How does a writer prepare for a Polished and Professional Presentation?
Zoom is the perfect tool to virtually host or participate in interviews and writing-related events. We can sit in our home or office, relaxed in familiar surroundings. We can pull up notes, PowerPoint presentations, and any information to share with viewers. It’s easy and fun. But how does a writer prepare for a Polished and Professional Presentation (PPP)?
I’ve given more interviews, workshops, and speaking events on Zoom than I can count. The following are things I consider to be the best practices to achieve a PPP.
Video: Ensure you have a quality camera to capture your video. I use a Logitech camera mounted on my external monitor. The built-in camera on a laptop may not work the best, so be willing to invest in a separate camera if warranted. Wear clothing that reflects the event and is not brightly patterned. Avoid flashy jewelry. The goal is for the viewer to see you, not what you’re wearing.
Audio: Good quality audio is key to keeping listeners engaged. For most Zoom meetings I can use the microphone built into my Logitech camera and participants can hear me just fine. If I’m recording for a podcast, though, I use a podcast-style microphone and headphones to ensure the very best audio quality for listeners. If you’ve gotten comments that someone is having difficulty hearing you, consider an alternative solution.
Lighting: If your situation doesn’t offer great natural lighting, it is essential that you invest in proper lighting. Ring lights are inexpensive and can reduce shadows. If you wear glasses, consider using a couple of ring lights, one to each side, to minimize light reflections in your glasses. Most ring lights have settings to adjust brightness and tone to suit your needs, whether daytime or nighttime.
Green Screen: If you’d like to use a background image that reflects the event, consider also using a green screen to improve contrast, minimize the sensation of moving body parts, and give your presentation a more professional appeal. Do not wear green or yellow hues. It’s a green screen, so similar colors become transparent. When choosing background images/memes, select appropriate pictures for the event and secure permission from the image owner if needed. If the event is hosted by an organization, request permission to use their logo on the background image.
For convenience, I've populated an “idea list” on my Amazon storefront that includes the items I’ve noted using above. (Please note: if you purchase something from this page, I will earn a commission.)
The following are suggestions to ensure your Zoom presentations are perfect.
Establish your responsibilities in advance.
Determine the style and subject matter of the meeting:
A. Teaching and topic.
B. Interview and focus of the event.
C. Speaking topic.
Ask the host what attire is appropriate.
Establish the exact time of the event.
A. Know the correct time zone.
B. Is there a rehearsal? When should you check in to ensure technology works?
C. The length of your presentation.
Practice your presentation.
Silence your phone and other devices. Microphones can still pick up a phone buzzing nearby.
Clean your workspace.
Make sure you have a notepad and pen handy.
Turn off fans, air conditioning, TV, radio/streaming audio, and any other source of background noise. Alert those in your household that you need silence. You may wish to place pets in an area where any noise they make will not be disruptive.
To minimize problems on your end, close down/quit any applications that are not going to be in use during the Zoom. If possible, use a physical ethernet connection rather than WiFi.
Look into the camera.
A. Envision the viewers seated across from you.
B. Maintain your concentration even while others are speaking.
C. Smile and maintain relational body language.
Show and tell: revealing an item that is uniquely-you or contributes to the presentation is always a plus.
If technology fails you, contact the host immediately.
The above information has helped me enjoy conducting Zoom events. What tips can you offer that make your Zoom presentations polished and professional?
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. DiAnn continues her passion for helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. Connect with DiAnn on her various social media platforms here: www.diannmills.com