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  • The Redback Team
  • The Redback Team

    18th May 2017

“Can you hear me now? How does my hair look?” Learnings from Presenting an Online Talk Show

Learn from others' mistakes

At first, it can be daunting. You’re sitting behind a panel desk with your co-host in a closed off room with nothing more than two white robot looking cameras staring at you. The background is green, the lights are bright and before you know it ‘3,2,1 Action!’

My first thought – ‘What? Renan’s counting down and I haven’t even checked my lippy?!’

We’ve come a long way since the traditional present to a PPT with a small webcam webinar; and while we’re now engaging our online audiences more than ever, presenting online in a studio with high definition video equipment can be quite intimidating.

For the past two years, I have been co-hosting an Online TV Show titled Six Degrees of Association. A 22 minute, fortnightly webcast that’s dedicated to the Association Sector.

I’ve had so much fun, have worked with some incredibly talented people, and have definitely learnt a thing or two about presenting online.

As Season 2 of #6DA comes to an end, I thought I would share my learnings and tips – here you go:

Keep it casual and relaxed

It’s human nature to prepare and rehearse over and over until you go live. However, when presenting online it’s important to relax and keep it casual.

Why?

In a physical environment, you have an audience providing you with feedback every step of the way. This gives you a sixth sense as to what people are feeling and as a result, you might slow down, move onto the next section or ask people a question to get them thinking (or off their phones).

Switch to the online world and this doesn’t exist.

Your job is to break through the technology barrier and engage people in conversation. Too much rehearsing can result in a scripted presentation and will only disengage your online audience. My advice? Know your stuff, have some guidelines, but think of it as more of a discussion as opposed to a presentation. It will calm the nerves and resonate much more with your attendees.

Pretend it’s LIVE!

Each episode we filmed over the two seasons was pre-recorded and then streamed live. The reason? We had presenters in various locations and the concept of the show would not have worked unless we were all on the same panel at the same time.

So, here we are, pre-recorded episodes and the ability to edit anything we want. But guess what? We only took one take of each episode every single time. Sure, I stumbled across a few words here and there and yes, we went off script every now and then, but that’s what made the show work.

It made us human, and our online audience could relate to that!

As a presenter, it’s like a switch is flicked when you know something is going to be live. If you’re ever recording an online presentation, try and pretend it’s streaming live. Just give it your best shot, and if you stumble, make a simple make a joke out of it and move on.

This also means there will be less editing in the post-production phase…

Passion is key

There’s no doubt that passionate presenters can make all the difference. In Season 2 of #6DA we decided to interview a range of CEOs who were really making a difference in the sector. With so many to choose from, how did we select the top six? It all came down to how passionate they were.

We had no idea how they would come across on camera, in fact many of them had never presented online before. For us, it was about asking them questions that increased excitement or bringing up topics that created a bit of controversy.

You can use all the interactive tools the platform has to offer and rehearse until the very last second, but if you are not passionate about what you are saying then there’s no point in going to all the effort to create online content.

Final thoughts…

Along with all of this, one of my biggest learnings was to trust the experts around you. Like I said, technology can be very intimidating and as a presenter, my first thought was always to query what was happening and make sure that everything was running perfectly – this is despite the fact that I work with these guys daily!

Simply focus on what you do best, and everything else will fall into place!

Enjoy the journey,
Sara

Sara-circle

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