Technology and Gadget

The Technology Used During an Online Speech

 

Giving a speech online comes with its own unique set of challenges. While an in-person audience can make direct eye contact and pick up on body language cues, an online audience is limited to whatever they can see and hear through their screens. This makes choosing the right technology for an online speech incredibly important. Utilizing the proper programs and equipment can be the difference between engaging your audience or losing them to the distractions of their devices. In this article, we’ll explore the key technologies used to deliver an effective online speech.

Video Conferencing Software

At the core of any online speech is the video conferencing or webinar software used to connect the speaker with the audience. There are many options to choose from, both paid and free, including:

Video Conferencing Software

Zoom

Zoom has become synonymous with video calls and online meetings. The platform makes it easy for a speaker to arrange a virtual event and provide access to attendees. Features like screen sharing, polling, Q&A, and breakout rooms give speakers useful tools to interact with their audience.

WebEx

Cisco’s WebEx is a powerful video conference service with options for webinars at scale. It offers useful tools for engaging with an audience like live chat, Q&A, polling, hand raise features and more. Speakers can also record events and share content easily.

GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting focuses on ease of use for online meetings, webinars and events. Speakers can quickly start or join meetings using any device. Audiences can connect through mobile apps, web browsers or dial-in numbers. Useful tools like shared screens, whiteboards, polls and chat add engagement.

Google Meet

As part of Google’s G Suite, Meet makes it simple for speakers to arrange video conferences and invite audiences. Easy screen sharing and real-time captions help keep attendees engaged. For larger events, Meet can live stream to up to 100,000 viewers.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams supports meetings, webinars and live events for up to 10,000 attendees. Presenters can share screens and co-author documents in real time. Teams also enables audience engagement with chat, surveys and Q&A features.

The right video conference platform allows speakers to effectively reach and interact with their online audience. Considering factors like ease of use, audience size, and engagement features helps match the technology to an event’s needs.

Audio Equipment

High-quality audio is critical for an online presentation. Muffled, echoing or cutting out sound quickly diminishes engagement. Using the proper audio gear enhances a speaker’s delivery and ensures their audience can hear them clearly.

Microphones

A dedicated USB microphone or headset provides clearer vocals than built-in laptop mics. For professional quality sound, condenser microphones capture rich audio. Dynamic microphones pick up less ambient noise for more focused vocal reproduction.

Mixers and Audio Interfaces

Adding an audio mixer or interface gives finer control over levels, equalization and effects. Audio interfaces connect mics and other gear to computers. Mixers enable managing multiple mic or audio sources. Both allow dialing in sound quality.

Mixers and Audio Interfaces

Speakers

Quality speakers ensure a speaker can be heard evenly by their audience. Studio monitors or dedicated computer speakers provide clear, full sound. Headphones assist monitoring audio levels and quality. For large venues, PA systems project and distribute speech audio.

Feedback Suppression

Audio devices like echo cancellers and noise suppressors reduce feedback and ambient noise. This helps maintain sound quality, especially for audience members using computer speakers.

Professional grade audio equipment enhances vocal delivery and audio clarity. Investing in the right gear makes a big difference in audience experience and engagement.

Lighting

Proper lighting ensures speakers are visible and appears professional on camera. Bad lighting can strain audience eyes, create distractions and detract from the speech. Quality lighting typically involves a three-point setup:

Key Light

The key light illuminates the main subject directly. It provides the primary light source, shining onto the speaker from the front. This casts some shadow to create modeling and depth.

Fill Light

A fill light adds light onto the speaker from the front sides. This fills shadows in and eliminates harsh contrasts from the key. The result is a flattering full illumination of the speaker’s face.

Back Light

The back light shines onto the speaker from behind. This helps separate them from the background and adds dimension. The back light adds an appealing rim lighting effect around their silhouette.

Light Positioning

Lights should surround the speaker rather than cluster directly in front. Angled lights from 45 degree offsets create ideal illumination and avoid flat, mugshot style lighting.

With high quality LED or continuous lighting kits, replicating professional lighting setups at home is achievable on any budget. Proper lighting ultimately makes speakers look and sound their best.

Camera Gear

Using professional cameras, lenses and supports lifts the production value of an online speech. Built-in laptop webcams look amateurish and limit framing options. Investing in the right camera gear makes a big difference in visual impact.

Cameras

A dedicated webcam, mirrorless or DSLR camera enables great looking video. Features like HD or 4K resolution, high frame rates, zoom lenses and autofocus provide flexibility.

Lenses

The right lens for the space is essential. Wide angle lenses in tight rooms prevent excessive zooming. Telephoto lenses allow tight shots in larger venues. Zoom lenses offer versatility in shot framing.

Supports

Mounting cameras on tripods or wall/ceiling rigs allows for smooth motion and secure shots. Pan/tilt heads offer additional movement and control.

Switchers

For multi-camera setups, a hardware switcher like the Blackmagic ATEM Mini enables transitions and mixing between different views. This adds production value and dynamic shot composition.

Upgrading basic gear for professional cameras, lenses and supports elevates the audience experience from an amateur home video to cinematic event.

Presentation Software

Quality visual aids enhance an online speech rather than simply mirroring what is said. Presentation software empowers impactful slides and multimedia to add value for audiences. Options include:

PowerPoint

Microsoft’s ubiquitous presentation software enables speakers to integrate slides and multimedia. Templates, animations and transitions help create compelling visual content.

Keynote

Apple’s equivalent presentation software with great templates and animation options. Export to PowerPoint makes cross-platform compatibility easy.

Prezi

Prezi’s unique zoomed presentation style sets it apart from traditional “slide” based apps. Creative motion graphic options can make for engaging visuals.

Google Slides

Part of Google’s free online office suite. Easy collaboration and built-in audience Q&A features make it a convenient option.

Canva

Canva provides professionally designed templates and drag and drop editing for stunning visuals. Engage mode turns static slides into animated presentations.

Invest time into creating strong visual elements that support speech ideas rather than just amplifying them. This effort takes presentations to the next level.

Teleprompters

For long or complex speeches, teleprompters enable smooth delivery while maintaining connection with the audience. Scrolling text helps standardize pacing, avoid memorization lapses and stick to time. Options include:

Dedicated Teleprompters

Full setups position a reflective glass in the sightline of the camera. Professional gear like heavy duty stands and hoods block the glare from lights. An operator computer feeds the scrolling script to the prompter.

iPad/Tablet

A budget DIY option is to simply use a tablet loaded with the script in a teleprompter app. Mounting it just below the webcam line-of-sight achieves a similar effect.

Software

Web browser or software options eliminate hardware needs. Tools like Teleprompter Mirror, Autocue andCuePrompter display scripts that speakers can advance and zoom to their preference.

For long keynotes and events, teleprompters enable focusing energy on delivery rather than memorization. They lead to smoother, more polished speeches.

Speech Delivery Gear

Speech Delivery Gear

Making physical delivery aspects look professional on camera requires some unique gear. Simple upgrades prevent amateurish distractions:

Lectern

Clear acrylic lecterns place focus on the speaker rather than furniture. Adjustable heights and tilting tops accommodate different physical needs. Digital options feature built-in screens, audio and lighting.

Lav Mic

Lav mics connect to a speaker’s clothing to keep hands free. Wireless options allow free movement. A lav captures clear audio even at a distance from other mics.

Confidence Monitor

A confidence monitor situated near the camera gives a speaker a view of exactly how they appear on camera. This feedback helps avoid distracting behaviors like shifting off frame.

Eyeline Guide

An LED bar placed over the camera provides a visual eyeline reminder, allowing the speaker to stare directly into the lens. This creates connection with the virtual audience.

Handheld Clicker

A wired or wireless clicker advances slides without having to return to a computer. This smoother transition keeps the pacing and focus on content.

Fine tuning physical delivery elements for the virtual medium takes an online speech to the next level. Minor adjustments and the right supporting gear make all the difference.

Streaming Platforms

For wider reach beyond a single live event, utilizing dedicated streaming platforms expands the potential audience. Streaming opens up presentations to:

Website Visitors

Embedding a video player on a website allows hosting a speech for visitors to view on-demand. This extends accessibility beyond just live attendees.

Social Followers

Streaming to social platforms like YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn provides access to existing followers. This exposes a speech to wider established networks.

Public Channels

YouTube, Vimeo and other open video platforms give speeches a home outside specific events. The content lives on for interested visitors to discover over time.

Private Viewers

Tools like Vimeo’s password protected links allow restricting streams access to select private audiences beyond public viewing.

Dedicated streaming centralizes an event’s content for flexible on-demand viewing. Recording speeches for re-use also creates valuable evergreen marketing assets.

Audience Engagement Tools

Actively engaging the audience makes online speeches more interactive and less passive viewing. Digital tools help overcome the barriers of virtual communication:

Live Polls

Platforms like PowerPoint, Teams, and Mentimeter enable quick polls to gauge opinions and responses. Keeping audiences actively answering questions maintains involvement.

Q&A Boxes

Dedicated audience Q&A boxes give a clear place for attendees to ask questions during or after a speech. Moderators can filter and deliver relevant questions at logical points.

Chat Windows

Live chat areas allow conversations around speech topics in real time. This facilitates discussions and commentary audiences would have in person.

Feedback Surveys

Quick feedback forms help capture audience reactions and input. Surveys provide useful data for gauging effectiveness and engagement.

Social Media Integration

Integrating social feeds, hashtags and mentions encourages real-time social conversation around speech topics. Displaying this social stream maintains energy.

Breakout Rooms

Temporary separate discussion spaces allow for attendee interaction around prompts related to the speech. Reporting back key points aids retention.

Virtual Backgrounds

Services like Zoom allow audiences to upload custom virtual backgrounds related to the speech topic to show involvement.

Actively using two-way interactive features transforms passive viewers into engaged participants. This magnifies the impact and retains audience attention.

Rehearsal & Testing

Rehearsing the entire technical setup and flow is vital for smooth online speeches. Thoroughly testing and troubleshooting equipment avoids distracting failures during live delivery for both speakers and audiences.

Practice Run Throughs

Complete walk throughs ensure familiarity with gear and platforms. Confirming timing, transitions and slides helps build confidence.

Equipment Tests

Verifying full functionality of mics, cameras, lighting and software prior avoids issues. Check batteries, connections and stability.

Network Speeds

Validating internet speeds and router setup prevents bottlenecks. Slow connections disrupt presentations through video drops and lag.

Backup Plans

Having contingency plans for equipment like extra batteries, redundant internet dongles or alternate computers minimizes potential disruptions.

Dress Rehearsals

Full production run throughs simulate the live environment. This isolates flaws in flows, content, and coordination for correction prior.

Meticulous preparation is required for technical smoothness. Thorough rehearsals enable speakers to minimize glitches and fully focus on content delivery.

Post Production

Recording online speeches provides options for repurposing content through post production and editing. Enhancing the video and audio quality maximizes the value of the content.

Editing

Tightly editing speeches improves pacing and engagement for on-demand viewing. Removing dead space and mistakes tightens up the content.

Audio Mixing

Balancing and optimizing audio levels, equalization and compression polishes sound quality. Consistent levels amplify vocal clarity.

Visual Graphics

Title screens, lower thirds, logos and name supers can brand content and improve aesthetics. Simple visuals enhance production polish.

Closed Captions

Adding closed captions expands accessibility and makes videos social media friendly. AI services expedite transcribing and syncing captions to audio.

Chapter Markers

Including navigation chapters around key sections makes revisiting specific parts effortless for viewers. This improves viewer experience.

Light post production and optimization transforms a live event into a marketing asset with expanded reach and shelf life. The right edits amplify engagement and accessibility.

Networking & Community Building

The social connections made around events can hold as much long term value as the content itself. Facilitating audience networking leads to deeper engagement:

Virtual Coffee Breaks

Informal video chat spaces between sessions enable conversations to organically occur between attendees. This replicates water cooler moments.

Discussion Boards

Dedicated forums centered around speech topics encourage ongoing exchanges. These spaces build communities that continue beyond an event.

Social Walls

Aggregated event hashtags and handles give exposure to inspired conversations occuring around content on public social platforms.

Breakout Sessions

Smaller video chat breakout groups focus discussions on audience-driven topics. Participants get quality facetime with each other.

Networking Events

Virtual cocktail receptions, mixers or meetups following speeches allow casual networking in a social environment. These facilitate connections made through shared experiences.

The relationships established around powerful speeches give rise to collaboration, advocacy and action. Curating opportunities for quality attendee interactions compounds inspirational effects.

Takeaways for Giving a Successful Online Speech

5 Key Takeaways for Giving a Successful Online Speech

  1. Choose user-friendly video conference software with engagement features like polls, chat and Q&A. This allows actively interacting with the audience.
  2. Invest in quality audio gear like professional mics and mixers for clear vocal reproduction free of ambient noise and feedback. Good sound is essential.
  3. Replicate three point studio lighting setups to achieve flattering key, fill and back illumination free of shadows and distractions.
  4. Select cameras, lenses and supports with sufficient resolution, zoom and stability to achieve professional production value in shot composition.
  5. Conduct rigorous pre-event testing of equipment, connections and flows to minimize technical issues during delivery. Thorough rehearsals build confidence and smoothness.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most important element for giving a successful online speech?

Preparation is the single most important element. Thoroughly testing equipment, rehearsing transitions and flow, refining content, and anticipating problems will lead to the smoothest delivery. Being intimately familiar with the technology removes distractions so focus stays on communicating ideas.

What minimum equipment should be used for an online speech?

At a bare minimum use an HD webcam, a dedicated USB microphone, basic three point lighting (even just desk lamps), slides in presentation software, and an internet connection of at least 10 mbps upload and download speeds. Rehearse in the same environment as the speech to avoid surprises.

How can audience engagement be encouraged during online speeches?

Tools like live polling questions, chat windows, Q&A boxes and feedback surveys involve passive viewers and encourage participation. Breakout rooms, social media integration and networking events also facilitate attendee discussion and connections around content.

What causes poor audio quality during online speeches?

Low quality built-in mics pick up echo and ambient noise rather than clear vocals. Laptop speakers also distort and muffle sound. Investing in a dedicated USB mic and headphones or speakers provides professional vocal reproduction the audience can hear clearly.

Why are practice and testing important prior to an online speech?

Meticulous dry runs uncover issues like lighting glare on glasses, choppy audio, placment outside webcam framing, unreliable internet speeds, and inconsistent slide transitions. Discovering these potential distractions ahead of time enables smoothing and perfecting delivery.

What should online speeches avoid?

Avoid long unbroken speeches that lose audience attention. Use concise points reinforced visually and interactively. Also avoid passive one way communication through overreliance on slides without audience participation. Technical glitches from insufficient testing undermine delivery, so thorough preparation is key.

Conclusion

The technology available today empowers delivering engaging online speeches that inform and inspire audiences anywhere in the world. While virtual communication makes connecting with viewers intrinsically different, utilizing the right tools facilitates clear vocal and visual delivery along with dynamic audience participation.

Investing time into mastering physical setups and rehearsing flows allows speakers to confidently interact with attendees live. Capturing events creates valuable evergreen content for extended reach. Much like the meticulous preparation and testing required for successful online presentations, ensuring WhatsApp can display over other apps is crucial for seamless communication. With careful attention to technical details, both aspects contribute to the effectiveness of online interactions, driving change and creating a sense of community comparable to the impact of the best in-person events.

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