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Tips for Speakers

We’ve created this resource page for speakers who are recording presentations for the Virtual 2021 INFORMS Business Analytics Conference. Each week, we’ll add new content to help take your presentation from good to great, so check back frequently. 

In Case You Missed the April 7 Speaker Training

Please watch the recording of the tutorial from MeetingPlay (the conference platform.)

Download the Virtual Speaker Information Packet

How to record a Zoom presentation

Check out a helpful tutorial that walks you through recording your Analytics Conference presentation on Zoom.

The Power of Good Lighting

Lighting can have significant impact on quality of recording. Before you record, it’s important to consider what the quality of the lighting is in your space. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • Try to record yourself in a place where there’s bright natural light.
  • No window? A bright artificial light will help but be careful where you position it.
  • The light source ideally should be behind your laptop or web camera and shining in your direction.
  • Adding a white tablecloth can help bounce the light up at your face.
  • Position yourself so the light is illuminating as much of your face as possible.
  • Also, try to be looking slightly up at the camera rather than down into it. Prop your laptop on a stack of books if you need to and sit so that your head and shoulders are in the frame. This will help minimize shadows.
  • Remember the goal is for your audience to see your face clearly, and with the right tricks, you can make that work anywhere.

Creating a Good Slide Deck

Watch this short, informative video for tips on creating a good slide deck for you presentation. Additionally, you can download a PDF of the presentation tips for reference.

Download the Analytics Conference Branded PowerPoint Template

Zoom Backgrounds

If you would like, feel free to download one of the branded Virtual 2021 INFORMS Business Analytics Conference Zoom backgrounds. You can use these to record your presentation or for use during your scheduled live Q&A session.

To install a Zoom background:

  1. Click ^ arrow next to “Stop Video” in bottom tool bar of Zoom
  2. Click “Video Settings”
  3. On left side navigation, click “Virtual Background”
  4. To the right of “Choose Virtual Background” click the plus button.
  5. Click add image.
  6. Save and select new background.

Note, if  your background is displaying backwards in your recording or live, click “Mirror my Video” at bottom of window. Backgrounds work best when you are in front of a plain white wall.

Click on the images below to download the full size graphic for your use.

Video Tips

These recommendations have been established so that your video presentation will look professional, help mitigate stress, and ensure that you have the best experience possible.

  1. Find a quiet, well-lit location
    The first part of a good quality video presentation is finding a location where there will be minimal or no interruptions. This area should be quiet, with little chance of there being a lot of background noise. It should also be well lit, either by a window or a nice bright light. This will ensure that participants will be able to see your face clearly.
  2. Be aware of how your camera and microphone are positioned
    • Make sure that you are not sitting right in front of your light source. Position your laptop or web camera so that the light source is behind it. You should be sitting in the light. Make sure that you are not sitting too close or too far away. Your face should look natural on the screen. Too close and you will be too bright, too far away and you will be in the shadows.
    • Your microphone should be positioned so that it is pointed at you and is fairly close so that you can be heard clearly. You want your mic as close as you can get it, so it doesn’t pick up a lot of unwanted noise.
    • Position your camera so that it is roughly at the same height as your eyes. If you are using a laptop, raise it up so the screen is basically at the same level as your face. Your head and part of your shoulders and chest should be in the shot. Do not position the camera in a way that is showing just your head and neck and you are looking down into your device. One tip is to look at your camera when you are talking, rather than looking at your screen, this helps viewers feel as if you are speaking directly to them.
  3. Keep your environment simple
    Try to keep your background as basic and as clutter free as possible. There can be a few things behind you, but too much and it will detract from the main focus – you. Also be sure to sit in a comfortable chair, this will help minimize the need to shift and keep you on camera. You are also welcome to use the INFORMS background provided to you.
  4. Dress like you would for a conference
    You don’t need to wear your fanciest suit, but dress professionally. Avoid small prints such as pin stripes, checks and tiny polka dots. At times those prints can make a screen “dance” and be distracting for viewers. Avoid pure white or black. Depending on the background, you could blend into it or make it difficult for the camera to focus on you. If you tend to have a shiny face or forehead, a light layer of powder can help minimize it.
  5. Minimize distractions
    Another key to having a professional video is to turn off all email, text, and phone notifications before beginning. A simple trick is to put your phone on Airplane mode. If you are in a room that can be closed off, do so. A note can be hung outside stating that you are recording and that there should be no disruptions for the next hour.
  6. Make eye-contact and smile
    Remember to make eye-contact; looking at the camera lens will ensure your viewers feel like you’re talking directly with them. You are proud of your hard work and research, so remember to smile.
  7. Practice!
    Have a trial run or two beforehand so you know you’ll look and sound great. Being prepared will make you more comfortable and that much more enjoyable to watch.