Virtual Meeting Equipment Setup
Setting up a virtual meeting room is so often overlooked yet it is so important from the audience perspective. One cannot claim to be a professional when your virtual room does not match. Here are a few ways that you can ensure your professionalism.
A teleprompter, or autocue, is a display device that prompts the person speaking with an electronic visual text of a speech or script. Using a teleprompter is similar to using cue cards. The screen is in front of, and usually below the lens of a video camera, and the words on the screen are reflected to the presenter using a sheet of clear glass or a specially prepared beam splitter.
The speaker does not need to look down to consult written notes and appears to have memorised the speech or to be speaking spontaneously, looking directly into the camera lens. Cue cards, on the other hand, are always placed away from the lens axis, making the speaker look at a point beside the camera, which is a distraction.
Creating a home setup is very simple. One would require:
- a laptop or tablet,
- a digital camera (a mobile phone with a camera works well),
- two stands (it is best to have tripod stands as they are easier to adjust and move around),
- a clip-on microphone for best sound conditions.
Place the laptop on a stand in front of the camera, which is also positioned on a tripod stand, and position the top of the laptop monitor directly below the camera lens. Set the lens of the camera to the presenter’s eye level, so it appears he/she is looking straight into the camera lens whilst reading off the PowerPoint slides. In most cases, the camera is set to view the presenter from waist level to a little above the head and having a little space around the presenter.
When using the laptop as an autocue keep the eyes on the camera lens as much as possible and in so doing, the eye peripheral will still be able to read the laptop monitor. Any slight eye movement will be picked by the camera.
Make sure your background is uncluttered and professional. Less is more. You may be fond of all those family pictures hanging on the wall behind you, but the person on the other side of the camera may find them distracting. The same goes for anything that can make you look unprofessional, like clutter, clothes, piles of boxes, and food and beverages.
Sit at your setup and take a screenshot of what the audience sees in your background. Remove objects on your desk or on your wall that may detract from your brand. Consider designating one wall as your conference wall. Invest in the colour and image of that wall and keep it consistent.
Never position your setup in front of a door or walkway as people will be walking in and out. Be careful not to have items in the room ‘growing’ out of the head, like part of a lamp or picture. Having virtual backgrounds are also not suitable as most movements react to the background.
Have a soft light or natural in front of you to lighten up your face and avoid fluorescent lights, as they cast unflattering shadows. Avoid overhead lights, too, as they can create dark under eye shadows. Place your primary light source behind your camera. This way, the light and the camera point in the same direction. You could also use two light sources behind the camera, one on the right side, one on the left.
Creating PowerPoint Prompt Slides
- Use size 40 font in Arial.
- Ensure that the script is placed at the top of the slide.
- Never exceed more than 4 lines per slide.