RootsTech Connect Speaker Resources

Welcome to the new resource page for all RootsTech presenters! We search year-round for speakers who will share their love and passion for their topic in a way that will inform, inspire, surprise, and delight. RootsTech presenters are world-class experts, business owners, and accomplished family historians. As a speaker at RootsTech, you will:

  • Have the opportunity to share your love of your topic with a global audience. Currently, over 130,000 people from 175 different countries have registered for this event and are eager to learn from people like you. 
  • Transform learning in the genealogy community as we enter the new normal of immersive digital experiences.

Transformative Learning: It’s a New World

Have you heard? We are going virtual! This transition changes everything in the world of learning. Traditionally, the industry sticks to the usual 60-minute class sessions with 60+ slides. We challenge you to think outside the box and provide a learning experience that will keep the audience coming back.


Shorter Format

Keep it to 10–20 minutes and focus on one subject. Let’s be honest: after 20 minutes, our attention is almost exhausted in a two–dimensional world.


High Energy and Edutainment

Have fun! Think of the most engaging videos you’ve watched. What makes them so powerful? How can you surprise, delight, and touch hearts?


Engagement and Connection

Worldwide means an unprecedented ability to connect and engage with others! What if you could chat with someone from your ancestor’s hometown, half a world away?

Recording Tips and Tricks

Use the tips below to ensure your recording is the best possible. It is important to know we are aiming for authentic and energetic recordings, not professional production. We don’t want you to re-record your class several times—mistakes are completely acceptable!


Things to Consider as You Make Your Video

Your video submitted to RootsTech should allow the audience to connect with their families and feel the joy that is a part of family history.

All videos will be reviewed to ensure they follow these overall principles:

  • Appropriate. All content should be family friendly and appropriate for audiences of all ages.
  • Relevant. Content should support discovering and sharing family stories, history, and culture.
  • Inspiring. Content should motivate people to connect with their family past, present and future.

Lights, Camera, Action

Please record your class using the technology readily available to you:

  • On a smartphone or from your computer.
  • Using any recording tool you choose; what we will need is an MP4 file when you are done. Some of our favorites include Panopto, Zoom, and Loom. The free account lets you create and edit your video online. If you are a little more techy, you can download a free copy of OBS Studio to do your video production and editing.

Consider the Camera Positioning

Please record your video in landscape view (horizontal).

  • If your device and app can be configured to do so, set your video resolution to 1080p.
  • Try to position your camera at eye level or slightly above. This will allow the audience to engage with your eyes.

Good Lighting Is Vital

Keep the largest source of light pointed at your face. Natural light is best, but do not use a window as your backdrop. Speaking of backdrops, remember that what’s behind you can help or hurt your message. Check the background; make sure it isn’t too busy or distracting.

  • Windows are not good backdrops because of lighting changes while you record and the occasional bird or dog that may pass by and distract from your presentation. Make sure everything in the frame supports your message and doesn’t distract your viewers.
  • Feel free to use one of our RootsTech virtual backdrops; they work best if you are sitting in front of a plain wall or surface.
  • Ensure your backdrop is sensitive to a global audience.

Consider Your Presentation

  • Dress modestly and professionally for an audience that will come from many different cultures and from all ages. 

  • Choose bright and solid clothing; small, busy patterns create a blur on camera. Avoid graphics or logos on your clothing—this can distract from your message. 

  • Be kind and sensitive in the language you use to the diverse audience to which you are presenting. Avoid profanity or language that may offend others.

  • Make your content positive, uplifting, and inclusive of your audience.


Sound Considerations

The most important part of your recording is that the audience can hear you clearly. Try to use an external microphone for better sound.

  • If you are using a smartphone or tablet to record, make sure nothing is covering your microphone, or use an external microphone. If possible, use a wired internet connection to avoid disruptions to your sound and image and to avoid sounding like a robot or a high-speed chipmunk.
  • Turn off notifications on your computer, phone, or tablet—the Do Not Disturb feature is the best. Try to record your content when you can be alone and without noise happening around you. Consider putting a note on your door or asking people not to knock or ring when you are recording.
  • When you start recording, silently count to yourself in 1, 2, 3 before you start your recording. Do the same at the end, after finishing speaking and when stopping the recording.

The Legal Stuff

A few hints to help keep your presentation legal and shareable:

  • Use videos, photos and music that are your own work or that is in the public domain. If in the public domain, please provide a link to the source from which you obtained that item. (See helpful hints in the Digital Media Resources)

  • Create non-cluttered content that avoids, trademarks and logos of others, which may detract from your message.


Plan and Expectations

Please submit all of the required materials for your presentation by December 31, 2020. The submission form will allow you to submit:

  • An MP4 recording of your presentation. If using slides, be sure to include the required slides provided below.
  • A syllabus, related links, and/or metadata to help categorize the class.
  • Paperwork for contract and releases to use. (These will be emailed to you later, please watch for them.)
  • A high-res photo and biography.

Downloadable Resources

You are welcome to use the PowerPoint template provided below as you craft your presentation slides. Please make sure your presentation includes one of the title slides and an end slide (various options are offered in this template). A disclaimer slide is also required and provided. 

Download here 


Ready to Record and Submit Your Content?

Follow these simple steps.


Things to consider

With a virtual conference it is all about connection between you and each individual audience member—everyone watching is on the front row.

  • Create a powerful message.

  • Create content that is your own and not from someone else.

  • Make it authentic, accurate and truthful.

  • Tell your real stories—you can change names to protect the innocent, but keep it real. If you share another living person’s data, you will need documented permission from that person.

  • Make eye contact with the viewers—we know you cannot see them, but put a picture of someone you love next to your camera and look deeply into their eyes. We will feel the love too.

  • Use analogies and humor to help make your message memorable.

  • The format supports your message.

  • Please keep it to a maximum class time of 20 minutes. If your 60-minute class can’t be shrunk into 20 minutes, contact us about breaking it up into two or three 20-minute sessions.

  • Don’t give the same presentation you would in person; keep your content tight and shorter. Pauses that feel perfect in person feel much longer online.

  • Keep your slides clean and concise. Use big images and fewer words on the screen. This will keep our eyes and ears on you.

  • Do a practice run—record your content for time, accuracy, and working technology. Watch it back and make adjustments in your content, delivery, lighting, and sound as needed.

Sometimes we are our own worst critic. Send it to us before you re-record.



Record your presentation

Record your presentation using whatever technology is readily available to you. what we will need is an MP4 file when you are done. Some of our favorites include Panopto, Zoom and Loom. If possible, at the end of your presentation, we’d encourage you to give a shoutout to the rest of the content that will be available for attendees at RootsTech. You could simply say something like, “Thanks for watching my presentation. For more great content, check out the RootsTech page.”


Document Your Music, Photos and Videos

Because RootsTech Connect is a virtual event and your video recording will live on online, it is important to follow copyright laws and ensure that you have the rights to share any media you choose to use. If you plan on including digital media in your presentation, other than your own, you will need to have the rights to use that media. You must either have the rights to share that media with RootsTech or use media RootsTech already has rights to use.

Along with your video submission, please include the source and a link to the digital media you are using. See the Digital Media Resources link in the Resources section for ideas of where to find public domain music, video and photos.


Submit your content

Once you’ve recorded your content and created your thumbnail, you’re ready to submit! Click here to be taken to the submission portal (or click the banner below).


What happens after you submit your video?

As part of the finalization process, all content will be reviewed by RootsTech staff. Requested edits, if any, will be sent back to you for revision. Once your content has finished final review, it will be prepared with tags you may have suggested with other tags added by our editors. When finished, your content may be placed in the RootsTech Connect Classes section for all to enjoy.

Submit your content here

Upload here

Your Team of Resources

We’re here to help you make your RootsTech presentation a huge success. Please contact us at the email addresses listed below with any questions.


Janell Vasquez


Larry Telford


Kayla Jackson