The ultimate virtual event speaker brief
One area we know loads of event professionals are struggling with is getting good digital content for their online events. So we have created the ultimate virtual event speaker brief.
If you are an organiser who has never organised an online event before and you are worried about briefing your speakers then this article is for you!
If you have organised virtual events but you are still not receiving the quality of content you hope for then this article is for you.
If you are a speaker who wants to deliver better content for virtual events, then this article is for you.
Our ultimate guide to briefing speakers to deliver virtual sessions
We thought the best way to support you to support your speakers to deliver better content for your virtual meetings was to walk t=you through a guide that you can LITERALLY CUT AND PASTE and use for your next virtual events.
Our guide covers everything they could possibly need to help them prepare a session.
We have structured this virtual event speaker brief to cover:
Part one: Recordings – the basics (includes link to best practice example video)
Part two: How to record your session
Part three: What to record
Part four: The delivery
Part five: Delivering us your presentation
So let’s get started your ultimate virtual event speaker brief
Thank you once again for agreeing to present a virtual session for INSERT COMPANY.
Before you get started writing and recording your session, we would like to give you some guidance on how best to present and record a virtual session.
It is crucial when presenting a virtual session that you are able to deliver your key points in a succinct and dynamic manner.
As you will be aware, your session is one of ten or more sessions that our audience will likely watch over a seven hour period.
If you have ever watched a virtual summit, or perhaps a series of webinars, you will know that it is tough to feel engaged.
If all you are doing is sitting in front of a small screen watching a series of similar speakers and sessions unfold your interest will wane.
We of course all want to avoid this happening!
Part one: recordings – the basics
Before you get stuck into the recording we would like to watch a short video on our Youtube channel:
This will help you cover the basics with examples of background, speed of delivery, tone of voice etc.
Some additional tips for recording
Microphone and sound
If you are around arms length from your recording device then the inbuilt microphone on your digital camera, smartphone or computer, will be good enough for the recording.
If you plan to present from further away, then you will more than likely need an external microphone.
No matter what microphone you use you must check the sound levels before you do your final recording.
We can alter the sound levels once we have your video so it’s not much of a problem, however, we can more easily turn the volume down if it is too loud than turn the volume up.
What we have to ensure you avoid is background noise. You need to find a nice quiet environment for your recording. There’s not much more to consider when it comes to sound.
In general, you want to find a nice bright space for your recording. The light really helps the presentation jump off the screen.
A dull, dark room can easily translate into a dull presentation.
You, of course, want to avoid any lights being too bright and your camera will pick up light differently so again, double check before you do your final recording.
Where to stand or sit
It is harder to hold the viewer’s attention if you are sitting in front of your camera for the whole presentation. In fact we advise that you avoid this “webinar” style presentation.
It is possible that you can sit and still have a session that doesn’t resemble a webinar, but it is a little harder.
If you do present sitting down, you should be just over an extended arm’s length away from the camera.
This will allow you to have a bit more expression when you are presenting.
Normally, if a presenter stands, they are able to present a more dynamic presentation.
If you do have a good microphone you should consider presenting from a little bit further away, say, two extended arms length.
This will allow the viewer to see more of you and you can be more animated.
Standing a bit further away will allow us to zoom in and out a bit more, and this makes for a more dynamic session.
The background you choose for your presentation is very important.
It’s good to have something in the background, rather than a plain wall, but you don’t want too much.
Here are the details again so you can check out our best practice examples including good background examples:
Part two: how to record your session as part of your virtual event speaker brief
There are only really three ways in which you can record your session:
One: Record your presentation on either your web camera, digital camera or your
smartphone and send that file to us.
Two: Use our recording platform (for example) screencast-o-matic.
Three: Use another method, like presenting and capturing your own screen using
something like Zoom.
If you want to record your session yourself you certainly have more control doing this with your own camera or using your smartphone.
Smartphones and new laptops/computers have HD quality cameras so you will have a good enough camera for a great quality recording.
One benefit with a smartphone over a laptop is that it’s easier to record your session away from your desk.
Normally when you use a laptop you are sitting down and presenting from a seated position.
You don’t need to sit down of course, but you’d need to elevate the laptop if you wanted to move away from a webinar style presentation.
You should be looking slightly up at the camera lens as you present.
Apart from that, there isn’t any real difference in using either your web camera, digital camera or your smartphone to record your session.
Even if you plan to use several slides you don’t necessarily have to use your computer to record your session.
With the recording from your phone you can use any video editing software and drop in your slides, or you can send us the slides and we will drop them into your presentation.
And remember if you use your smartphone camera, you MUST record in landscape not portrait.
Using our platform screencast-o-matic.
It is a very easy platform to use and it is designed to record your screen.
This is the simplest way to record a session with slides and if you have your web camera turned on, it can record your face too.
We like to see our presenters as much as possible. Again, check out the examples we have on our support video.
If you do want to consider using this platform then drop us a note and we can support you.
If you already use another platform to record sessions then you can use that.
Part three: what to record
We, of course, know that you share our goal of making the event as engaging as possible so here are a few tips we would like you to follow:
Length of session
The length of your recording should be between 18 to 25 minutes. You may not think this is very long, however, its modelled on the incredibly successful TED conference format.
TED curator Chris Anderson explained the organisation’s thinking this way:
“18 minutes is long enough to be serious and short enough to hold people’s attention. It turns out that this length also works incredibly well online”
If you plan to have slides you should not have more than ten of them.
Bullet points should be avoided and you should use images where possible.
Any slides that do have text should be nicely spaced out.
Structuring your session
Consider how you can make your content and your delivery dynamic and memorable.
We really want to encourage you to move away from the traditional “webinar” format.
Remember, most of the viewers will be watching a few hours of content, so your job is to help them remember your key points.
That’s an extra challenge when your viewer is watching remotely.
So to help you present a more dynamic session we have a few suggested structures:
1. The Scenario based session
One good way is to structure your session as a “scenario” based session. So for example:
- “You have been given a presentation to do for your boss says doesn’t want a boring old presentation”
- “You have less than a week to organise an event”
- “You have been landed with a new director and they never use email!”
If you wanted to follow a scenario based session here is a loose structure that you could follow.
- Short introduction including the summary of your session and your scenario
- Your 3 to 5 key points that you want the attendees to take away
- The main part of your presentation, working through the scenario
- How they can expand on this scenario to make it more practical
- Your 3 to 5 key points that you want the attendees to take away (again)
- Further reading and any personal notes
2. The list session
One of the best ways to deliver virtual content is to present a list and work through each example. For example, “15 tips to negotiate the best deal at your venue” or “Ten Brilliant Travel Apps”
This works very well with a shorter digital session and makes sure the session pops along at a good pace.
3. The training session
Some of the sessions we ask for fall clearly into this category.
You may be asked to deliver training on a specific platform or training on a particular topic.
These sessions will tend to be longer (and maybe around 30mins) and can include a lot of detail.
These types of sessions may look more like a “webinar style session”, where you have the presenter in front of their screen delivering the content.
You should avoid packing your session with content, but of course you do want to do your topic justice.
One of the best ways to help you decide on the right amount of content for a training session, is to think that the person will watch it twice.
So you should have enough content to entice them back for a second showing, but not too much that it will overwhelm them.
4. The picture and video based session
This is a perfect format for digital sessions.
The presenter becomes more of a host, introducing good examples and letting other people (via short video clips or images) deliver their key themes.
Part four: the delivery as part of your virtual event speaker brief
The first thing to highlight is that you do not need to do your recording in one take.
For most of our sessions we recommend that the session should be between 18 mins – 22 mins (apart from the more detailed training session) and it would be a big challenge to memorise the session and deliver it without making mistakes.
So we recommend taking it in small chunks.
It is up to you to decide on what you feel comfortable with.
However, for a 20 min recording, breaking three or four times would be a good benchmark. However, whatever works for you should be the key thing here!
If you have slides as part of your presentation, it could make sense to do a voiceover for those sections, anything really to take the pressure off you speaking to a camera for a long period of time.
Every piece of editing software will allow you to use nice little transitions to make this editing and recording process look seamless.
Of course, continuity is important.
If you do record in sections, don’t change your clothes or record in different lighting conditions. I know it sounds obvious doesn’t it, but you would be surprised!
A good way to record your session is to take advantage of any natural breaks in the content.
If for example, you have a case study or scenario-based presentation, which can be broken down into distinct parts, it may make sense to break at each part.
You could even record each part from a slightly different or a completely different location.
If your presentation format allows this, then having a bit more freedom to change the location or elements within your presentation, will make for a more dramatic session.
The length and duration of your session
It would help if you deliver your presentation to camera in a measured and precise fashion, not too slow and not too fast.
The whole session should be at a measured pace, however changing the speed of how you talk during your session can give your content some more impact.
Slowing down to deliver an important point is a great way to highlight to your audience that they need to pay special attention.
Speeding up doesn’t quite have the same effect.
It is also worth considering when it would be a good idea to repeat something.
Repetition reinforces the importance of something, so if you have your key point do not be afraid to say it twice.
Also if you have something that you know will come as a surprise to your audience, again repetition will help emphasise that bit of surprising information.
Part five: sending us your presentation the most important part of the virtual event speaker brief
Once you have recorded your session and you are happy with it, you will have to export it and then send it to us.
You will be presented with options when you export your recording.
The exact options will differ depending on what platform or software you use, however, you should export in a format:
- That will render a recording under 1GB
- Is in 720 resolution
We do not need HD broadcast quality so “standard” settings are normally suitable for exported recordings. Here is the export from iMovies as an example:
Once you have exported your file we suggest you use WeTransfer to send video files.
This is an easy platform for file sharing and is free.
If there is anything you are not clear about please contact us before you start recording.
Good luck and thanks again!
So that’s it! Our Ultimate guide to briefing speakers to deliver virtual sessions.
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