Zoom, zoom, zoom.

Zoom, zoom, zoom seems to be all we hear about in the pandemic and as a company they certainly have done very well in the online presenting market place. I have personal issues with MSTeams and it has huge issues with non-Microsoft programmes, but that is for another blogpost. Zoom is the way to go, in my opinion, for online delivery, so here are a few tips.

As highlighted in previous posts, online presentations magnify the existing badness of normal presentations unless positive action is taken to address these problems. Technical aspects of the presentation software must be addressed well ahead of time, as for all presentations. Zoom is free for a basic account and signing up for this will allow you to run your own practice event and ironing out troubles. Beware the desire to simply turn on and go, beware. As always, prepare before going “on stage.”

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The main issue for me in using Zoom is screen sharing. That is the option of sharing supportive media at the same time as speaking; analogous to live presentations where the audience can see the presenter and their supportive media (slides). The green button on the toolbar offers to share from multiple options. The best is to use a hard link between another device running the presentation and the device running Zoom, particularly if you are running a Mac and Keynote. The rationale for this will be explained below.

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Also Keynote users beware. The app uses two screens in presentation mode and unless you use a linked device the shared screen will only be blank, not your slides. Hence the two device option. Everyone has two devices; your mobile phone can be the presenter device and laptop run Keynote, if required.

The share screen will dominate what the audience see. The headshot of the presenter will be superimposed upon the slides and it is not possible to alter the position of that. You become part of your own supportive media. How meta. You can “escape” by simply placing a piece of paper over the laptop camera and blanking the image of your head and alternate back to full face by then blanking the slide to change focus, rather like the choreographed walk across the stage. Or, pause and re-start the sharescreen option. (Always a risk though).

My recent experience of tech failure has been running on a Macbook and wanting to share the screen on my ipad. The system requires the new device to be “trusted” and this can be a technical block. After a lot of growling and a bit of lateral thinking a useful way to force the Macbook to “trust” the iPad is to open iTunes. (I don’t know why, it just does.)

So, once you have tested all this, you can relax safe in the knowledge that you have prepared as well as you can. Then, after you are introduced, you can simply click the button to unmute your microphone (you did remember that?) and away you go. Right up to the point my wifi died…

I do keep asking but are there any other top tips for running Zoom? Share below.

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