A webcast is a great way for you to reach out to your intended audience for business purposes. However, when you make use of a webcam for this purpose, you can have a difficult time getting the settings right and providing the best possible audio and visual for those who are viewing your broadcast. Just like with live television, live webcasting is an open door for a wide variety of problems. Once you realize the four most common mistakes and how to fix them, your webcasting experiences will be positive ones.
When people attend your live webcasting event, they expect you to look at them, just like you would if you were talking in person. Therefore, you need to watch your webcam positioning. This means you should be centered in the frame and not zoomed in too far.
The webcam should be at your eye level for your webcasting event. This will allow you to look directly into the camera without too much extra effort, giving a more natural look to your presentation. To reach this level, you may need to place the camera on a tripod or adjust your chair accordingly.
Once you have the right position for your webcam, you can position yourself for your webcast. Your face should be centered on the screen with only your head and shoulders showing. Make sure you take up a majority of the screen. The audience isn’t interested in the background.
Getting set up with the proper lighting can be one of the most difficult aspects of your webcast. If your lighting is not properly set up, it can have a negative impact on the outcome of your event. When you are presenting, you need to make sure your attendees can see your face. Sitting with bright backlighting, for instance, will make your face too dark.
Setting up your lighting correctly isn’t as difficult as it seems. To set up your lighting:
- Select a location that allows you to customize your lighting with a variety of lamps, blinds on the windows and overhead lighting.
- Keep the lights from shining from directly behind you. This will turn you into a shadow to your webcasting audience.
- Don’t use the webcam software to adjust your lighting. Instead, change the position of lamps, open or close blinds and turn the overhead lighting on and off until you achieve the perfect lighting.
- Add some white to the background. Webcam software often balances itself based on the lightest color. When you have something white in the background, you will achieve the most natural look possible.
Distractions during the Webcast
Whether you are presenting from the office or from home, it is important to make sure you are the sole focus of the live webcasting event. Your audience won’t be able to stay focused if there is too much going on in the background, such as telephones ringing, people walking back and forth or unnecessary noise from pets or kids. Remember, not all distractions make noise. Anything that moves behind you can also be a distraction.
The first thing you need to do is choose a location where you can control the distractions that occur. This means finding a room you can lock or otherwise prevent access by other people or pets to ensure none of these factors create a distraction to your audience. Once you find the quiet room, aim the webcam at a solid-colored wall that has no more than one or two pictures on it at the most. A blank wall is preferred.
Forgetting Your Webcast
Sometimes when you are using live webcasting, you may forget the camera is running. This often happens when there are multiple presenters. If you aren’t the person who is speaking at the time, you could end up checking your email, taking a phone call or talking to someone else in the room. When you are distracted yourself, you are sending the wrong message to the viewers who are watching you. It can also cause you to be caught off guard when it is your turn to speak again.
To avoid looking disinterested or making yourself look foolish by forgetting you are being watched, you need to fully prepare yourself for your webcasting experience. To help you stay focused, you need to:
- Close out your email
- Turn off or silence your cell phone
- Set your telephone to a privacy setting to ensure it doesn’t ring
- Mark yourself busy on your online calendar
- Lock yourself into the room or hang a sign on the door to let people know you are unavailable
- Watch your own camera feed so you know how you look
When you know which mistakes to avoid and how to fix them, you can increase the chances of success with your next webcast. Live webcasting can be stressful enough. Don’t make it more difficult by making careless mistakes.