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Submitted by derosier on


I'm looking for suggestions on how to do a professional MT style presentation to my co-workers over video conference.


I've been listening to all of the MT and CT casts on giving presentations and while very helpful, there's nothing that addresses specific differences doing so over video conference where some of the audience is local and the rest remote.  Some of the advice, particularly about where to stand, movement and so on are problematic with our setup.


Here's the detail. One member of our team gives a presentation on a technical topic to the the group during our weekly staff meeting. This is generally a training push on behalf of our group.  Unfortunately, our group is split, with 5 people attending here in our San Jose location and the rest of the team, 10+, located near Vancouver Canada.  As our business is Unified Connectivity (phone, video conference, etc; I work for Polycom), we make extensive use of our technologies for our meetings and don't worry about having distributed teams as we believe the technology helps significantly.


We've been doing these presentations now for a few months, and they've varied from dreadful to good.  In no cases are they MT material. Lots of late starts due to fumbling with trying to deliver the slides over the video system, presenters sitting back in their seats while presenting, letting the slides do the presentation, etc...


I, of course, want to do mine the MT way.  Some of this is easy, the prep is the same and so on. But some of the specific advice during the presentation is harder to figure out how to meld to my situation.


Setup: Remote site will have 10-12 people, including my manager.  Local site will be in a small conference room, 5 people including my skip-director.  Video system against one wall (large flat-screens, and video camera).  Good audio setup so no problem hearing me.  Opposite wall is a whiteboard.  Round table in the center. I'm doing a presentation introducing a software tool (Git if anyone cares).


Q1: No one ever stands in these presentations.  MT says I should stand. Yes?


Q2: MT says I should move around appropriately.  Video can't follow me automatically (though we recently introduced a new product that does this BTW).  So do I zoom it wide enough to show the whole area, or stay still and zoom it enough so people can see me?


Q3: I'm thinking of dispensing with slides all together. Most of our group keep putting together decks of 30 for 10 minute presentations.  The start of each presentation has begun with people trying to get the sides to present over the video system, with only about a 20% chance of it actually ending up visible to the other end.  If I can get the video integration to work, I'm thinking of doing a demo using the program I'm presenting, instead of static slides anyway.  After the presentation I'm going to give notes via email.  Thoughts?


I'd love anyone's suggestions and thoughts on how to adjust the MT presentation advice for a video conference situation. I'd especially love it if Mark and Mike would do a cast on this, but as that won't come out before next Tuesday, any and all help will be appreciated.






SamBeroz's picture

Steve, have you listened to ? It has some specific guidance on how to be effective. One gotcha I've seen with demos is that the presenter can become so focused on the screen they can neglect to make eye contact with the audience. Good luck! - Sam

derosier's picture
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I did listen to that cast, but it's been a long time and I had forgotten about it.  I'll relisten to it.  However, if I recall, it was specifically about video conferencing for a meeting, not so much trying to give a presentation via video conference to an audience that is split between the local room and a remote site.  But, thanks for reminding me about that cast, maybe between it and the presentation casts I'll be able to figure it out.


- Steve

FizzSagan's picture
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I would say the "How to video conference" cast is very, very applicable to a video presentation.

There are quite a few tips in there of what NOT to do and they carry over, as well as being prepared for technical problems.

If you MUST use slides, these should be sent out in advance to the participants and participants should be expected to bring their own copies in case of technical problems. 

derosier's picture
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Thanks for the suggestion to listen to the "How to video conference" cast.  It has been a while, but it was a good reminder.  Looks like I remembered it for the most part as I already do most of the advice there automatically now.

However, it still doesn't answer the questions of: "do I stand or sit" and "do I move around the space or minimize my movement"?  And related, is do I zoom the camera to show me, or to show the entire group at my site?  Typically during these meetings we leave the camera to show the entire room, but you can barely see any individual speaker in that case.

Specific answers to those questions anyone?


- Steve

derosier's picture
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I apologize for not closing the loop sooner on this.

So I did the presentation and it went well.  I actually rehearsed in full 3 times before the presentation.  I never do this, but I must say it was worth it 100%. Thanks Mark and Mike. It was interesting, the first 3-5 minutes of the presentation felt rocky but then I got in my grove and it went well.

You never know what's going to happen during these presentations even if you practice. I had it down pat in my rehearsals. Then getting into the presentation the slides over the video conference wouldn't' work.  OK, I was prepared for that, as it almost never works in our presentations and I hadn't done it from our side before.  NP.  What I didn't expect:

* The video system was in a weird state where I couldn't figure out how to show the video of our side of the conference. While the other end could see us fine, I couldn't tell where I was, so I gave up on my planned standing and moving and just sat as we typically do in these presentations anyway.  Without being able to see myself I couldn't know where the edges of the camera was so it was too much of a risk.

* My colleagues continued to fuss with the slide thing well into my presentation.  They continued even after I told them that I was fine and to stop.  Distracting!

* My boss came in late.  And then _he_ attempted to fix the slides also.

* About 30 minutes into my presentation, several people unrelated to our meeting tried to come in and commandeer the room. "We signed up for the room..."  This despite that our meeting was a weekly meeting at the same time in the same room.

The distractions were a problem but all in all the presentation went well.  The decision to stand or not stand was sort of taken out of my hands due to the video system being uncooperative (OK, I'll take responsibility: due to me not knowing more than the most basic operation of the video system).  Everyone was generally happy with the results, and it has resulted in numerous questions over the last several weeks, a wiki page for everyone to refer to, me posting my notes, and a few teem members starting to use the technology I introduced.

Thank you for everyone who replied with help and encouragement.