Top Speaker Tips For Presenting Virtually

Top Speaker Tips For Presenting Virtually


  • Natural daylight is best, if possible sit facing a window. If the sun is too bright, pull down the window shade to diffuse it
  • A softened, diffused lamp (lampshades do the trick) placed at a 45° angle in front of you, will eliminate most shadows on your face


  • Choose attire that you would wear if you were attending an in-person conference
  • Plain-colored shirts and pants/skirts are optimal; patterns or stripes may not display well on remote sites
  • Avoid wearing a colour similar to your background.


  • Pick your presentation spot carefully, where you will not be interrupted
  • Check what’s visible in your camera background before you start. You may choose to remove personal photos. If you have a company banner, display it behind you.
  • Explore Zoom setup options. Select ‘Settings’ and consider using a virtual background, or ‘Touch up my appearance’ under ‘Video’


  • When you are not speaking, remember to mute yourself
  • Test your audio first to make sure the sound is clear
  • Speak slowly and clearly. It’s much more difficult for participants to process speech over a virtual presentation, where it’s harder to watch the presenter’s face for vocal and body language cues.
  • Zoom has a feature to cancel background noises from your microphone
  • Use a pair of wired ear buds (if not using an external high quality microphone) which tends to give the best clarity when speaking

Hints for better presentations

  • Close unnecessary open applications and windows to avoid distractions
  • Put your camera at eye level (use a stand, or stack of books if you are using a laptop camera)
  • If you look directly at your camera while speaking, your attendees will feel much more included in the conversation. Position the ‘active speaker’ window on your screen directly under the camera so that it is natural for your eyes to be looking towards the camera
  • Stick a post-it right below or next to your webcam with notes pertinent to the presentation. If you take a peek, you will still be looking somewhat directly at your audience.
  • Practice and time your presentation; try not to memorize the talk as it may not sound natural.


“Working in partnership with pcnametag to deliver an engaging virtual conference for CanSPEP was wonderful. The virtual event kit is a superb way to generate buzz about the event and transform it to an elevated experience! Delegates reported being excited to receive something in the mail. When they opened their kits, they found lots of fun items, some of which they were only allowed to use later in the week. This was captivating indeed!”

– Malak Sidky, Vice President, Partnerships, CanSPEP

Hilton Downtown Toronto Pays it Forward

In these challenging times of COVID-19, there are ways to extend kindness and compassion.

A unique partnership between the a hospital Foundation and a few downtown hotels including The Hilton Downtown Toronto, was struck in order to assist several customer groups. One customer group are essential health care workers that are either too tired to go home and just need a safe place to relax and recharge after a long shift or have immunocompromised family members that they are afraid of infecting.

Another group was identified which consisted of people living in women’s shelters, that due to the crowded conditions, were at risk of contracting COVID-19. The hotels agreed to open their doors to this clientele and the rates charged were just sufficient to defray their costs to have a skeleton crew be on site.

This is an amazing collaboration which allows the Hilton Downtown Toronto to operate since most hotels are still closed, while at the same time, helps keep health care workers and other vulnerable populations safe.

The link to register for the discounted rates at the Hilton Downtown Toronto is:

Cleanliness is of paramount importance these days and Hilton has developed a global program that will introduce a new standard of hotel cleanliness and disinfection: Hilton Cleanstay with Lysol protection. Travelers and hotel guests are expecting a higher level of cleanliness than ever before so this is a great comfort to those guests that are staying at the hotel.

Stay Safe!

Sustainable Approaches to Combat Burnout & Stress

In various surveys, event planners rate their jobs as highly stressful. Typically, it rates as within the top 5 of all time stressful careers. So what is it about the industry that makes our roles so stressful?

At the recent 8thAnnual Global Pharmaceutical and Medical Meetings Summit in Boston, I co-hosted a roundtable discussion about this topic. The delegates were split into 3 groups. The first group was asked to identify their top stressors in their jobs; group 2 was asked to list challenges that are out of their control and group 3 was asked to brainstorm tactics to mitigate stress.

What emerged was very interesting. Planners cited the following key stressors, most of which are out of their control:

  • Mergers & acquisitions
  • Strikes or union labour disputes
  • Ineffective timely communication from clients that lead to delays in decision making
  • Last minute unreasonable planning requests from their clients
  • Champagne expectations on beer budgets
  • Unpredictable severe weather emergencies (e.g. flood, fire) or infectious diseases that impact attrition rates

So what’s a planner to do to decrease the stress levels associated with these challenges?

Tactics varied, but the essence of it was to implement a risk management plan, replete with emergency preparedness mitigation strategies enabling planners to embrace the challenges and lower their stress level.

We have planned multiple events over the years and we fully understand the planning cycle. Hence, we can anticipate that there will be times when we need to pivot and change the agenda for example. We also recognize that there are tools that we should use to help reduce our stress levels such as establishing and monitoring our critical path and sharing this with our client at regular intervals. These checkpoints are key and need to be established early on. They are especially useful when the client communication is sparse.

To reduce your employees’ stress level, make sure you share your challenges. There is no need to take on all the stress. Your colleagues and/or employees can assist you in identifying solutions when a program budget gets slashed for example, yet you are still expected to deliver a high-quality product.  As a risk mitigation strategy, you should have a comprehensive database of vendors at various price points. This will enable you to quickly identify solutions.

As things heat up ~6 weeks pre-event, there are so many stress relieving tactics that may be effective to event planners. These include:

  • Eat well and ensure you get sufficient sleep
  • Disconnect from tech and distance yourself from work every evening. Working 18 hours days in the weeks leading up to the event can lead to burnout. Realize that you will be less effective if you are exhausted.
  • Take a yoga class or partake in any exercise such as going for a walk outdoors. This changes your mindset and has been proven to be invigorating
  • Engage in daily meditation – you cannot learn this at the last minute
  • Listen to music
  • Talk to a trusted friend or colleague about your feelings

On-site, we need to have a checklist with all the important phone numbers of our client representative, keynote speakers, vendors, and banquet manager so that if we need to shift suddenly, we can proactively communicate the change or escalate the decision if we need to evacuate for example. We do not need to be the on-site superhero and solve all the problems ourselves; we need to preassign roles to our staff and volunteers.

Changes are inevitable in any meeting or event; it is incumbent upon us to embrace these changes by being prepared to pivot and not sweating the small stuff!

Thanks everyone who participated at this session and to my co-facilitator Brenda Miller!


How to Make your Event more Sustainable – My Top Picks

In our work with clients hosting meetings and events, we make decisions every day from selecting venues, AV companies and décor items to exploring transportation and marketing collateral options. All these factors impact our environment. I have committed to choosing sustainable solutions so that our planet can not only survive, but thrive. I pledge to continuously educate myself, my staff, suppliers, and clients on opting for environmental friendly choices including:

  1. Creating a RFP that highlights sustainability requirements.
  2. Utilizing a carbon calculator for my events. We are all used to tracking our expenses vs. what we budgeted. Let’s take it one step further and track our carbon footprint.
  3. Selecting a venue that complies with eco-certification guidelines.
  4. Exploring off-the-grid AV options. At The Sustainable Events Forum, AV Canada used solar powered generators to power the cameras, lighting, microphones, projectors and screens. It can be done!
  5. Eliminating the use of plastic water bottles. Our water supply is safe, and contains fluoride, which is known to decrease the incidence of cavities. Instead of supplying plastic water bottles at your events, consider eco-friendly options such as Tabl’eau which uses the venue’s water supply, filters it in their mobile unit and makes it available in lovely glass reusable bottles.
  6. Asking the venue to provide food choices that comply with the 100-mile diet, thereby reducing the need for planes to transport items that are out-of-season. The fuel used in planes is a huge pollutant.
  7. Exploring ways to reduce food waste such as partnering with Second Harvest.
  8. Eliminating the use of paper. There are so many options available that can replace paper, such as posting the agenda on room screens, or using an App such as Eventmobi or Cvent, which can include speaker bios, exhibitor information, the daily agenda and numerous ways to recognize your sponsors.
  9. Not offering swag bags filled with plastic trinkets. Instead, ask your delegates to supply their own cloth bag and insist that your exhibitors select meaningful swag items that are not harmful to the environment, such as branded plastic water bottles.
  10. Selecting off-site options that are within walking distance of the venue. If there are delegates with mobility challenges, select companies with electric bussing options.




Senior’s Expo 50+ Features Delmanor Retirement Home

Ronnie’s Home Care Services is proud to present Senior’s Expo 50+ taking place at Eagles Nest Golf Club on September 25th. This high-calibre event features educational seminars and a niche array of vendors catering to seniors. Our sponsors include: Remax, RBC, Vaughan Chiropractic, Ward Funeral Home and D’Air Dance Collective. Our profiled vendor is Delmanor Retirement Home who have provided the following information about their homes:

Retirement is the time to reward yourself with the lifestyle you’ve worked hard to achieve. Delmanor understands that. Residents at every Delmanor community embrace the opportunity to learn and discover all their new lifestyle has to offer.At Delmanor, you can enjoy a spectacular turn-key lifestyle that doesn’t come with a chore list, only a calendar of events to keep you active. You choose the service package that suits you, from independent to assisted living. This is your opportunity to try new things, and to enjoy the company of good friends, enhanced by the Delmanor Living Well™ program which promotes an active mind, body, and spirit.Enjoy a variety of menu choices including vegetarian options prepared by Red Seal Chefs. Delmanor sources the freshest ingredients from local farmers and can also cater to special diets.

As a proud member of the Tridel group of companies, Delmanor is dedicated to providing service that focuses on individual preferences. Team members are selected for their passion and commitment to delivering exceptional service.With five convenient locations across the GTA and the addition of Delmanor Aurora opening in late 2021 — Delmanor welcomes those who love life and expect the best.For more information, please visit

Come visit the Delmanor booth at SE50+. To become a vendor or to purchase tickets, go to

Downsizing: How to make a Convincing Argument

Downsizing your elderly parents can be a difficult job. As their adult child, you may find that this job falls on to you. Let’s take a look at some essential factors to take into consideration when helping your parents make the decision to transition into a smaller, more accessible living space.
It may be understandably hard to convince your parents that they even need to downsize. It is important not to put pressure on your parents as this can be counterproductive and result in behaviour that is counteracting with your goals. Safety and comfort should be the primary goal. The thought of downsizing can be an emotional one, there are undoubtedly many memories and factors that your parents can be associating with the home. Asking you for help may be something your parents aren’t used to; they may not want to burden you or feel as if they are. The shift in caretaking is a big one that takes time to get used to. Mom and Dad spent years taking care of you, this role reversal can feel strange and demeaning.
Life can be hectic, as adults, we all have a lot going on. From raising our own families to working on our careers, add on to that helping your parents with the stressful and work extensive task of downsizing may seem overwhelming. It is important to avoid taking a tough love attitude. Remember to think of your parents’ positions every step of the way.
Keep in mind tone. The tone of the conversation should be open and collaborative. An excellent way to get the ball rolling is to approach the topic gently. For example, instead of saying “Mom, we need to get organized. There’s way too much stuff you ever use.” You can say “My friends’ mother found a lot of things she didn’t even realize she had since organizing her home. If you’d like, I would love to help you do the same.” By using this approach, it comes across as your parents’ choice.
Make downsizing less daunting by breaking it up into small manageable tasks. You may want to focus on one room at a time or even one part of a room at a time. If you know your parents spend a lot of time in the kitchen and bedroom, but not as much time in the basement, you may want to start in the basement. The disruption of moving things around won’t be as visible and intrusive. You wouldn’t want to discourage your parents from this lengthy process by packing up their bedroom first. This process can take months, and you want to make it as fun and enjoyable as possible. It is recommended that you take plenty of well-deserved breaks. You can use this time as quality time with your parents, put on their favourite music and even invite other family members to come over and help.

Convincing others over to help may be an issue on its own. However, this may be a good time to assign and schedule tasks that you know align with their strengths. For example, if your brother is good at filing papers, that could be a specific task you ask him to help you with. A simple task that one is good at is far less daunting than a massive project such as organizing and packing up a whole house. As a best practice, you should have a designated box for valuable items such as jewellery and money, as well as a safe place when you keep things such as banking information and wills. During the process of downsizing, you are in an excellent position to get things organized from a financial standpoint. This may be the perfect time to organize and make important decisions about the future. Involving your siblings in these decisions may lead itself to the transition of help in other areas.
Downsizing is emotionally draining. This is a significant life change for yourself and your parents. It may be hard for you to say goodbye to your childhood home, and it may be hard for your parents to give up the house where they held so many important family milestones. Understanding both points of view and finding some middle ground is ideal. It’s okay to let your parents know how difficult this change is for you as well, this may even be a bonding experience where you can both find closure. Moving, in general, is stressful, but when you downsize you not only leave behind your home, you are also forced to part with a lot of your possessions. That means sorting and parting with memories. Remember to be understanding and be patient with your parents as you embark on this life-changing transition.
The Connecting Generations Team

Business Women’s Network of York Region 5th Annual Awards Gala

On April 11, the Business Women’s Network of York Region hosted their 5th Annual Awards Gala at The Venetian. Each year they highlight successful business women in York Region in seven categories and one deserving recipient is awarded Business Woman of the Year.

Click here to read the full article in Snapd Vaughan.

Photo by Mike Aceto.

Key Considerations in Planning an Event

When planning an event, there are many factors to consider, the overarching one would be whether to attempt the coordination to oneself or to hire a professional. Event planners have expertise acquired through many years of executing a variety of events and are aware of current trends in event design. They have established processes in place such as the development of a critical path in order to ensure event success. Professional event planners are part of planning bodies (such as PCMA or CanSPEP) and value educational opportunities. They possess insurance and operate with a risk mitigation approach when reviewing venue and entertainment contracts. Moreover, they have a myriad of connections with suppliers (e.g. décor companies, DJs, caterers, photographers, florists, printers).

The following is a listing of key elements to consider when planning an event; all of these will impact the amount of time needed to execute the event.

Event Type and Scope–  Gala, annual conference, launch event, webinar, hybrid event, XMAS party, trade show, fundraising walk, think tank meeting, board retreat

Event Timing– half day event, full day event, multi-day event, sequential or break-out tracks

Event Size– Less than 100 delegates, 100-250 delegates, 250+. This affects venue size and room configurations.

Content Development & Speaker Management– Content to align with event theme, need for keynote speakers or panelists, abstract management services, liaison with universities for CME, coordination needed for receipt of bios and PowerPoint presentations

Marketing – Event promotion is key to the success of any event. Event promotion starts with the development of a marketing plan and can include the production of communication materials (flier, signage, tickets, invitations, event program), media relations (print, radio, TV) and social media.

Logistics required– Arranging for promo codes with various airlines or train/bus companies, need for swag bags, social program, spousal program, transportation during the event,  catering, AV services, photography, videography.

On-site services– Production of name tags, registration, flow of event, run of day (event script)

Evaluation– Creation of a survey and analysis of results

Once the scope of the event is clearly established, the fun begins with the development of the event’s theme and the budget. At Health Care Event Planning, we create optimistic, break-even and pessimistic budget scenarios so that the client is fully aware of the financial realities of the event. We also specialize in working with volunteer committees to establish the content and assist with sourcing engaging speakers that are experts in their field.

What ultimately sets us apart are the value-added services which include:

  • Expertise in the health care field
  • Translation of documents from English to French
  • Extensive media training which enables our team to interview speakers and produce short videos that can be used to promote the event
  • Expert moderation and facilitation of workshops and panel discussions

As can be seen, hiring an event planner is an investment that is worthwhile. Let us plan your next stellar event!