We’ve put together the following overview and resources for our 2020 Exchange speakers. Please reach out to Michelle King at mking@ashoka.org with any questions.

Presentation Technology

  • Zoom will be utilized for all presentations. Zoom is free to use and has video and dial-in functionality for all users. You will not need to buy your own zoom license or have an existing Zoom account.
  • With Zoom, you will be able to:
  • There will be an Ashoka U team member present in your session to manage audience controls (i.e. audio, video, and engagement options). Also, we will be there if you have any difficulty with Zoom capabilities (e.g. Q&A, polling, or breakout rooms).

Presentation Overview

  • Best Practice Sessions, Workshops, and Big Idea Talks will now be 60 minutes long (down from 75 minutes). Spark Sessions and Community Conversations will now be 30 minutes.  We believe that a slightly shorter time frame will be better conducive to an online format. You should still have time for Q&A and audience engagement.
  • We modified the session times to better account for speaker times zones. Please review the online agenda to see when your session has been scheduled.
  • We moved all Saturday sessions to Thursday or Friday.
  • Ashoka U will assign each presentation a custom Zoom url. This will be embedded with participants and embedded into the online agenda well in advance of the conference.
  • Ashoka U will be recording all sessions. That being said, we take your privacy seriously and will be reaching out to speakers directly regarding appropriate permissions.

Preparing For Success

  • Use stable wifi or hardwire internet connection: Zoom requires an internet connection in order to experience its full functionality. We recommend ensuring that you have a strong wifi connection (that can support video) or, using a hardwire connection (by connecting your laptop directly to your router/modem).
    • Note: for participants who do not have internet, they can still dial in by phone.
  • Test the audio and video before your webinar begins:This will ensure your speakers and mic are working properly before the live event begins and your camera is placed well. Test your video and audio before your meeting at us/test.
    • If possible, use a headset with a mic to reduce background noise and increase audio quality. If a headset in unavailable, then we suggesting using your computer’s built-in microphone and speakers. It’s also a good idea to mute all notifications (including email, chats, cell phone, etc) before your presentation.
  • Consider your location: Before your presentation, test out your location and ensure that there is good lighting (you shouldn’t be backlit) and that you are in a relatively quiet spot. Zoom also provides virtual backgrounds to help you disguise a distracting environment.
  • Dress to impress: You’ll be on video and recorded. We recommend solid colors as opposed to garments with patterns. Be mindful of any accessories or jewelry if you are expressive with your hands as the noise and movement can be quite distracting.
  • Start on time!: We recommend you join the session 5 minutes early to allow your attendees to join before the content kicks off.

During Your Presentation  

  • Look at the camera: This takes a bit of getting used to since you want to look at the other participants’ faces (and, let’s be honest, your own face), but try to look at the camera when you’re talking. This tactic will mimic the in-person feeling of eye contact. It’s important to gauge reactions by looking at the screen, but alternating that with looking at the camera makes the audience feel like you’re really talking to.
  • Don’t get too close: Position yourself so the camera is seeing you from the chest or waist up, instead of just seeing your face. This is more natural for the viewer (after all, in an in-person meeting you’re usually seeing more of a person than just their face). This is especially beneficial if you tend to gesture a lot.
  • Position yourself: The light should be in front of you, instead of behind you. If you have a window behind you, shut the blinds. Otherwise, you will be backlit.
  • Refrain from private behavior– i.e. scratching your armpits, picking your nose. We can see you!
  • Be Human: Going virtual doesn’t mean there isn’t a tone. Have fun, and don’t worry about being too polished.

Recommended Resources 

Below we’ve linked several how-tos and mini webinars to help you become more familiar with Zoom: