Friday, June 24, 2022

Online Presentations & 5 Things NOT to Do

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

Let’s face it. Zoom is here to stay. The pandemic pushed most of us into online and virtual communication, and, for the most part, this is a good thing. The ability to Zoom affords opportunities to share our message that we’ve never had before.

As written communicators, we seek to present our best selves by producing work that’s polished, professional, and free of errors. We should do the same when communicating through Zoom and other video-based media. 

5 Mistakes to Avoid as We Interact with Each Other over Phones & Computers

Mistake #1: Poor Camera Position

For attractive and professional broadcasts, position the camera on your phone or computer at eye level. Too low and you get the dreaded double chin view. Too high and you look like a matchbox car at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Eye-level positioning reduces shadows and ceiling views and can even make you look thinner. Want to look five pounds skinnier? Position your camera properly.

Mistake #2: Improper Lighting

Poor lighting is the second-most common mistake Zoomers make. Before you click Start, use your phone camera to check the light level. Set it to video and hold it up in front of you. Can you see your face clearly? Is there a light source behind you that puts your face in a shadow? Does sunlight through a window shadow half your face? Does light coming through blinds make you look like a convict in a jail cell? 

Position yourself so the light source is in front of you and behind the camera/computer. Turn on room lights or a ring light for the proper balance.

Mistake #3: A Bad Background

Bad backgrounds can be distracting. I don’t know how many times I’ve lost track of what the speaker was saying because I kept looking at the crooked picture on the wall behind them. Or the pile of laundry on the bed. Or the cat lolling across the back of their couch.

Find a spot with a pleasant wall space and set up there. I often use my (neat and organized) wall-to-ceiling bookshelf in my study as a backdrop. Or the sideboard in my dining room that holds my blooming orchids. If you don’t have a spot like this, buy a fake background (Very inexpensive. See the link below to one of my favorites) and use this for broadcasts.

Mistake #4: Failure to Mute

Please, please, please mute your broadcast when you’re not speaking. If you don’t, you risk disturbing everyone on the meeting when your next-door neighbor decides to mow his lawn, your child rushes in screaming, or your visiting granddog barfs at your feet (this really happened). You don’t want to be that person.

Mistake #5: Lack of Simple Equipment

I began this post with the words, Let’s face it. Zoom isn’t going away. Because this is true, it makes sense to invest in some simple equipment to make your Zoom interactions professional and positive. 

Here are three items I recommend:
  • A Selfie Ring Light Kit. Choose a kit that includes a tripod for your phone, a light with several settings, and a remote on/off clicker.
  • A tabletop phone holder. Less complicated than a tripod, this simple tool allows you to Zoom on your phone or iPad without having to hold your device the whole time.
  • A background. Amazon has every kind of background imaginable. You can choose a woodland scene, a library, an office setting, or a neutral color. If most of your Zoom meetings are for professional purposes, choose a background that reflects this. If casual or whimsical, let this direct your choice. 
I’m grateful for Zoom and other online methods to connect. The ability to communicate long distance brings with it incredible opportunities. With a little forethought and a few simple tools, we can present ourselves and our message with poise and professionalism. 

Now it’s your turn. In the comments below, share your favorite tip for delivering an exemplary Zoom presentation.


Lori Hatcher is an author, blogger, writing instructor, women’s ministry speaker, and career dental hygienist. She writes for Our Daily Bread, Guideposts, Revive Our Hearts, and Lori’s latest devotional, Refresh Your Prayers, Uncommon Devotions to Restore Power and Praise, released March 1 with Our Daily Bread Publishing. Connect with her at or on Facebook, Twitter(@lorihatcher2) or Pinterest (Hungry for God).

Featured Image: Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash


  1. Excellent advice! Thank you, Lori. I've had to learn some of these things the hard way. But learn them I did. :) Blessings to you!

    1. Oh, yes, MaryAnn, me too! AND endured some terrible Zoom experiences. May ALL our Zoom experiences be stellar!

  2. Thank you Lori for this clear list and the links to the solutions! :)