When Steve Jobs debuted the iPod to the world in 2001, he could have described how revolutionary the product was by discussing its lightning-fast compression bit rates, how lightweight, small it was, and how its battery life could last for days. Instead, a simple statement was all it took for Steve Jobs to start the public’s love affair with the iPod: 1,000 songs in your pocket.

So simple was Steve Jobs message that it was more powerful than what a highly nuanced technical presentation could have possibly evoked. 1,000 songs in your pocket, a devilishly short and effective message that conveyed more than a thousand meanings and a message that opened conversations amongst the devout and the uninitiated to the Apple product line.


Make room for conversation

Webinar presenters could learn a whole lot of inspiration from how the likes of Steve Jobs do their thing. No matter which industry you belong to or what kind of audiences you expect to listen to your webinar, there are rules in presenting a webinar that are downright universal. Your webinar presentation is your way to converse with the public.

Let this be very clear. White papers and technical cheat sheets could be, uhm, technical, but presentations are conversational. Whether you are introducing your company and what you do to make things work for your clients or presenting a groundbreaking technology that will change how people experience life, webinar presentations are simply online conversations with an audience.

If you are webinar presenter who yearns to walk the hall as Steve Jobs and the rest of the great communicators of our time did, perhaps the only life hack you need to learn is how to carry out great conversations with your audience. Remember that there is no presenter without an audience, and you should learn to connect with your audience, converse with them and entice them to listen to you.

There is not a single conversation style that’s the absolute best, and there really is no hard and fast rule to becoming the best webinar presenter in the entire planet, but there are a few things that get things done in achieving great results as a presenter.


Keep it personal

The world of marketing strategists has taught us to think of webinar audiences as mere clients or prospects. As a presenter, you should never subscribe this idea. Save yourself and your audience from the falling into the pitfall of impersonal communication by thinking of your audience as just another computer screen or a target to be crossed off your organization’s list of possible converts.

The moment you succumb to the thought that your audience is some unknown personas who might or might not like your presentation is the moment you lose your heart to strike a conversation with them. Your presentation will then just feel like another chore in your day job and you lose your chance of truly engaging your audience.

Instead of falling into the impersonal trap, develop a winning mindset by thinking of your webinar presentation as a conversation that you are carrying out with your friends or your colleagues. Talking to faceless prospects and targets gets you focused on what you will say to them; talking with your friends and colleagues will make you think how your words could change them.

Webinar presenters who are in for the conversion kill are fast-talkers whose mind is on how to direct people with their words but the really good ones will want to know how to inspire them to take action. There is a reason why presenters who are ‘approachable’ and ‘just like us’ are a big hit among the listeners and watchers of the world. Think of Steve Jobs who knew about bit-rates and compression rates but chose to communicate by showing how even he could be awed with having 1,000 songs tucked into his pocket.


Tell a story

Everybody likes a story, especially if it’s a good one. Stories are passed on from mouth to mouth, generations after a generation. Stories stick to consciousness and memories, and the same cannot be said of something less like it. To make a great webinar presentation, think of yourself as a storyteller. The moment you know you will present a webinar, get a piece of paper and plan, make a storyboard, weave a script, conceptualize a design and envision the appearance of your presentation. Everything starts with a good story, and your webinar presentation should not be an exception.

It is a well-thought of and captivating story that separates a great presenter with the average ones. You could be an expert in your field or you could have the most revolutionary idea or product to offer, but if you do not know how to make a narrative to be able to effectively present your ideas then you can be sure that your presentation will not have a winning form. Great communicators typically construct their speeches and presentations as a three-act story with a powerful beginning, a middle, and an end.

Hook your audience to your presentation by setting up your characters and letting your audience know why they should care in the beginning of your story.

Choose a beginning that grabs your audience’s attention, for example an anecdote or a glaring statistic or data. Next, identify the problem (these are everyday villains in your audience’s lives) and specify the solution to the problem (the hero could be your product, service or your organization). Finally, present the resolution to the conflict in your story by showing your audience a clear call to action so you leave them with a message of hope or a vision of a better future.

Structuring your presentation following this rule of thirds in storytelling will set for your audience the stage for an amazing journey that is no other than your webinar presentation. It is the kind of journey that sells products, inspires actions, funds companies, and makes your presentation a memorable and exciting experience.


Stir things up

If data and numbers alone could make the world go round, there would be no need for presentations and other social gatherings of the same vein. While logic is a necessary human faculty, human beings are guided by more than just logic. Data amount to nothing if they do not evoke emotions or feelings. Even scientists attest to the fact that emotionally charged events are kept for much longer in our memories and the human brain recalls them more precisely than neutral experiences. This of course is precisely the reason why conversing with your audience in your webinar presentation means you have to stir things up for them.

To be able to give a memorable and effective presentation, give your audience more than just cold, hard facts. Make your message come alive and stick to your audience by triggering emotional reactions from your listeners. Don’t just tell numbers; show how these numbers matter. Don’t just tell your audience how one in every five people bought your product after a pre-test; tell them how happy and content these people were in making their decision.


Keep it simple

A good webinar presentation will present content but a great one will break down information into simple key messages. Converse with your audience by keeping things simple and make a win for a great webinar presentation. Ditch the idea that presentations should feel like a lecture straight up from an ivory tower of complex ideas and even more complicated methods of explaining things.

Avoid complicated statistics, technical jargon, and complex data. Your role as a presenter is to break things down into bite-size, easily digestible ideas, otherwise just ask your audience to read a white paper rather than endure your one-hour webinar. Remember though that keeping your talk simple does not mean you have to give a blah presentation. Impart in your presentation the right amount of analogies and metaphors, evocative message and visual material to solidify and simplify big data and complex ideas that are sometimes necessary to discuss.

Speak in plain language but remember to keep your discussion interesting by choosing beautifully engaging and evocative phrases especially around ideas and concepts you want retained in your audience’s memory.


Final thoughts

As a final thought, let’s reiterate the value of conversing with your audience. The world of great presenters is built not only on the cobblestones of information but on a horizon that paints a vivid picture of a better tomorrow. Talk intimately with your audience about that better future, and who knows, you might just do what a Steve Jobs did to create that Apple cult following.

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Posted by Agnes Jozwiak

Agnes is the Brand & Communication Director at ClickMeeting.

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