12 TIPS FOR WEBINAR PRESENTATIONS

Written by Steve Bridger

Steve Bridger IP©

Webinar Presentations – 12 Tips for First Timers

If you’re reading this the chances are your boss has asked you to give your first webinar presentation. Either that or you’ve witnessed the rapid growth of webinars and want to grasp this fantastic opportunity to put your message across. Either way, it’s a presentation format with its own challenges and rewards. Mastering the challenges will produce an attractive and effective communication tool with massive possibilities.

Remember, as with many things practice makes perfect, so don’t beat yourself up if at first it goes badly wrong – as it did for me.

The weirdness started when I picked up the mic and started talking to myself without human feedback. It’s really strange when you’re used to having people to react with and when can see straight away if they understand what you’re saying. Doing a conventional presentation allows you to gauge the right pace, the right speed of delivery – not too fast-not too slow, and to check whether they’re keeping up by looks on faces. In a webinar the screen is all you see. You dictate the pace. The voice is yours and yours alone.

I’d taken a normal powerpoint presentation as the base text for my webinar. I was the guest presenter on a thelemonclub.co.uk lunch+learn session moderated by Sally Hindmarch of partnerswithyou.co.uk. Thank goodness we had a practice ‘live’ rehearsal the week before broadcast. I fluffed my lines, dried up, panicked, unpanicked, lost the plot and felt so small I could squeeze through a crack in the floorboards. When my blood pressure finally fell to normal levels this is what I learned:

1. Clearly define the ground you want to cover – and of course, prepare and know the content well.

2. Use visual charts – pictures/images as many as necessary to educate by entertaining

3. Keep text slides to a minimum

4. Don’t overcomplicate chart text – short and sweet – plain language – avoid jargon and acronyms

5. Use an opening chart to tell people what you’re going to talk about

6. Insert ‘link’ slides between topics to allow listeners adjust to the next up and coming subject

7. The link slides give you as presenter time to take a sip of water – otherwise, after 15 minutes or so you’ll literally ‘dry-up’

8. Slow down when talking- don’t rush, even though the adrenalin may be pumping. Generally make the participants feel you’re talking ‘to’ them not ‘at’ them.

9. Keep the whole webinar as short and tight as possible – think of yourself as the person listening and judge how long it would take for your attention to wane.

10. Use visualisation software to convert data into graphically interesting images – Sisence, Tableau Public and of course, powerpoint, can make presenting figures easier on the eyes, and on the brain.

11. Introduce subject polls to stimulate audience interaction – and give yourself a few welcome seconds to draw breath.

12. Prepare a couple of questions the moderator can ask you – to get the Q&A section started

On the day, it went better than I’d ever hoped. Mistakes were made – but aren’t they always? In webinars definitely ‘less is more’. The less to worry about - the better the delivery. One thing. If you’re reading from a script it will be noticed. Practice, practice, rehearse, rehearse then let the actual event take care of itself. It will be OK.

Try to maintain human contact – even if you can’t see the white of their eyes.

Don’t worry, you’ll be great.

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