I think there’s a real skill to giving effective presentations. It’s true some people have a natural gift while others are wise enough to attend some public speaking training. Then there’s a third group who never acquire the skill, but poor unfortunates have to sit through their presentations regardless!
In this new online world, people who have never experienced the ‘roar of the crowd’ are volunteering to present ‘the webinar’.
A webinar is still a presentation but, unlike the conference hall scenario, the presenter is delivering via the internet and the audience members are sitting at their computer screens logging in.
This adds an extra dimension, in that the presenter will find it harder to know if their audience is listening – are they bored, doodling, emailing? Have you kept their attention or lost it? When delivering via a webinar, this is almost impossible to judge but should never be ignored.
So it becomes all the more important for a presenter that to be effective, you need to work on your presentation for some time before the recording. And once you do make sure your recording equipment is up to the job. Nothing is more off-putting than a hum in the background.
Here are a few tips for those about to embark on delivering a webinar, in fact, feel free to apply them to any presentation you may want to give.
- Prepare, prepare, prepare. That way you know how long the presentation will be, you won’t overrun, and you won’t have a fidgety audience.
- Make the delivery relevant to the audience – there’s no such thing as a one-presentation-fits-all.
- Keep any supporting anecdotes short and sweet. In a virtual presentation, you won’t know if you’ve ‘lost’ your audience with your rambling so – rule of thumb – don’t ramble.
- Try to use humour – it lightens the experience and helps to keep people on board.
- Use visuals to add interest but not random clip art!
- Use participants’ names and ask them questions too. It helps keep their attention and helps you spot anyone who might be drifting away.
- Make the webinar as interactive as possible and allow for questions as you go along.
- Use the right technology.
Do you enjoy webinars? Tell us your experiences.
If you found this article useful, you can sign up for our occasional newsletter with hints and tips for improving communications.