Make Time for a “Dress Rehearsal.”
Many everyday speakers are finding themselves thrown into the limelight. They are giving important presentations, leading classes, or giving talks, and all on unfamiliar virtual platforms. But don’t let your level of comfort with your topic blind you to the technical demands of the new virtual world.
To ensure a professional, glitch-free presentation, build in time for a complete run-through beforehand.
- Set your cell phone to record. You will need this for post-rehearsal evaluation.
- Wear the clothing you plan to wear on the day. Check colors and patterns to see how they read on camera with your coloring and background. You will also find out if an item of clothing doesn’t work; earrings catching on headset wires, an itchy collar.
- Set up lighting that will work regardless of the weather. Do not base your lighting on a bright sunny day. There is no guarantee it won’t rain at the exact time you are on.
- Check for any extraneous sound; noisy overhead fans. Work out how to ensure your work area remains quiet during the presentation.
- If you plan to share screens or annotate slides, make sure you are comfortable with the technology. Practice any techniques that are new to you.
- Have everything you will need close to hand. You cannot rush off to get water if you develop cotton mouth.
- Set your timer and go through from start to end, as if it was the actual day. If you make a mistake, try if possible to keep going. Issues may still crop up on the day, and you will be better able to regroup and continue.
- Critique your recording and make notes of areas where you can improve.
- Aim for one error-free, time appropriate rehearsal.
The confidence gained by knowing you can do it perfectly will allay any on-day nerves.