APS Careers | Careers and Education

Best Practices for Virtual Presentations

With a little preparation, your virtual presentation will go smoothly and engage your audience.

Giving a virtual presentation can be just as compelling and engaging as an in-person presentation, though it may come with its own challenges for connecting with your audience. Ensuring that your equipment, lighting, and environment are prepared in advance will assist you in presenting more comfortably, allowing you to focus on what you're saying without distractions, and minimizing glitches that may interfere with your audience's comprehension. These tips can help you get started in prepping your virtual presentation.

Have a Plan B

The outside world can impact your virtual presentation. It is best to have a plan so you know what to do when something goes wrong. Some ways to prepare your back-up plan are:

  • Check with the APS or the event organizers to see how they plan to handle emergencies.
  • If applicable, have the conference call number and passcode saved to your mobile phone. If you lose power or internet, you can call in and participate with audio only.
  • If you have a battery powered hotspot, have it nearby in case you lose your internet connection.

Your camera

Laptop webcams typically do not provide professional quality video. If you have access to an external camera, give it a try.

Level your camera to eye level. If you are using your built-in laptop camera, stack a few large books under the computer to raise it to eye-level. Align your face with the top third of your Zoom/video frame.

Your audio

Audio is more important than your picture. If you have access to an external microphone, use it. You can also use a headset, airpods or ear buds with a built-in microphone.

Close exterior windows and doors and unplug landline phones to eliminate background noise and sound.

Your lighting

Consider the following advice when setting up your lighting to ensure your audience can see you:

  • Avoid sitting with windows/lighting behind you.
  • If using natural lighting, morning or early evening sun is your friend.
  • Ring lights are great, but you do not need an expensive light kit. Set a soft desk lamp behind your computer or on your desk.

Your clothing

Consider wearing:

  • A classic and simple look with additions for personality such as a fun scarf, tie, or other accessories.
  • A mix of solid colors such as a light blue shirt with a tan blazer.

Try to avoid wearing:

  • Shirts or tops that are all black, all white, all stripes, busy patterns and shiny fabrics. These can cause issues with your webcam's performance or backgrounds.
  • Large metal jewelry and other accessories, which may cause your microphone to pick up noise.


Use the APS-branded background for your event, if possible. If you cannot use the APS-branded background, keep your background well-designed as it's an opportunity showcase your character and personality.

Work on your camera presence

Posture, demeanor, and enunciation are all key to presenting yourself well on camera. Especially keep in mind to:

  • Use calm, open body language.
  • Stand (or sit) up straight, as poor posture is immediately obvious on camera. Keep your shoulders back and your muscles relaxed and take deep breaths.
  • Slow down slightly when you talk and make an effort to enunciate clearly. Speak from your diaphragm rather than your throat.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Watch footage of yourself and identify the areas where you could improve. Make a conscious effort to work on those things.

Don't forget

  • Arrive a few minutes early. Use the time to check your video and audio settings with your fellow presenters.
  • If possible, use a hard-wired internet line.
  • Use a San Serif font of 20px or larger.
  • Try to keep it to one idea per slide.
  • Data and charts should be easy to read. Remember, some attendees may be viewing the presentation on a small screen.
  • Do not include music, film clips or other multimedia content unless it is directly relevant to your presentation. If your presentation does include music or film clips, please be mindful of copyright laws and only use music that is open source or for which you have the rights to use. Please review the speaker logistics for more information.
  • Don't read your slides. Enhance them by providing insight or a story. An exception to this rule is if you are quoting someone.
  • Smile to share your enthusiasm with the audience.


Follow the how-to's in presenting your research.

A great poster will attract audiences, but a practiced, well thought out presentation will bring your research to life.

Prepare to attend and present at APS and unit meetings.

APS March Meeting attendees pose in front of an APS logo display.

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