7 tips for hosting a great digital conference

Published July 27, 2021, 8:57 a.m. by Erik Aasheim

Digital conferences are the new norm. After a year of hosting them, moderator Erik Aasheim knows what makes the best ones a success. Here are his seven tips for optimising your digital conference experience.

The agenda is ready, the speakers are booked, the date has been set. But suddenly when it’s time for everything to happen on screen, many organizers become insecure. How do you ensure that the atmosphere is right, the message is remembered and that the participants have fun along the way?

Spoon's digital conference specialists help our customers with this every single week.

Erik Aasheim, an in-demand host and moderator from Norway, says that a good digital conference has many features in common with a good TV broadcast. And he should know – he has more than 30 years’ experience as a journalist, presenter, author, and political adviser.

Many people are surprised by how much they can learn in a short time in a digital conference. There is so much important knowledge shared and disseminated in these forums that it is critical for the best possible planning and implementation practices to be in place, Aasheim says.

Here are his seven practical tips for organizers or contributors in digital conferences – especially if you plan to contribute from home.

  • Tip number 1:

You have to practice! Presenting at a digital conference is something completely different than talking on a stage with an audience right in front of you. A digital conference and a traditional conference are like night and day. You have to practice thoroughly in front of the mirror at home, and you have to get used to looking straight into the camera lens - that's where the people are. It is best to set aside time in advance to practice in the studio, too, if you will be presenting from there.

  • Tip number 2:

Shorter is better. A talk or presentation that would take 40 minutes with a live audience should be reduced to 15 minutes to work on screen. Many people also watch the conference on their phones, so use only key words or phrases and make sure your slides have just a few clear illustrations. Remember that you can always send detailed information to participants after the event.

  • Tip number 3:

Test the tech. If you are not confident in how the technology works, you become unfocused. If you are hosting your conference from a studio, all the technical solutions are taken care of. If you contribute from home, you must test all software and all solutions for audio and video in advance until you are confident in how everything works. If you do not test everything, you risk distracting both yourself and your audience along the way.

  • Tip number 4:

A small microphone goes a long way. Good sound is crucial, and there is a simple trick for you if you are contributing to a digital conference from home: Get a tiny microphone that can be clipped to your clothes, just below the chin. These do not cost much, the cord can be plugged directly into your computer, and they guarantee that everyone will hear you clearly.

  • Tip number 5:

Do not look down on the audience! Place the laptop at the same level as your head. Trust me – you do not want the audience to see you from a frog’s perspective. In a professional studio, the cameras are placed at eye level, for direct and natural eye contact with those out there. Do the same at home! Build up a pedestal for your computer so you can stand and look straight into the laptop's camera.

  • Tip number 6:

Find good lighting! Preferably place yourself in front of a window. Many conference presenters try to position themselves in front of a nice background at home and forget to think that the foreground – that is, yourself – is the most important thing. If you are facing a window or a large light source, you will look good on screen. Any paper script should be easily accessible and placed as close to the camera as possible.

  • Tip number 7:

Your conference is a TV broadcast. Choose a partner who knows TV! Spoon is made up of people with a solid journalistic background. We can find the stories and people who help you convey the message you want to send through interview recordings and reports that make the conference lively and varied.