Presenting on VIT is easy and fun. This comprehensive list of tips is designed to serve those who are Unable to participate in VIT's complimentary presenter orientation.
Giving a Presentation over VIT
A successful presentation over VIT uses the same basic skills that an in-person presentation does: good eye contact, well-organized material, a variety of presentation styles and easily read visual materials. VIT presentations can be as dynamic, if not more dynamic, than in-person presentations.
What You Will Experience at a VIT Site
- VIT is a high quality videoconferencing service. Using the system is very intuitive and natural. You will see and hear people at the other sites through the use of TV monitors, video cameras and microphones.
- There is a monitor, which shows one of the remote sites in your session. You will see your own studio on another monitor.
- You can only see one (1) remote site at a time. But it automatically switches to the site from which a person is speaking.
- If someone has a question or comment, you will hear the voice immediately. Within a few seconds, the video on the monitors at all the sites will automatically switch so that the person who is speaking can be seen.
- If two people say something at the same time, the person who speaks the longest and/or loudest is the one you will see.
- If you want to look at a different location than the one currently on your remote monitor, identify another site and ask someone there a question. For instance, “St. Albans, what do you think of the new regulation we’ve been discussing?” Once a person begins speaking, you and all the participating sites will see the St. Albans’ site.
- A technician will operate the cameras. You can concentrate on your presentation. You and each participant will use microphones, which must be placed directly in front of and about one (1) foot away from you. The sound will be distorted if you are too close and other participants will not hear you if you are too far away.
- An alternative to the use of a table microphone is a lavaliere microphone clipped to your clothing. If you plan to use a lavaliere, please discuss this with your liaison.
- The microphones will be turned off before the program, during breaks, and after the program unless you request otherwise.
- Once the program has started, assume the microphones are on at all times. Side comments will be heard by everyone on the system. You may ask the technicians to turn the microphones off at any time. An overhead camera is used to show visual materials. Text must be specially formatted. Please see the Printed Materials Format resource.
Participants bring their television viewing habits with them and are used to being passive listeners when viewing a TV screen. They may need structured encouragement to draw them into interaction with other sites.
Use "ice breakers" at the beginning of a session.
Try to avoid using a general phrase such as, "Are there any questions?" Call on a specific site for a response to your comment or question.
Other methods, which you may want to incorporate, include:
- small group discussions
- partitioning sites together
- case studies
- participant presentations
Please schedule breaks during your presentation. 5-10 minutes per hour is suggested. Those breaks are for the technicians, too. The microphones will be turned off during the break.
Solid colors are better than white or very dark. Avoid highly contrasting patterned fabrics such as stripes or herringbone.
Please mail materials, with no signature required, at least one week in advance. Overnight delivery services may not reach your participants because of staffing schedules of site mailrooms. If using overnight delivery, please allow at least two (2) days.
For all materials: Please write the title and date of the videoconference on the outside of the envelope or box. The Managers or Technicians at each site will be glad to give these materials to the participants. If there are materials and/or homework that need to be returned to you, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to each site. VIT staff will gather the materials and mail to you. Remember to leave enough turn-around time in your schedule for homework. Although most mail within Vermont takes a day or two, VIT experience suggests that you allow several days for the homework to arrive to prevent unexpected scheduling difficulties. VIT will not be held responsible for missing mail.
Beginning a Program
The following process is suggested:
- Let the technician in your studio know that you are ready to begin.
- The technician will turn the microphone on so that you can be heard by all participating sites.
- Introduce yourself, make a few opening remarks and speak with each site to reinforce the interactivity of the system. A phrase like “We would like to hear from...” often works well. Someone must speak in order for the video to switch to a new remote site.
Make eye contact with the people who are in the room with you and with the people shown on the remote monitor.
A document camera will be used to show visual material, whether it is text, graphs, photos or three-dimensional objects.
Properly format any text which will be shown on camera. Please see the Printed Materials Format resource.
Before your presentation:
- Pile visual material in order on top of one another. First page on top of the pile.
- Place it in position under the camera (look at the local monitor in the back of the room while moving it into place).
- When you are ready to refer to the next overhead, remove the top sheet of old materials to reveal the new one. The materials are already in the right place under the camera and will require minimal adjustment.
- When you are ready to use an overhead, the verbal cue for the technician is "May I have the overhead, please?"
You may have an overhead camera available to you, which can function much like a chalkboard. Some of our advice on using this tool effectively includes:
- Place a blank piece of paper under the overhead camera. Pastel colored paper looks best.
- Use a thick, dark colored-marking pen. This provides a much clearer image than the real chalkboard.
Scan Converters and Projectors
VIT studios are equipped with scan converters and projectors, which allow the output of a computer to be seen over the system. If you have a computer presentation (such as Power Point, Harvard Graphics, etc.) and you would like to use during your videoconference, please let your liaison know. Each studio has a Windows based computer with a set of standard programs such as PowerPoint, Excel, Word in addition to browsers and internet connections. We recommend that you bring any files you wish to display on a CD or USB storage device to the studio. It is best to try any of these technologies out well in advance of the event. VIT cannot be responsible for technicial problems that arise from computer presentations.
Videos and DVDs
Video and/or audio clips should be saved on a DVD and given to the control room technician prior to the event. Cue the technician when you are ready to show the clip and it will be displayed over the system. Videos should not be imbedded in PowerPoint. If videos cannot be saved on a DVD, save them as a separate file on a flash drive to be played on the laptop computer.
If you are planning to play a video or DVD, please notify your liaison and test it over the system before using it. If it is not previewed prior to viewing, VIT cannot be responsible for its quality. If the tape/DVD is not of high quality, the picture may break up during the playback and the remote sites will not be able to see it.
Be prepared to cover or fill the time you might have in the case your tape/DVD doesn’t play well.
VIT Site Managers, Technicians, and your VIT Liaison are ongoing resources. Don't hesitate to ask for more information or assistance before or during your VIT meeting.