Tips to Make Webcasts Look Professional

by Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D. on September 16, 2010

I feel I’ve neglected any webcasters out there so I thought I’d make up for it with this post.  I was reminded how important some basic techniques are for web video when I watched an especially bad training webcast the other day.  Having coached television broadcasters for over twenty years, I know that a few tips can make the difference between a professional looking production and one that looks like Wayne’s World.

My first suggestion to anyone on camera is to eliminate all the distractions.  That means move only for meaning.  Don’t rock in your chair or gesture madly. The eye always goes to movement. You want the viewer to concentrate on your eyes so don’t let movement spoil that. The same is true for anything in the background.  Use a fairly neutral background that won’t turn out to be more interesting than you are!  Likewise for what you’re wearing.  Stick with solid colors and basic styles that won’t distract.

Also, be sure there are no noises that the microphone might pick up such as clocks ticking, phones ringing, or others talking in the background.  You don’t want to sound like you’re doing your cast from a noisy office or worse, the neighborhood Starbucks.  Find a quiet place to do your webcast.

And finally, get the best equipment you can.  Using the camera in your computer should be your last choice.  If you must use it, remember to always look at the camera and not at the screen.  Cover up the screen if you have to because any movement of your eyes will be very visible to the viewer.  You want to connect eye to eye with the viewer, and you should sound like you’re having a conversation with them.  Check out my blog post on sounding conversational for more information.  And you’ll find chapters in my book, BROADCAST VOICE HANDBOOK, that will give you even more tips.

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