Many video conferences or live streams are currently being moderated from home. Yet, due to the private atmosphere within your own four walls, it is a particular challenge to make sure you maintain the right conditions to moderate professionally and effectively. Here, we’ve collected the most important tips for successful online moderation:
- Home studio equipment: The cameras built into laptops, smartphones and tablets are great for online formats due to their very good resolution. Use a tripod for smartphones and tablets and make sure you have good sound quality by using professional microphones, e.g. for podcasting. Be sure to test your devices in advance with the online platform you’ll be using.
- Sound: Background noise is disturbing. Silence your phone and close all windows and doors. Pay attention to other background noises like from the washing machine or dishwasher. Lay out a carpet in rooms that tend to echo.
- Lighting: Natural light is best, dimmed slightly by bright, translucent curtains. Alternatively, LED panels with adjustable color temperature are suitable. Make sure that no shadows are cast on your face by, for example, direct sunlight behind you. Also, try to avoid full sunlight from the front.
- Home Studio Background: Provide a neutral background that ideally does not reveal too many personal details about you and your home. An even more professional look can be achieved with a logo or event theme.
- Image detail: Due to television, we are used to a horizontal image. If you use your smartphone or tablet, make sure you use a landscape format. Avoid placing your mobile devices upright. Your upper body - from head to chest - should be centered and occupy most of the screen.
- Posture: Stand in front of the camera or sit upright, preferably on a firm chair or stool. Avoid rolling or rotating office chairs with a large, visible backrest. Try to sit quietly without too much fidgeting.
- Clothing: Dress like a business presenter or imitate TV newscasters by wearing a blouse or shirt and a jacket. Be sure you don’t blend in with the background by choosing a color that contrasts with your background. Be careful if using green-screen functions, and also avoid stripes and patterns.
- Body Language: Pay attention to your facial expressions and gestures. Don't touch your face, play with your hair, or step out of the audience's field of vision. Keep eye contact with the camera. Try not to gesticulate too much - and if you do, then do so at chest height so that your gestures are seen by the audience.
- Language: Speak slowly, clearly and in short sentences. Choose simple words instead of foreign and technical terms. Use pauses, intonation, speed and volume changes for successful articulation.
- Behavior: Remember that you are always visible to your audience. All attention is focused on you. Concentrate on your content and messages. Listen and respond to questions. Take notes with pleasure and be open and friendly with the participants. Thank them for their contributions and questions.
- Process: Introduce yourself and welcome your audience. Point out online netiquette - for example, the chat function and raise-your-hand options. In case of technical problems, refer to the technical hotline (if one has been set up).
- Presentation Materials: If you are sharing your screen, remember that depending on the online tool settings, participants may be able to see all of the content on your desktop. Ensure a tidy desktop and a neutral background image. Turn off any programs that may be used to view sensitive data (e.g. e-mail previews, chat history pop-ups). Open your presentation materials before the event starts. You are also welcome to prepare haptic material to show as needed.
Best of luck with your next presentation or moderation!
Read more about virtual public participation.