I’ve done virtual sessions in an emergency using just my PC, with the built-in webcam, mic, and speaker. It worked, but it was hard.

A better configuration could be:

  • headphones with mic
  • at least two monitors (one external and the built-in one if you’re using a laptop)

PC mic and speakers are not right if you need to talk and listen to other people. Key presses can be heard through the built-in mic, and you can disturb other people if you use the speakers. A good pair of headphones with a built-in mic can be a lifesaver in a lot of cases.

Two monitors allow you to share one screen and keep the other free to search for information, look at the event chat, etc.

An even better configuration will include:

  • (wireless) headphones and mic with noise suppression
  • three (or more) monitors
  • a (semi) professional webcam
  • (optional) another device connected as a guest in the session (muted)

I prefer wireless headphones since sometimes I like to walk while talking (if I’m not using the webcam 😊), and with noise suppression (especially in the mic) I can handle situations where my two years old child runs into the room and start screaming 😱.

My configuration is with three monitors so that I can project one, I can use another to search for information that can be shared after a question, and I can use the third to keep an eye on what’s happening (event chat, another chat with some colleague that is supporting me, etc.).

At the moment I’m not using an external webcam. Still, sometimes I miss it, because, for example, if I enable my video, and I’m looking at the screen above the webcam, my eyes are looking in a direction that is not natural. With an external webcam, I can position it to have a more natural expression.

In any case, but especially if you’re using the built-in webcam, check the video to see if, given the position, it’s streaming the details of your nose and mouth, instead of a front view of your face.

If you’re alone delivering the session, with no external help from some colleague, a secondary device that’s connected as a guest into the meeting can be useful to see if everything is ok while talking, presenting, sharing content, and so on.

These suggestions are better suited for live sessions. For recorded events, you don’t need the external device, the third monitor, but you’ll probably need a fast PC with a fast Internet connection to process and upload the video.

Do you have other items that you think could be useful during a live session?

-Photo by Fotis Fotopoulos on Unsplash