Have you ever been to a meeting where the presenter spends more time looking at their slides rather than interacting with the audience? Granted, some presenters might not be as prepared as they should be, but mostly it’s because they lack confidence in their grasp of the material to know what comes next.
Enter what is aptly called a “Confidence Monitor”! You might hear it also referred to as a downstage monitor or a “comfort” monitor. It’s placed downstage, facing the presenter, enabling them to see their content and look out at the audience easily. As the name expresses, it helps them remain confident in their presentation by allowing them to quickly confirm their place and anticipate what is coming next.
The AV company and planner should have a discussion around the usage of Confidence Monitors at the beginning of the planning process. It is much more than just an average monitor and has to be taken into consideration in terms of planning and equipment. We'd recommend that one always provides confidence monitors for your big stage presenters.
Here are some key things to discuss when determining what your presenter wants to see on the monitor, and the equipment that goes with.
Speaker only wants to see what the audience is seeing
Be sure to have a video switcher so you can switch between the presenters content and a holding graphic (you might already have a switcher if you have cameras for live video / Image Magnification - or, IMAG)
Be careful, presenters who see them on their confidence monitor can easily become distracted. You do not want to show any camera in the confidence monitor.
Speaker wants to see the slides AND their notes
For this, it’s best to provide two monitors.
Your graphics computers will need two outputs--one for the notes and one for the presentation. Powerpoint allows speakers to put notes with each slide in their presentation. With this feature you only need one computer.
You can also provide two computers. One that is specifically for speaker notes and one that has the presentation slides. Considerations on how the speaker notes and presentation advance needs to be coordinated in advance.
No speaker wants the same thing
Make sure your AV Provider can put differing sources to each monitor during the presentation. Now, each presenter may choose what they would like to see. Make sure each presenter has time to walk the stage in advance of their presentation to make a selection on what they would like to see.
Engage with your AV provider early and see what options are available for you. Allowing for a confidence monitor in your budget will make your presenters more refined and helps enable a polished presentation. Even presenters who have not used one before will thank you.
Whether you call it confidence, comfort, or downstage -- we like to call it peace-of-mind. We hope we’ve shed some light on your options surrounding monitors as you plan your next meeting!