I'm back from New York and my appearance on the Stream57 webcast about the use of streaming technologies in healthcare. You can see a recorded version of the event at http://www.s57.com/webcasts/20070626/.
We broadcast from the Reuters television studios in the heart of Times Square. Dr. Ruth was doing a program down the hall, leading to a funny exchange in the hallway as one of the other panelists let out a friendly "Hi, Ruth!" as she walked by and the rest of us looked at him with amusement. "You two are on a first name basis?!?"
Seven panelists plus a moderator is a lot of people to manage on a single broadcast, but I thought everybody had the chance to speak their mind and get in the information they wanted to convey. The subject matter ranged widely, including topics on uses of webcasting ("streaming" is a very generic term), where the technology is today and what are priorities for users, how it is impacting the social aspects of the healthcare business, and so on.
If you watch the event video, you will see some of the subtle (and not so subtle) things that need special attention and training in order to present the best possible face to the public. I'll concentrate on things I would change in my own on-camera behavior, as every broadcast should be part of our own ongoing training and development.
The chairs they gave us were adequate, but not overly comfortable. As time went on, I found myself shifting to try to relieve pressure on my tailbone. So while I am upright in my seat during the early portion, in the later segments I see that I look strangely tilted, with my shoulders askew. It gives me a misshapen look. For good posture, watch the gentlemen to either side of me, who held a perfectly erect carriage during the entire webcast and looked tall, confident, and properly framed in the camera lens.
Our physical setup was tricky. We would tend to respond to questions from the moderator or comments from another panelist by looking at that person, which kept the side of our heads towards the primary camera. I tried to spend more time looking into the camera to connect with the audience as if I were speaking to them (especially during answers to audience questions), but I found myself sneaking glances over to the moderator, making my eyes look shifty and darting. Pick a focus point and stick with it for an entire chunk of your delivery. Then you can pick a new focus point. If it means you are speaking to your moderator without looking at your moderator, so be it.
We were shot with pretty tight closeups on our individual answers, which emphasized my naturally over-expressive face. I put a lot of animation in the muscles of my face when I present on webinars, as it tends to keep the voice animated and holds the audience's attention. But on camera in a close shot, it can look a little silly... You need to pull it in a bit (I blame my stage acting training where you are taught to "play to the back row!").
Anyway, feel free to take a look and pick the good things you want to emulate and the bad things you want to avoid in your own webcasts. Thanks to Stream57 for including me among the experts!