Whether you are a guest attending or a participant preparing for your presentation, learn how to get ready for your virtual event. This post will quickly outline the key steps you must take to have a successful experience in the virtual world. From your desk setup to testing your gear, we will go over the key elements in easy to read steps.
The very first step, and most important, is selecting what device you will use to attend your virtual event. While mobile devices are convenient and allow you to attend while on the move, they are not the most reliable or best screen size to participate with. The best bet is to use a desktop computer, such as a PC (Windows or Linux) or Mac (Apple), with a hardwired connection, working webcam/mic, and comfortable chair in a well lit room.
While 2020 has not given us many reasons to get dressed, there is still one good reason. Don’t risk the camera catching you in PJ bottoms – be sure to dress yourself and your office space, accordingly. You never know when the dog or kids will bump into your screen and send out a whole new view.
At least a day before your virtual event, be sure to test your gear. Your computer, camera/webcam, headset or built-in microphone, speakers, and internet router should all be in working order. We recommend at least testing once a day before (or longer) to allow you time to replace any equipment you may need before the event takes place.
We also recommend repeating this test 15 minutes before your event to ensure you’re all set by the start time!
Most laptops today have a built-in microphone and camera. If you have a desktop that does not have this feature, you will need to purchase a headset (we recommend using a wired headset that plugs-ins like a USB) that includes a microphone. Best Buy is a great resource for these devices and they have knowledgeable staff who can guide you through the purchase.
If you are using a headset, ensure it is plugged in. Oftentimes the system will automatically set up and prepare your device for use. If not…
- Go to Control Panel (in some cases you can simply search “sound” or “audio” to go directly to the settings).
- Go to System Settings
- Select Sound
- Select your output and input devices.
- Speak and you should see the input level (icon looks like a microphone) fluctuate.
- Play audio to test sound, such as a video from YouTube of your choosing.
PC with Windows 10
- Click the Apple logo in the upper left corner, and then click System Preferences.
- Click Sound.
- Click the Input tab.
- Click your headset.
- Speak into the microphone. The input level should fluctuate as you speak.
If you are unable to hear the sound test or see the input level fluctuate, check to ensure your headset is not muted or turned down very low. Often wired headsets have a volume control on the cord itself with a button to mute. The sound can also be turned down at the computer level, check your Sounds and Audio Devices Properties window in the Windows Control Panel. Lastly, check the connection, sometimes the USB is not plugged in all the way.
Using Zoom (Mac & PC instructions)
Again, if you do not have a laptop with a built-in webcam you will need to purchase one. Best Buy is a great resource for these devices and they have knowledgeable staff who can guide you through the purchase.
If you are using an external webcam, be sure it is plugged in and any drivers are installed. Oftentimes, this will happen automatically when you plug it in. Follow instructions on your camera for assistance with this step.
- Go to https://webcammictest.com/
- Follow instructions on https://www.wikihow.com/Test-a-Webcam-on-PC-or-Mac
How to test your internet connection:
Zoom and other streaming platforms recommend an internet speed of 1.5 megabits per second (mbps). You can test your internet speed by going to http://www.speedtest.net/
If your internet speed seems slow, check to ensure that no one else is running computers, Netflix, games, cell phones, etc from the internet. You can also connect via a hard-line (Ethernet) rather than use Wi-Fi to ensure your internet connection is at it’s best.
If no one else is using the internet and it still seems slow, you can reset your router. Follow the instructions on:
Failing this, call your internet service provider. Be sure you keep those internet speed test numbers for their reference.
For Zoom users, testing your system is quick and easy! Zoom has provided a number of 1 minute videos to help you get right to what you need to know. You’ll be a pro in just minutes!
For Quick Videos from Zoom click here: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-video-tutorials
Like Microsoft Teams users, Google Hangouts has a Quick Start guide that teaches you the basics on using this software. Within a couple of minutes, you’ll be educated enough to feel comfortable on this basic system. If you are looking for more in-depth training guides there are instructions for everything from the presentor to the application edits. Learn more with the links below.
For Google Hangout’s easy to understand guides click here: https://support.google.com/hangouts/?hl=en#topic=6386410
For Additional Hangout Guides click here: https://support.google.com/hangouts/?hl=en#topic=6386410
For Microsoft Teams users, you have the option for Quick Start or to dive in deep and learn everything there is to know about this platform.
For Microsoft’s full list of tutorials click here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/microsoft-teams-video-training-4f108e54-240b-4351-8084-b1089f0d21d7
- Adjust your volume settings on your computer or headset to a comfortable setting.
- Adjust the lighting in your room so that you are visible on camera. If you sit with a window to your back you will need additional lighting in the front/overhead in order to be visible.
- Turn your phone to vibrate so as to not disturb your event/meeting.
- Place a note on the door to avoid excess noise and disruptions. In many cases, closing the door is a good idea as well.
- Get comfortable and enjoy your event/meeting!
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