Getting the most from our virtual speakers – reflections on our Masterclass
26 October 2022
On 30th September we brought together a panel of experts to review how to get the most from virtual speakers. Our panel covered the disciplines from event design through to event technology:
- Samme Allen – Professional virtual emcee / host and CEO of ConferenceEmcees.com
- Paul Cook – Event Producer and Author of Supercharge Your Virtual Speaking
- Joe Anwar – Event Technologist and Marketer, Crystal Interactive.
- Chris Elmitt – CEO and Founder of Livve.
Here’s what we learnt:
Samme: It’s important to get our speakers into the mindset of speaking. When we present in-person, we are standing on stage, so we can re-create that in virtual – whether using a pile of books on a kitchen counter or something more elaborate, it’s easy to have a speaker standing rather than sitting and it will improve their delivery. Second tip is to have a plan for when the inevitable technical hiccups happen in virtual events. This is where a professional host can really come to the fore. Having someone who can just pick up the slack, provide a continuity link, improvise and support speakers if they get into technical difficulties can make the difference between a slick show and a major disruption.
Paul: We have to accept that virtual is here to stay – not just because of the environmental and economic benefits but also because it is more inclusive. When designing a virtual event, it’s not uncommon for speakers to have great creative ideas about how and what they are going to present. But these grand designs need meticulous planning to ensure nothing is overlooked. Concurring with Samme on mindset and preparation, Paul reflected that speakers needed to get into the zone when they are about to go live in a virtual event. They should not expect to be able to just jump in with no prep and have a positive impact with the audience. This lazy preparation is disrespectful to the audience – it’s not how speakers prepare to present in person, so it’s not how they should do things in virtual either.
Joe: On the technology front many of us know that there is a difference between a good and back speaker setup and yet we still see common mistakes. Even facing a window (rather than having it behind you) will make a huge difference to what the audience sees. But going through the gears, there are significant improvements we can make if we are serious about presenting with impact: upgrading cameras (to an external webcam or even a mirrorless camera) will improve things, as will small, wired lavalier microphones, simple LED panel lights and indeed plain backdrops which avoid the need for face-blurring virtual backgrounds.
Chris: We have to accept that, as virtual events become a constant in our work lives, as organisers and speakers, we must continue to raise the bar in the delivery of content. Events must rise above the daily diet of Teams or Zoom calls in the quality of production, preparation and presentation if they are to achieve their goals. The Livve virtual event platform can help corporates and agencies to raise the quality of their shows and provide a better experience for virtual speakers. Contact us to find out more.