Webinars are extremely popular because they’re cost effective. Though, there’s a challenge delivering high quality content, at the same time keeping the virtual participants attention.
This week’s post are my comments (italicized) on “7 Tips for Webinar Wizardry” written by Dr. Ronald Bonnstetter, VP of R&D of my assessment company TTI. I added number 7.5.
1. Before you present: Know, Know, Know!
- Know your audience
- Let them know you
- Immediately make clear what your goals and the intended “take aways” are so everyone knows where you are going.
It’s imperative to give a high level snapshot of the presentation. Provide your audience a clear idea of where you’re taking them. Then wrap it all in a tidy bow with a concise summary.
Before you begin, tell your audience to avoid multitasking. This does a few things. One, it lets them know you’re taking this time seriously. Two, it shows you’re taking a leadership position.
2. Capture your audience in the first 10 seconds and end on a high!
Don’t begin your presentation thanking everyone for their time, or going on and on about your background. Boring!. Nobody cares! Instead, open with a provocative question that relates to the subject. “What’s the one thing you came here today looking to get from my presentation?” Now, you’ve captured their attention.
Studies show audiences remember the first and last things you say. So, make it a point to sear an emotional connection on both ends. For example, when I conduct my Stay On Track In 10 Minutes A Day seminar I say,”How will you use what you’ve learned starting today?”
3. Entice with “to come” features.
Early in the webinar, mention something that will keep the audience tuned in while you’re speaking. For example, this year I conducted a virtual leadership seminar using videoconferencing equipment and said “At the end of today’s seminar, I’ll be giving away a complimentary LPI (360 assessment) to two leaders.”
4. Limit death by Power Point.
Vision trumps all other senses when it comes to information transfer. When using PowerPoint slides or any presentation aids, remember these simple rules:
- No more than 8 lines of text
- Background should not distract from message
- NEVER READ THE TEXT VERBATUM
- No more than a minute on a slide
- If complex, have items come in one at a time
- Hit each concept from at least three learning modalities
Studies show, after three days, we’ll retain 10% of what we’ve heard. Now, if you can marry the spoken word with text and graphics, retention jumps almost seven times. I also believe storytelling greatly increases what your audience remembers. Give real life examples and you’ll make an emotional imprint for their brains to easily remember.
5. Make the tools work for you, keep it simple!
There is no advantage to offering additions to a presentation that your audience cannot access or requires a learning curve that takes them away from hearing your message. If you use one of the professional services, such as Go-To-Webinar, consider how their add-ons may help your presentation. For example,
- A quick poll can provide you with valuable audience insights and help direct your comments.
- An active question and answer window can also make your audience feel connected to you and make the presentation more engaging.
- Adding a Twitter hashtag feed to your webinar will help track the questions and also promote the webinar as it is going on. Showing short videos or having windows with one or more of the presenters visible can make your presentation more dynamic.
If it makes sense to use a feature, by all means go for it. Don’t try to get too cute just to impress. Your audience will know it and you’ll lose credibility. Less is more.
6. Make your webinar as interactive as possible.
Early on, I suggested to tell your audience not to multitask. Well, you’ve got to make this presentation interesting so they want to go along for the ride! A few ideas are storytelling, asking questions, short videos, or sound effects. I’ve been known to hit my Staples Easy button “That was easy!”
7. Have a Moderator and a Technical Assistant.
Once you start to use the active engagement tools designed for on-line presentations, you will quickly realize that most of us cannot multitask.
Each webinar should be run by three people:
2) tech savvy person
3) social media/question monitor
I agree, unless you want to be a one person show, things run smoother with a team. If you go this route, ensure you rehearse the presentation beforehand. One thing that turns me off is going to a webinar and the group is unprepared.
7.5 Have Fun!
If you know me, I’m all about having fun. No matter what I’m doing, I try to get people to laugh. At the same time, my humor has a purpose. It’s all about having a client emotionally connect to the material and the experience. Whether it’s a funny story, a joke, making fun of myself, or playing a game. Having fun will make your meeting memorable and want your audience coming back for more.
I hope these tips help you with your next webinar or virtual meeting.
Do you have any other tips to share? Please comment below!
Photo by Official GDC.
These are all useful points. I have participated in webinars when even one element is missing and it can be painful. I particularly agree with having the speakers completely free from dealing with any technical moderation or potential hiccups. As you say, ending with a call to action is also very important.
We need to be more intentional about the audience experience. Also known as Return On Interaction (ROI with a twist.)
Steve, these are great points. One question: how useful do you find using polling during a webinar? Can that be an effective way of interaction? I have seen it done whereby the speaker captures some insightful information and shares it real-time with the audience.
Thanks for your comment Kevin.
Yes, I’ve seen real time polling during a call though I haven’t used it myself. I think it’s a great tool. Audience members that are shy and want to remain anonymous like this one a lot.
I like to verbally ask the audience questions. Just my style.