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September 2020
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TD Magazine

Find Your On-Camera Confidence

THE SITUATION

Lights, cameras, awkward? Face-to-face classroom instruction is the ultimate comfort zone for most talent development professionals. But for virtual training, when you're live on camera, things can sometimes feel uncomfortable, and your anxiety can skyrocket. Because picturing the audience with funny hats on doesn't quite work with online training, what tips can help you effectively deliver training on camera?

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THE TRICK

Setting the atmosphere for a successful virtual training experience depends greatly on your ability to create a safe, comfortable environment that is conducive to learning. Feeling less than confident does not aid in that endeavor. In fact, your uneasiness can distract learners. Here are ways you can trade on-camera awkwardness and uneasiness for confidence and comfort.

  1. Take pride in your personal appearance. Groom or glam yourself as you would if you were presenting in person. If you would fix your hair a certain way or wear a particular outfit, do the same for your online courses. Experts say there's a direct correlation between grooming and clothing and how you think, feel, and behave.
  2. Complete your preparation rituals. If you'd normally practice in front of a mirror or record yourself ahead of a face-to-face learning experience, do the same for your virtual courses. The more you practice, the more comfortable you become.
  3. Lead from a lectern. A standing desk or lectern to present from may seem like a weird prop for online training, but it can help you come across just as confident as you would in person. Often, this puts facilitators in presentation mode, which brings an element of familiarity to what may be an unfamiliar way of training.
  4. Cap your camera time. For virtual training sessions, it's acceptable to go on camera just for introductions and break announcements as well as to conclude the session. Not only does that reduce your on-camera time, but it also enables learners to better focus on the presented content.
  5. Deliver training from a distraction-free environment. Everything from a cluttered, unprofessional background to unexpected interruptions from pets and loved ones count as distractions. Knowing that you have a clutter-free background and that you're not subject to distractions will help elevate your virtual presence and enable you to devote your total concentration to the course.

PRO TIP

Poor internet or network connections can result in echoing audio, a frozen screen, and other unfavorable issues. As you can imagine, dealing with such issues in the middle of a training session can shatter even the most seasoned facilitator's confidence while decreasing the value of learners' entire experience. A reliable, fast internet connection is the bedrock of a successful virtual training experience.

About the Author

Nikki O’Keeffe is an internal ATD Facilitator. She is dedicated training specialist who delivers a positive, memorable, and meaningful service that repeatedly meets or exceeds the expectations of the client. She has experience creating strategies and visions to ensure training requirements and deliveries are in line with quality, probability, and client need. 

Nikki has worked in varied industries, including education, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals. In her role as the global senior training and development specialist at PAREXEL International, her focus was on managing and developing courses for new and existing staff on technical systems, process changes, new products, and soft skills.  Her educational background includes a BA in psychology from Butler University and a master’s degree in exercise science, health, and wellness from Northeastern Illinois University. Her specific areas of interest include virtual training, facilitation techniques, and mentoring new trainers. 

Nikki is skilled at providing face-to-face and online learning programs for global participants of varying experience levels. In addition to delivering training, she has performed training needs analyses to identify gaps and recommend training solutions, worked with SMEs as a consultant to develop courses and curriculums, and evaluated programs for effectiveness. 

As a certified ATD Master Trainer and certified ATD Master Instructional Designer she understands the value of solid training plans and strong facilitation. Nikki looks forward to sharing her experiences and expanding her knowledge base by learning from her participants in the upcoming ATD courses that she leads.

2 Comments
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Thank you, Nikki! I appreciate the solid tips. The seemingly obvious is often the best advice (in my opinion).
Hi Hope! I am delighted you found value with the suggestions. They may seem simple but they truly can make an impact especially if we have forgotten some of the best practices!
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