Thursday, November 20, 2008

3 Tips for Presenting to an Empty Room

A few days ago, I created a 'pre-recorded webinar'. I sat in a room by myself and talked to my computer for 35 minutes. It was hard! I tried to put myself in the seat of the person who would have to listen and watch. Here's what I did to spice it up:
  1. Humor

    I introduced myself and then pretended to introduce others who were attendees. I found some fun photos of people who I could introduce and welcome. Later on, I took questions from the audience and used silly photos (someone sleeping, for example) to make it fun.

  2. Video

    I used my webcam at the beginning, middle, and end to make it more personal. Admittedly, the quality of the video and synchronization with my voice (in the recording) leaves a bit to be desired. However, I felt the visual connection with the participant outweighed these drawbacks.

  3. Props

    I didn't think that a "talking head", some photos, and an occassional webcam video was enough to keep participants engaged. I went for "props" as a way to change things up. In the session, I discussed various microphones and headsets to connect to a computer. For props, I held different types of headsets and mics up to the webcam to "show versus tell". I also considered writing things on paper, using sticky notes, and other props that could be used at intervals but didn't try it this time.
What do you think of these techniques?

And what other ideas do you have for me to try the next time I pre-record a workshop, seminar, or class?

1 comment:

dknoxxx said...

Great ideas. Marshall says that the difference for recording alone and presenting live is like the difference between radio and theater.

If it's audio only, then I find it to work best to do it interview style or simulated radio style i.e., you ask the questions to yourself - "So, David, what do you do next?"

If you are broadcasting slides and speaking, then the slides have to change (or something on the slides has to change) every 15-20 seconds. I use animations coordinated with a script to keep the flow going.

If the topic is light, humor is great but always difficult. I think bringing in a laugh track would make it work.