Presenting an impressive webinar takes skill, planning, and knowledge. Often it requires considerations that may not be present in a face-to-face pitch. There are specific ‘webinar environment’ concerns that need to be planned for and addressed.
Tip #1: Implement Time Management
All webinars have a time limit, especially those that will be presented live. This time limit is typically given in the promotional stage and when attendees sign up they expect to be present for the promised amount of time, people are busy and do not have the time or inclination to stick around for hours.
Statistics show that the optimal time for a webinar is one hour or possibly one and a half hours max, and that does not give much time to present a multitude of ideas and concepts. This means that the speaker must be highly organized with a clear outline and the details of each point to be delivered within the stipulated time frame.
Beyond the actual content, it’s important to consider the presentation elements, for example, the timing of the transitions when using Powerpoint slides, or the length of videos being used, along with time for questions from the audience, all of which should be incorporated into the planned time allotted.
Tip #2: Use Simple Language
No matter the industry or topic of the presentation, it is important to keep in mind that you will likely have a diverse audience. This means that it is important to keep the language simple and easy to understand in order to reach and stir the largest amount of people in that audience. It is also important to avoid using slang language or colloquialism should you be addressing a global audience.
Tip #3: Implement A Q & A
The best live webinars will include some type of Q & A session. This serves both the presenter and the audience and is an important element. In the virtual space, the presenter needs to be highly organized and preplan the implementation of the Q & A or else risk losing control of the entire presentation and its time management.
A Q & A can take place throughout the webinar, or after the presentation is over, this is a personal choice and depends on the topic and the structure of the presentation. Those who want to answer questions throughout can simply allow the audience to post them in text in a chat room and then assign a moderator who will choose those the presenter will answer. No matter when questions are handled, all answers should be short, concise and to the point in order to keep with time management and to answer as many questions as possible.
A Q & A moderator can really be an invaluable asset in managing questions so they do not take over the webinar or distract the presenter from the content of presentation. When there are many questions, it will likely be impossible to answer all of them during the presentation, so, a follow up email with answers is a great option to make sure that no one feels ignored and to provide further assistance that can be useful to everyone who attended.
Tip #4: Consider Hyperlinks
Hyperlinks are not always clickable within the webinar platform. This is an important consideration especially when you want to send your audience back to your site or to a purchase page. Consider placing links in a text chat box. Long links can be shortened with a URL-shortening service such as, BitLy.
Tip #5: Visual Learning
Humans are visual learners. Studies show that we absorb 70% more information when it is presented with visual elements over text and voice, and this is one of the main reasons that webinars are so effective, they are visual in nature. There is no point in presenting a webinar if all you are going to do is talk and provide text on a screen, you can do that with a traditional sales page or blog post.
Instead, use images, graphs, videos, Powerpoint slides, and desktop sharing to make your points come to life and not bore your audience to death. Visuals and graphics are interesting, and engaging, infographics illustrate this point beautifully and is the reason for their recent widespread use in online marketing and eLearning in a wide variety of topics.
Tip #6: Use Dynamic Voice
The voice of the presenter is of utmost importance in engaging the interest of the audience. Monotone reading of a pre-written script will rarely satisfy anyone and will likely result in audience members abandoning the presentation.
Use a conversational tone that is interesting and lively. Make your voice emotional as needed, to stir emotions in your audience. This can go a long way to establish a connection with them and to make the presentation interesting enough for them to stick around to the end and want to attend others you may give in the future.
Tip #7: Do Trial Runs
No matter if, you know the topic inside and out, and you have lived and breathed it for the last 20 years, always do at least one trial run of the webinar, especially if this process is new to you.
This allows you test the timing, and the various presentation elements, like slides, videos, polls, and images. It also allows you to master all the various components of the webinar platform you are using, such as, how to post in the chat rooms and to transition from one element to another.
It is also a great time to learn how to deal with any tech issues that can arise and set up contingency plans. Moreover, trial runs allow you to get the feel of the virtual space that as previously mentioned is a completely different environment than face-to-face meetings.