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Video conferencing: guidance for speakers

This page provides information and answers to frequently asked questions for anyone speaking at or chairing a video conference.

Chairing a video conference

How will the chairing work?

The RCOG chair for each session will co-ordinate the discussions, and allow equal time from each site to ask questions. They will inform the audience how long the discussion period will be, or how many questions can be taken from each site. The local chair will then co-ordinate the Q&A sessions.

How will the questions work?

To avoid the complication of microphones in the audience, and to ensure all sites can hear each question, all questions from the audience will be posed by the chair of the country where the question is coming from. Each site will organise the passing of questions from the audience locally, so please decide in advance your preferred way of doing this. The local chair will then read out the question on behalf of the audience. We recommend the local chair also prepares a couple of questions to pose to the speaker if questions from the audience are not forthcoming.

We ask chairs to ensure that each talk does not go beyond its allotted time, so that each centre has time to pose questions.

Presentation preparation

Will I need to prepare my presentation differently if it is to be video conferenced?

We have one recommendation - please avoid using very small text on the slides - but otherwise the same principles apply as with any other lecture. Please see our speaker guidance notes for more information.

Are there any restrictions on the size of my presentation?

There are no restrictions on presentation size. However, the larger the presentation is, the longer it will take to be uploaded.

Can I include video clips in my presentation?

Yes, video clips can be included in your presentation.

What presentation software will the video conference system support? What format of video files is preferred? Is there a size limit?

Any version of PowerPoint may be used. Video format should be in RealVideo/Windows Media Video/QuickTime. It is recommended to avoid using AVI/mpeg or AVI-DV. The larger the video file is, the longer it takes to be loaded.

I often use multiple videos in one slide – is this still possible?

Yes, however please remember to compress the video and to use the formats mentioned above.

Will I need to provide my presentation in advance?

We ask for your presentation in advance so that we can make it available to delegates online, but there is no requirement to provide your presentation in advance specifically for the video conference.

Who is responsible for obtaining copyright permission if I include other people’s material within my presentation?

As with all our conferences, it is the individual speaker’s responsibility to obtain the necessary copyright permission for their talk. Please see our FAQs for more information.

Delivering your lecture

Do I need to arrive at the conference early?

If you have not submitted your presentation in advance, especially if it includes videos, then please arrive in time for the AV technician to test your presentation prior to the conference. If you cannot arrive early then please ensure your presentation is submitted in advance.

Will the video camera be intrusive?

The video camera will be static and positioned near the rear of the auditorium, so it should not be noticeable or off-putting to the speaker on stage. When delivering your talk, please ensure you stand at the podium - the quality of the production is compromised if speakers walk around the stage - please ensure you speak clearly into the microphone, and please note that plain clothes work better than patterned clothes!

What happens if something goes wrong?

Sometimes sites can lose sound or picture (or both), but the AV technicians at each site will be in touch with each other in case anything goes wrong. We intend to send copies of your PowerPoint presentation to all sites in case a connection is lost, so that in a worst case scenario, the talk can be given over a standard telephone line.

How does video conferencing work?

Video conferencing is when two or more parties communicate in real time in separate locations with both video and audio signals. The RCOG video conferencing system uses an internet connection to deliver video conferencing to compatible end points. The video conference will be sending a live image of you and your presentation via the internet. The equipment allows the delegates at the recipient site to view the PowerPoint presentation as it would appear to the delegates in the College, and will not involve the electronic transfer of any presentations.

Can I use my own laptop to deliver the talk?

Yes, although you will need to inform the Conference Office in advance.

Will the centres at the other end be able to download the video of my presentation and/or my presentation slides onto their computer?

No, this function will be disabled for both the video and the PowerPoint presentation files.