a difference for you, whether its in terms of workflow or your presentation design.

Audio & Acoustics

All of these suggestions come from trial and error over the course of my career, trying to record audio and video for various motion graphics, that sort of thing, so keep in mind I’m not an acoustics expert, but just want to give you some ideas for making changes to your space that have worked for me.

Whenever possible, use a headset with a microphone, even if it is just the pair that came with your phone. Using the microphone on your laptop is going to cause sound issues, possible feedback issues if others are speaking and you’re not muted, that sort of thing. The audio quality is also an issue, but with a headset mic, you won’t have to worry about that.

The surfaces around us can have a huge impact on how we sound, just think about the acoustics and how they made you sound the last time you sang in the shower. When it comes to your presentations and audio, imagine a recording booth in a studio, they’re covered with ‘egg crate foam’ soft surfaces. While you don’t necessarily want to be recording under a blanket fort as it’ll do its job a little too well, positioning throw pillows and soft surfaces around you can help absorb some of the external ambient sound before it hits your mic. You know, like small children and pets and neighbors mowing the lawn.

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