One of the biggest challenges of hosting a successful webinar is to manage time properly. Time in a webinar is finite and before you know it, the end of the webinar can be approaching and you still have so much to say.
It is a must for any webinar host to keep to the allotted time. This allows you to discuss all the topics you had planned to say and it also shows respect for your audience. There can be nothing more off-putting for an audience if you have to rush through material, start panicking, and then miss out topics that you had promised to discuss.
There are usually two main reasons why a webinar host runs out of time:
- The host has planned to discuss too much material for the allotted time.
- The host didn’t take into account factors like giving out handouts, showing slides, and hosting a Q & A session.
What are the best tips to maintain appropriate time management in a webinar presentation?
1. Plan Properly
Proper planning is the key to maintaining appropriate time management in a presentation. For this, you need to prioritize information in a logical order. So, start with your main points and arrange them in a logical order. This will actually save you time because our brains are programmed to process information in a logical way. You, therefore, can speak less to get the main points over.
The next step in the planning process is to find supporting arguments for your main points. You should now think about what kind of visual aids to use and how these can emphasize your ideas.
2. Be Flexible
You should avoid writing out your presentation and delivering it verbatim. This will only negatively impact on your presentation because your audience will sense that you are reading it. Also, a word-for-word script doesn’t allow for any flexibility.
For example, there could be some technical glitches that can take up more time. Or, a Q & A session could go longer than you planned. Sometimes, even just being in a ‘live’ setting takes a longer time than you planned for.
3. Rehearse Your Performance
There are many technical aspects to hosting a webinar and it is important to well rehearse all aspects of these. Usually, a webinar will contain slides, maybe a video presentation, guest speakers, and some handouts. All of these transitions take time.
Most webinar platforms allow you to host a demo webinar. So, make sure and go through the whole presentation in a calm manner. This will help you streamline distributing handouts, showing slides, and introducing guest speakers.
A few words of caution: Avoid the pitfall of not showing slides long enough for them to be effective. It can be frustrating for an audience if, while they are reading the slide, it changes. Don’t try and rush the presentation to cram in more material. Sometimes less is more, and not always cramming as much information as possible into a presentation means that you are delivering value.
You should also rehearse your presentation audibly, not just speak the words ‘in your head.’ This is because we think faster than we speak and we have the tendency to ‘speak in our mind’ faster than we say the words.
4. Divide Your Time Up
On your outline, you should specify how long each main point should take ñ when it should start and when it should end.
You should also clearly show in your outline when to distribute handouts, change slides, and show other media content. This means that you don’t have to double-back to a point because you forgot to change the slide. It also has the added benefit of making your presentation appear slicker.
Even though you may run over time on one or two topics, if you have a clear time schedule for each main topic it will help you running out of a lot of time at the end.
5. Use a Clock
This may seem obvious, but you should keep a clock in a visible position for easy reference. It can be very easy to be so engrossed in your presentation that time goes much quicker than you think. Remember to mark in your outline the actual time when you should start each topic. So, let’s say that your presentation starts at 2pm and you plan for a 5-minute introduction. You should write 2.05pm beside the first main topic, and then do the same for each subsequent main topic.
It’s a challenge to make sure that webinars don’t go over time and to always allow yourself enough time to discuss your main topics in detail. However, if you follow the 5 great tips on maintaining appropriate time management in webinar presentations, you will always be able to finish on time.