When putting on a webinar, a large majority of your presentation requires speech-making. Public speaking is obviously a necessary art, so it is important to know how to do it just right in order to ensure success.
When presenting your webinar, you must remember that, even though you are using video conferencing technology, your voice is the main thing that will connect you with your audience. Due to this, there are some speaking mistakes you must avoid in order to retain your credibility as not only a presenter, but also a business owner, lecturer, or professional. The following are common speaking mistakes and tips for how to avoid them.
Make Your Speech a Success by Avoiding these Pitfalls
Vary Your Pitch to Avoid Sounding Monotone: In real life, no one speaks in monotone, and those who do are most likely very boring. When stuck listening to a monotone speech, people are going to get bored and tired, and they are less likely to engage in what you’re saying. Even if the information you’re presenting is incredibly interesting, how you present it is half the battle when it comes to capturing audience interest. The best way to avoid sounding monotone is to record yourself giving your speech. When you watch as well listen to yourself while you present, you can catch any spaces where you sound boring or where you become disengaging to the audience. You can also add inflections in your speech outline as you’re writing. This can be done using italics or bolded words in your document and reading them accordingly. In short, make your voice lively—if people are going to listen to you, you should at least make the experience both fun and informative.
Avoid Filler Words: Filler words happen to the best of us. The umms, ahhs, and likes of every speech are there to bridge the gap between your actual words and the awkward pauses that come with anxiety, forgetfulness, and tricky transitions. While you may feel as if awkward pauses are the worst, placing filler words in these spaces is actually one of the worst things you can do. The common belief is that it’s better to say something than nothing, but this is not always the case. As long as your pauses are not more than ten seconds, you can allow a bit of quiet to permeate your speech as you gather your thoughts and realign where you want the presentation to go.
Avoid Long Pauses by Pretending You Have an Audience of One: When speaking one-on-one with someone, you wouldn’t just stop talking for more than ten seconds and expect it to not be awkward. It goes without saying that this is the same for your webinar or any other public speech. While short pauses are okay (as we’ve already discussed) you want to make sure that your quick pause does not turn into a space of weird silence. By pretending you have an audience of one, you can automatically make yourself feel more comfortable as well as reduce your anxiety of speaking to a larger crowd. Also, with webinars, you have the luxury of connecting with people virtually, which can also reduce any anxiety or fear that comes with public speaking. The bottom line, however, is try some little tricks that fill long pauses without being unnecessary. These include glancing at your outline to realign yourself, taking a deep breath during the pause, or building in pauses for yourself by using helpful visuals.
If the Audience is Global, Don’t Use Geographic Euphemisms or References that Not Everyone Can Understand: Sure, jargon and euphemisms can make your webinar a little more relatable, but there is a time and a place for these things. Be globally conscious by sticking to straight facts in your webinar and avoiding references and euphemisms that may alienate or even offend parts of your audience.
Don’t Make Inappropriate Jokes: Nothing tanks a webinar faster than the use of inappropriate humor. If you make jokes that are crass, low brow, dirty, or otherwise inappropriate, you run the risk of offending your audience and looking extremely unprofessional. It’s okay to use humor in your webinar, but you should never resort to jokes or anecdotes that are inappropriate in nature.
Avoid Getting Distracted by Being Unprepared: When unprepared, it’s easy to find yourself distracted or mislead during your webinar. Though distractions can occur that you have no control over, you do have control over how prepared you are. When drafting your webinar, draw up an outline, practice to yourself and a friend, and do all the research you can on your topic. The better informed you are, the better prepared you are for your webinar.
Avoid Repetitive Language: Repetitive language often happens when you’re nervous or unprepared. Whichever scenario befalls you, you’ll want to ensure that you avoid repeating yourself as much as you can. When you use repetitive, it comes off as if you don’t know what your saying or don’t understand your presentation topic. It’s okay to reference back to points, but if you say the same things over and over, you’re going to lose audience interest as well as credibility.