Some quick tips:
- Plan in advance the points in the session when you will pause, interact with the chat and respond to questions
- Don’t be afraid to pause, to allow sufficient time for participants to think and answer questions. You can use this time to gather your own thoughts
- Avoid narrating your slides. Participants can read them faster than you can speak and will disengage from the session. Instead, have brief notes to refer to and talk around the points you want to make
- Speak at a natural volume and pace. Webinars work well when there is an informal atmosphere where all contributions and questions are welcomed. If your learners are comfortable, they will be more willing to participate actively and willing to interact
- This may for be, for some students, the only place that they can talk to you directly and with their peers, if they are not learning face-to-face. Use these interactions as an opportunity to build a ‘class identity’ within the cohort
- Make use of a headset microphone – positioned near your face, you will sound clearer and you can maintain a softer more natural speaking voice. Don’t place it too close to your mouth to avoid audio ‘pops’ and breathiness.
Check your physical environment
Consider the space you are delivering the session from. For instance:
- Keep your background simple. What will learners see behind you if your camera is on?
- Turn off notifications and programmes (e.g. Teams chat, Outlook)
- Turn off your VPN – this will give you a faster internet connection
- Use a quiet location – close your windows; minimise the potential for interruptions as far as possible
- Plug in your microphone headset before you join the session. A good-quality headset (USB) is recommended. Avoid using your speakers: this can create feedback noise
The occasional noise from the street, pets or family members is not going to put off your attendees in an online session, in fact many people are delighted when a family pet enters a room in the background, but if there is a constant source of distracting background noise, this will begin to distract your attendees from focusing on your presentation. Try to minimise potential distractions if you can.
Control the lighting
- Sit facing a source of light. For example, a window with natural light or use a desk lamp positioned above the lens of your camera, pointing slightly towards you.
- Avoid being lit from the side, back or underneath, or by the screen itself.
- Control other sources of light by closing curtains or blinds and turning off strip lights
Using your webcam
- Think about the camera angle. If you are using the inbuilt webcam in your laptop: the ideal angle of the lens is at or slight above eye line. Raise the laptop up to prevent an upward camera angle
- Make sure you are centered in the camera view.
- Don’t sit too close to the lens. Webcams have a wide-angle lens and they will exaggerate your features if you are too close
- Remember to smile. Being friendly and approachable will help your participants settle in and be more willing to interact.
- Look at the lens not the screen when talking to participants. It will appear as if you are making eye contact. But remember not to look too intently into the camera lens all the time
- Try not to move around too much. If you make gestures when speaking make sure they are in shot. Partially seen gestures can be confusing to participants
Use a stable internet connection
- Is a wired connection (ethernet cable) feasible?
- If not, ensure you have good Wi-Fi signal strength
- Log out of VPN – these significantly slow down internet connection