Virtual Presentations Tips: What NOT To Do

Last week’s blog advised people who present virtually to WEAR PANTS. Since then, readers have flooded my inbox with hilarious stories of how they have “gotten caught with their pants down,” so to speak.

One person totally forgot when she got up during the virtual meeting simply to get a glass of water. Others talk of wearing yoga pants, flannels, pajama pants—and even swim trunks. Keep the stories coming. These days, I promise we’ll be laughing WITH you, not at you.

Now, here are a few other don’ts for virtual meetings and presentations. The first has to do with safety.

  1. Don’t EVER be on your phone or tablet when you are DRIVING.

Are you kidding me? This has really happened! Do not schedule virtual meetings behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. This is multitasking at its worst.

  1. Don’t present sitting in front of a window.

The backlighting makes your face difficult to see. The view outside may be beautiful, but the natural light will wash out your features and cast a dark shadow on your face.

  1. Don’t station yourself directly under overhead lighting.

Use a desk lamp instead. Overhead lighting causes unflattering shading. Lamps provide softer lighting from the side.

  1. Avoid the “up-your-nose” view.

Situate your camera very slightly above eye level for a more flattering perspective but not quite as high as when you take selfies.

  1. Don’t hold meetings while in bed.

We really don’t want to see what your headboard looks like.

  1. Don’t sit too close to the camera.

Viewers can feel like you’re up in their face if you are too close to the camera, and they can’t do anything to adjust or change it.

  1. Don’t slouch.

In Chapter C of the No-Panic Plan for Presenters, I write that creating confidence is as simple as following your mother’s advice:

  • Sit up straight (a pillow behind your back will help with this)
  • Smile
  • Make natural eye contact with the camera, not the screen
  • Be yourself
  1. Finally, clear the clutter in the background.

I admit I spend most of my time zooming in to see what books people have on their bookshelves. If you have a lot of family photos in the background, consider moving them during the meeting.



To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

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