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Think before you speak: Top 10 must-dos before presenting on a webinar

Posted by James Kenly on
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10 tips for presenting on a webinarYou were asked to present a webinar and you agreed -- now what? Maybe you have presented at conferences before but never for a virtual audience, or maybe your only presentation experience is your annual gift of a "Cute Cats" calendar for your mom's birthday. Presenting a webinar is not rocket science but it does deserve some time and attention. ReadyTalk wants to help you make the most of that effort by providing 10 tips for presenting a valuable webinar!

If you're reading this blog then you are probably already a ReadyTalk customer, but just in case you're not, here are a few questions that you need to think about on most other platforms:
  • What third-party service is going to record my webinar so that I can repurpose it afterwards?
  • Do I need to hire an assistant to help with technical issues that my audience may experience?
  • What third-party group chat provider am I going to use to facilitate the chat Q&A?
  • What applications do I need to download to my computer and how am I going to learn how to use it?
 
Reserve your Webinar with the ReadyTalk Events Team and we will handle the recordings, broadcast audio transmission, technical issues and even provide an expert soundcheck and formally introduce your presentation! (Click here to get started for free).
 
So with those pesky service-related questions out of the way, what are the Top 10 Must-Dos Before Presenting on a Webinar? Here they are, organized into Logistics (both administrative and content-related) and Engagement:
 
LOGISTICS - Administrative
 
1. Reserve Your Webinar: This will give you the critical information that you need to start sending your invitations and marketing for registrations. Identify your target audience and reach them via email, websites, blogs and social media. Presenting on a webinar is much more fun when there is an audience there to appreciate it!
 
2. Test Your Computer: Any conferencing software should provide you with a link to quickly test your computer's compatibility in advance to easily avoid last minute technical snafus. ReadyTalk's link is here, and if you are missing anything, it will prompt you through the process to remedy the situation. You can also call our Customer Care Team 24/7 at 800.843.9166.
 
3. Location, Location, Location: Webinars are virtual affairs, so you don't need to consider nearby dining and retail options for your audience, but the location you choose from which to conduct your presentation is actually important! Find a space that offers the following: peace and quiet (no unwelcome background noise), a hard-line internet connection and a landline telephone (ideally with a headset or high-end polycom).
 
LOGISTICS - Content
 
4. Test Your Presentation - Time: Run through your presentation (slides and all) before the live webinar to gauge the timing of your presentation. If you reserve an hour of your audience's time and run for 90 minutes they may not believe that you value their time. Similarly, if you only fill 15 minutes of their hour, they may be happy for the extra coffee break, but don't be surprised if folks drop off early during your next webinar. Set reasonable expectations to your audience and then meet them and you will see greater retention and stronger ROI.
 
5. Test Your Presentation - Tone: If your first glance at the presentation is immediately before the live event, you are bound to rely more heavily on reading rather than presenting. Your audience wants to hear your expertise and passion for the subject -- know the slides and extemporize around them, adding color and context to the visual aids. Pace yourself slightly slower than a normal conversation, avoid filler words such as "um" and "like," and use pauses deliberately both to gather your own thoughts and to allow the audience to gather theirs.
 
6. Test Your Presentation - Transitions: Have a plan for the transitions between slides and segments or other presenters. Tie the visual elements of the presentation together by treating your remarks like a narrative, each slide should illustrate the point(s) you are making and set you up for the next point. Create transitions that are both fluid (or, even better, entertaining!) and light -- give your audience opportunities to catch their breath and process the information you are giving them.
 
ENGAGEMENT
 
7. Narrow Your Focus: Most webinars are 45-90 minutes in length and as tempting as it may be, you will not be able to tackle all the problems of the world in that time! Beware of delivering over-generalized webinars -- your audience wants to take away valuable and specific information that can help them in their own lives. Even if narrowing your topic from "Why Webinars Are Good For My Business" to "How To Use Webinars For Lead Generation" decreases your audience size, it will allow you to deliver more value and become more integrated into the success of your audience.
 
8. Use a Custom Introduction: Take advantage of the features at your disposal. ReadyTalk's Operator-Assisted Webinars offer the ability to write a custom introduction to be read by the operator at the beginning of your call. Use this to a create formality, communicate the housekeeping agenda and build buzz for the presentation. The most common question that participants ask is "Can we get the recording/slides?" so include this information in the introduction! There is an old public speaking addage that advises "Tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them and then tell them what you told them."  This introduction is your chance to lay out the map and build excitement in your audience.
 
9. Pre-Conference Entertainment: Mitigate early-bird distraction syndrome -- the circumstance when a participant logs in early, gets bored, goes internet-surfing and never brings their full attention back to the webinar -- by providing compelling introductory content during the pre-conference. Loop several slides starting about 15 minutes prior to scheduled start time -- here are some ideas:
  • A title slide with audio information and the scheduled start time
  • A slide with presenter information
  • A slide encouraging participants to "join the conversation" on your social media pages
  • A slide marketing future webinars or discount codes
  • A slide featuring relevant industry news headlines
  • An interactive poll slide.
10. Plan Your Post-Webinar: It may seem counter-intuitive to pre-plan your post-webinar activities, but it will not only save you time and energy after your presentation but well-crafted post-webinar correspondence will increase your ROI as well! Create a post-webinar survey that solicits feedback on the presentation style and content as well as future webinar topics and opt-in for future communications (for example, "Yes, please contact me about using this service" or "Yes, please sign me up for your newsletter"). You should also plan and create your post-webinar email to attendees and no-shows in advance so it is ready when you need it -- thank people for their time, participation and interest and include a call to action that keeps them involved in your business.
 
What are you waiting for? Schedule your next webinar today and put these tips to the test!

Check out other webinar best practices on our site: http://www.readytalk.com/support-training/best-practices-tips


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