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How to make a virtual presentation

As scientific conferences around the world pivot from in-person to virtual meetings due to the COVID-19 health crisis, it can be a challenge to adjust to the new format - particularly when it comes to presenting research virtually. To help, we’ve put together some tips and best practices to guide you through your virtual presentation.

Choose your format

To begin, you need to decide how you would like to film your presentation. Would you rather be on-camera, or film a screencast of your poster or presentation? Here are examples of three different presentation formats pulled from the Morressier platform that you can use to decide what’s right for you.

On-camera presentation

Simply use a camera or your phone or laptop to film yourself presenting your research. This format is very quick and easy to create, plus showing viewers your face provides a more personal touch to your presentation and helps the audience to engage with what you're saying. On the Morressier platform, videos can be taken out of their frame and run next to the presentation material, ensuring viewers don't have to toggle between the two. Use this presentation from a researcher at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai as an example:


Personal poster presentation

If you have the equipment to display your poster or presentation (on a digital display, TV screen, or projector, for example) it can be effective to film yourself presenting your poster. This method is as close to an in-person presentation that you can get within the virtual conference format. By presenting with your slides or poster yourself, you can point to sections of your presentation as you speak. Look to this example from a researcher at Tennessee Technological University Cookeville for inspiration:

Screen recording

If you’d rather keep the focus on your research or presentation itself (or you're a little camera-shy), recording a screencast while you explain your poster is a great option. This is a very simple way to present and allows you to control the audience’s attention by pointing out or zooming in to various sections of your poster. You can use Powerpoint or Keynote to record your slideshow, or video messaging service Loom to film your computer screen (Loom also gives you the option to record your webcam alongside your screen, so you can also present on-camera). This presentation is a great example of the screencast format:



General tips:

Make sure you save the video in one of the following formats when uploading to Morressier: .mov, .mp4, .mpg, .webm

Treat the video as one would a draft of a paper or presentation - make an outline and rehearse a few times, and then go over it again until it's perfect

Use a microphone if you can, but if not the audio recording function works well on an iPhone. This audio can easily be exported to accompany a video

Make sure to film in a location that has a lot of light and minimal background noise

Keep videos reasonably short, around 5-10 minutes, to keep your audience engaged

Check your video multiple times before you upload to ensure there are no technical glitches and the the sound is audible throughout 

Ask a colleague or peer to review your presentation before you upload

Include a variety of elements in your poster or presentation, including images, graphs, or datasets. A block of text won't be as appealing to viewers

Always make sure to assign a DOI to your research to allow others to easily discover and cite it.

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