willspring55, September 29, 2014
By J Blume
Webinars play a significant part in modern B2B marketing. Yet a lot of companies fail to give webinar presentations the attention they deserve. If you are going to do it, do it right – with these handy webinar presentation tips.
Keep it Short
Most webinars are scheduled for an hour. Why? Because calendars are marked in one hour slots? If you have 25 minutes of content, arrange a 30 minute webinar. Don’t just schedule an hour and try to pad things out – that doesn’t help your audience or your reputation.
Avoid Making a Podcast
Perhaps the most common mistake with webinar presentations is not doing enough with the slides. The audience can’t (usually) see you. If the slides aren’t compelling, your webinar turns into a podcast. Which is fine, but your audience are sat at their laptops, and will likely get distracted. Without compelling visual content, you will struggle to keep the audience paying attention.
Let Your Slides Do Some ‘Heavy Lifting’
Text-heavy slides give too much away and leave the webinar presenter ignored. ‘Zen’ style slides can suffer from not holding the attention long enough or conveying enough information. Tell your story visually in a way that actually helps your webinar audience understand and remember what you say.
Keep Your Slides Moving
I’ve seen presentation professionals deliver webinars where each beautiful (static) slide stays on screen for four or five minutes. It takes the audience maybe ten seconds to look at the slide, and then for the next few minutes the visuals just get ignored. And with visuals that get ignored, the temptation to check email or YouTube can be hard to resist. We like to animate visual slidesevery 10-15 seconds during a webinar presentation to keep things compelling.
Test Your Animations
Not every webinar platform handles PowerPoint animations well. Fuze appears to use the iSpring conversion engine, and so it does a great job. WebEx is pretty good. Microsoft has traditionally been pretty good. But something like GoToMeeting works with screen-sharing where bandwidth and fidelity can become issues, and BrightTALK usually converts dynamic slides to PDF. Check in advance to be sure your webinar presentation isn’t ruined by platform limitations.
Most webinar platforms give best audio performance when presenting on VOIP – not by telephone. Get yourself a decent microphone. Ensure you have enough bandwidth. Go somewhere you won’t be disturbed. Make sure the room you’re in has some soft furnishing or other material to stop sound echoing about. Turn off your mobile phone. Then run a sound check.
Consider a Script
Nobody can see you delivering that webinar presentation, so why not use a script? A script can make presenting easier, and allow visuals to be made that really sync with your slides. The drawback can be that presenters can sound stilted, and flat. Edit your script a few times by reading it aloud, and tweaking anything that sounds robotic. Create spaces to ad lib if you want. But feel free to script your content if it will help you get the delivery right.
Simulate an Audience
There’s something weird about delivering your webinar presentation into thin air. You get little feedback, and little reassurnace. It’s possible to go crazy wondering how you are doing. The solution? Get a real-life quiet audience – either some friendly co-workers, or talk to some inanimate objects such as teddy bears or figurines – anything you can imagine you are talking ‘to’. Weird, but it works.
Find an Engaging Host
A good webinar host can help to engage and involve the audience. Ask the audience what questions they want answered. Greet some of those joining as they enter. Interact with the webinar presenter in order to break up the presentation. A good host should be energetic and sound lively. Sometimes they don’t – so pick carefully.
Show You’re Live with Interactivity
Ever been on a webinar and wondered if the thing is actually live? If you are presenting a live webinar, let people know it’s live. Say what day it is. Take questions. Welcome attendees. Run polls. Mention the news, or weather.
Some people tweet. A lot. Others read those tweets and may want to find out more. Harness this phenomenon by (a) providing meaningful short quotes – say under 120 characters, leaving room for retweets (b) having the quotes tweeted from your account as you present them (c) displaying your Twitter handle (user name) and event hashtag (if you have one) at the start of your webinar presentation.
Edit the Recording
There are problems with providing an unedited webinar recording – (a) people don’t feel they’ll miss anything if they don’t show up, which reduces the chance they’ll ever actually watch (b) people watching later may have less time available (c) most webinar presentations contain some content that isn’t slick, and that shouldn’t be preserved for posterity.