We live in a digital world. We are frequently asked how to give good presentations through impersonal, digital formats such as webinars that take place remotely and online. While you may not have to worry about stage fright when giving a webinar, that can be a double-edged sword. How do you connect with an audience that’s not physically in front of you?
1) Market Your Presentation:
Share your event with your contact list, blog subscribers, and social media friends/followers. For your audience’s convenience, create a message template for them to share with their friends. Here’s a brief example:
“Hey (their name)! Here’s a cool webinar that’s coming up on (date, time, location) by (your name) of (your company). He’s really good at (subject) and I believe it will help you grow (their company’s need) for (the need you service).”
Don’t market it too far in advance. We recommend 2-3 weeks prior to keep it fresh in your attendees’ minds. If you want to go the extra mile, send attendees a handwritten letter or marketing collateral to remind them of the event.
2) Send reminders:
Treat your webinar like an event. Send a friendly calendar reminder at least 2-3 weeks prior to showtime, so your attendees can sort out their schedules. Provide a date, time, and easy ways to share the webinar on their networks, along with instructions on how best to tune in. If they have to download any software or extensions prior, tell them. It is also good practice to reach out and remind your attendees an hour before the event, to confirm that the event is still on.
3) Keep the webinar short and sweet:
Fifteen minutes may be too short, but over an hour is too long. You’re asking the audience to give you their undivided attention and promising them value. The sweet spot is between 30-45 minutes, with 10-15 minutes reserved for Q&A. You are competing with many other distractions on the web for your viewer’s attention.
4) Give your webinar a catchy title:
When marketing your presentation, a good, relevant headline is vital to compel the audience to sign up and listen. Just make sure the topic is of interest or to your intended audience.
5) Present unique or original content:
Webinars must have a focused subject with material that cannot easily be found online. If you can pull the same information from a Google search, share that instead of presenting for an hour. Never waste your audience’s time.
6) Provide actionable advice:
Like any presentation, webinars should have actionable advice that attendees can use. It’s good practice to share materials online right after your webinar, so attendees can learn more or reach out to you.
7) Encourage audience interaction:
During the webinar, encourage the audience to e-mail you, send you questions, or tweet you with a unique hash tag (this can build more social traction for you, too). Make sure you have someone feeding you the questions and helping you respond if it’s a larger audience. It can be tough to handle and maintain attention spans online and communicate through social platforms.
8) Consider a panel of multiple speakers:
Having only one speaker can be monotonous. Consider featuring multiple speakers to change the pace of the webinar and keep the audience interested. Just make sure each panelist speaks to a different aspect of your subject to prevent redundancy. Also, have your additional speakers market the event to their networks.
9) Slow down with the slides:
Going through your slides too fast can be distracting for a viewer. Slow down. Your main focus should be to engage the audience with your content. If you have a large number of slides, give your audience a way to access the deck after your presentation. Post it online, and share it socially.
10) Avoid background noise:
If you have a formal, scripted pitch, mute your attendees and ask them to send you questions through the social network you’re using for the webinar. Having too many people talking at once—or having background noise—can be very distracting.
11) Create a calendar:
Create a schedule that outlines what you need to accomplish before show time: creating content, completing slides, doing a full rehearsal, promoting the webinar, testing the AV equipment, engaging with attendees, and so on. Webinars sometimes can be more time-consuming than an onstage presentation.
12) Check the AV equipment:
Make sure you have a stable WiFi connection, a good microphone or headset, and reliable web conferencing programs (such as Go-to-Webinar or Webex) before you even begin marketing your webinar. Test these constantly to make sure you’re ready for show time.
13) Reuse your content:
Record the webinar and upload it on websites such as your blog, YouTube, and SlideShare. Share it as quickly as possible, so it’s still fresh in your audience’s minds.
Webinars can be great for marketing purposes, internal conference calls, or workshops. Remember, just because you’re not there physically doesn’t mean that you get a free pass. It’s still up to you to manage your audience’s attention.
Give them a reason to listen and you will succeed.
Have any questions, comments, or suggestions on what you believe are the best inauguration speeches? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to check out our book The Big Fish Experience for more presentation tips – or subscribe to our blog to stay updated on the latest presentation, design, video, and creative trends.
PSST! For tips on web, video, digital strategy, and company culture, check out the newly launched blog of our parent company ThreeSixtyEight here.