The below article was written for the Professional Speakers Association of India’s ProSpeak magazine, thanks to Mr Narendra Brahmankar, Editor of PSAI NEWSLETTER for the invitation.
The mantra for a successful virtual speaking session will be “Content, Camera and Microphone”. Your audience can hear and see you only as good as what your camera and microphone can capture. Based on my experience, here are a few tips.
BASICS: Ensure there is enough lighting on your face. Unless you are facing a window and it is daytime you will require a (tube) light or a ring light facing you. Sit in a quiet space, ensure there is no visual clutter behind you (let your background not look like a billboard), if possible, use a green cloth as a backdrop.
CAMERA: All laptop webcams including Apple do not give high quality results. Buy a good external one with a resolution of 1080p (HD). Avoid the numerous low-quality unbranded models and the apps that turn your phone into a webcam. HP & Lenovo have recently introduced entry-level 1080p webcams that are good. Next will be the Logitech C920/922 models. At the top-end is Logitech 4K model called Brio – you will need only for high-quality video recording & sharing on YouTube and not for live video calls. Many of the newer DSLR cameras, support being connected to a PC and are a good bet.
Pro Tip: Place the camera on a tripod in the front, rather than the top of the monitor, this way you will appear to be looking at your audience than the screen.
MICROPHONE: As an upgrade to the built-in mic, go for an “Omni Directional Lavelier” Microphone which are affordable, can be clipped on to your shirt collar & connected to the 3.5mm headphone port in your PC or Mac. Most modern phones including iPhones don’t have this port. As a Professional Speaker, I will recommend you go for a condenser microphone from Blue Yeti or Fifine. These connect to the USB port in your PC or Mac only.