Virtual Presentations – A guide to successful speaking

Video conferencing and virtual meetings have always taken a backseat to face-to-face meetings. Now, with a huge proportion of the population coming to grips with travel restrictions, supply chain issues and associated problems surrounding social distancing, conference organisers face a challenging new reality – how to adapt to speaking at virtual events.

Any successful event relies heavily on the quality and engagement of its speakers. However, in a virtual setting, extra skills and thought are needed. A presenter can no longer draw on eye to eye contact, body language or applause from his audience, plus he needs to pay far more attention to audio visual elements.

As demand for virtual presentations and online conferences grows, we’d like to offer a few guidelines on how to speak at virtual events.

Choose a simple background

Aim for as little of your background décor in the shot as possible. Steer clear of positioning yourself in front of bookcases, art displays, photo frames etc, as these are likely to distract the viewer’s attention.

Natural Light

You’ll need as much natural light as possible as video quality drops considerably in poor light. Do open windows, curtains and blinds for extra light, but avoid sitting in front of any natural light source and be aware of the effects of shadows.

Equipment and Connectivity

High quality Internet connection is critical. Hard wiring computers to routers via ethernet cable will give extra stability but bear in mind the hazards of extra cabling and extension leads! Similarly, clip on microphones provide better quality audio than built in laptop equivalents.


Avoid using swivel or high backed chairs which can distract your viewers or are overly visible on screen. For this reason, we think presentations are best given whilst standing.


And of course deciding to stand means it’s vital to think of your clothing. Here ‘dress for success’ is an adage we’d fully recommend sticking to. Business attire, preferably in one colour, avoiding stripes, busy patterns, logos and images is definitely the way to go.

Eliminate Distractions

While you’re speaking you should only be interacting with your audience, and obviously you need to focus fully on your presentation. Make sure children can’t interrupt you, dogs aren’t able to bark, phones are on silent and alarms are turned off.

Stay in the Frame

Know the boundaries of your camera frame. Either ensure your camera is at eye level and to maintain eye contact with the viewers, keep a focus on that, or practice moving right and left to judge how far you can move without going out of frame. Once you start giving your presentation, it’s easy to accidentally slip out of the frame, so understanding the boundaries and practicing beforehand is essential.

Body Language

As well as looking directly in the camera whilst speaking, it’s also important to think about the pace of your virtual presentation. Remember to factor in pauses, which give the audience time to think or react, and consider body language too. Nodding movements indicate you’re listening, but do try to avoid sudden jerky gestures.

Events by Knight – Virtual Event Planning

Holding a successful and engaging virtual event may well seem a daunting task, especially as it involves new ways of thinking. Events by Knight’s Virtual Event Planning Service takes away the fear and uncertainty. We’re passionate about designing, planning and staging video conferencing and virtual events. We’ll work with you to ensure audio, video, staging and lighting techniques are appropriate and we’ll formulate a schedule to guarantee your virtual event runs smoothly and to plan.

To find out how Events by Knight can open the door to a whole new way of corporate event planning, please give us a call on or alternatively contact us by clicking the button below. We’d love to hear from you.

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