The Virtual Spotlight

Best Practices for Broadcast in the Age of Zoom

We help our clients prepare for their annual events by bringing communication excellence to their keynote speakers, demo teams and breakout leaders. 

This year, our clients have faced a new challenge: prepare speeches, presentations and demos — and now, add recording for live broadcast! If this is you, too — dive in for the run-down of our best practices for video presentations. 

Develop a Potent Script

LEAD WITH YOUR LEAD: Your introduction should hook your viewers. Tell them why they are here and why they should stick around!

REDUCE THE SAUCE: Streamline and sharpen your language. Reduce your 35 minute speech to 20, or even 15 minutes.

USE POWERBITES:  The Powerbite template to make your points in a concise, powerful way;  Conclusion + Three pieces of evidence + So what?

STICK WITH HIGHLIGHTS: Think “breaking news” rather than “lecture.” This is your “best of” reel.

KEEP IT NATURAL: Use a transcription app and record your ideas. As you iterate aloud, the script will morph into something that sounds the way you speak, rather than the way you write.

FEATURE A HOST: Consider writing in a host (home team or Guest) to ask you questions and create a Broadcast News feel.


Practice… Out Loud!

LEAD WITH YOUR LEAD: Your introduction should hook your viewers. Tell them why they are here and why they should stick around!

BREAK IT DOWN: Break your script into bite-sized chunks to help you get to know each segment well. Focus on communicating ideas, rather than getting the words right.

USE SHORT SENTENCES: Help your audience follow you by using simple, clear language and short sentences.

CONVERT SCRIPT TO NOTES: Create your cheat sheet for your performance. Tape notes below your lens, or use a teleprompter app.

PRACTICE ON ZOOM: Schedule a run through or two with a colleague and get their feedback. Are you making eye contact through the lens? Is your language sharp and clear?

WARM UP: Variety! Dynamics! Clarity! These are our goals for your performance, and a vocal and physical performance will help you get there.


Produce Your Show

USE THE BEST TECHNOLOGY AVAILABLE: Use an ethernet cable and connect to your router, if possible. Use your highest quality camera and microphone.

LEVEL UP THE LENS: Make sure the lens is between eye and forehead level to maximize engagement and create a flattering picture.

LIGHT YOUR FACE: Put your light source behind the camera, not behind you. Minimize overhead, back and side light to avoid shadows. Try facing a window. Natural, filtered light gives an even glow. Remember, natural light changes during the day. Play with your setup in advance and plan accordingly.

CURATE THE SCENE: What’s in the frame? Aim for an uncluttered, pleasant backdrop. Colorful walls are nice, as are book-cases or pieces of art. Remove small items or things which may be distracting. Plants or vases are great, but make sure they don’t appear to grow out of your head!

CONSIDER STANDING: Standing gives you energy and turns your performance into an event.

PREVENT DISRUPTIONS: Prevent your family members or pets from traipsing through your scene and ruining your best take. Turn notifications (Dropbox, etc) off and silence your cell phone.

Dress for the Camera

ESTABLISH TONE: How are you presenting yourself as a team? What is your role? Is it professional dress or business casual?

STICK WITH SOLIDS: Large prints can be dizzying and overwhelm the speaker. Small patterns can create a ripple effect on screen that is also distracting.

GO DARK: In general darker colors like navy blue work well on camera. Reds and bright pinks can sometimes read as “hot,” or make lighter skin tones look flushed.

LIMIT THE BLING: Avoid jewelry that catches light and can cause glare.

CONSIDER BACKDROP: How does your attire look with your background? You don’t want to blend in, but you also don’t want to clash. The key is to keep the viewer’s focus on you.

POWDER YOUR NOSE: You may want just a dab of powder to tone down shine on forehead, cheeks or nose.


MAKE EYE CONTACT: Look directly at the lens to make eye contact with your viewers.

HIDE YOUR COLLEAGUES: If other people are on your screen while recording, turn off their video so you won’t be tempted to look at them on your screen. Your focus is on the lens.

IMAGINE YOUR AUDIENCE IS IN THE ROOM… they’re just on the other side of the lens!

ENGAGE: Talk to the lens like you’re talking to your best friend.