The Ultimate Webinar Cheat Sheet
Webinars offer a time-saving, cost-efficient, and often highly effective way to keep in touch with potential and existing clients. To provide your audience with a valuable experience that gives them the key takeaways they need there are some key things that you have to do to ensure that you are an engaging presenter. To that end here is our ultimate webinar cheat sheet to help you tick all the boxes.
- The first step in creating a virtual presentation for a webinar is to create a solid blueprint, detailing the flow that the webinar is going to take.
- Content for an online presentation should be short and to-the-point. Like any presentation, it should not just mimic what you will be saying. Keywords and phrases, not sentences should be used.
- Unlike a face-to-face presentation where you can talk and explain a slide for at least 2-3 minutes, a webinar has to have a slide movement every 20-40 seconds to keep us interested. Remember we have an attention span less than a goldfish.
- Your graphics are a critical aspect of your webinar and cut down on text a lot. Use graphics liberally.
- Graphics that need to be explained like graphs or charts should only be explained to a point. Going into too many details will cause the attendees attention to wander and they will disengage. Visual clues like one-word descriptors, figures or percentages can be provided to help attendees understand the graph or chart quickly.
- Audio is the backbone of a virtual presentation and instrumental in its success. With minimalistic on-screen text, audio can successfully explain and detail out concepts and ideas presented. But keeping in mind the limited time-span of a webinar, audio should also not go into unnecessary details.
- Provide interactivity within the presentation through questions or polls that invite learner participation. An audience poll early on can provide an insight on what attendees already know about the topic. Questions can be asked to prompt attendees to think about new ideas or concepts.
Getting ready for the actual webinar
Familiarise yourself with the platform and tech you are going to use.
You don’t want to spend hours researching the subject matter, developing content, and sending out invites only to find that you don’t know how to use the webinar tools and technology. It is important to understand how to get the most out of the bells and whistles on the platform, but ensure that you have played with them enough that it is seamless on the day. If you don’t know how to use screencasting recording tools, it will impact your credibility with attendees. This can cause them to disengage from the webinar experience and impact on the outcomes you are looking for.
Do a test run.
Failing to plan is planning to fail so make sure you log in well ahead of time on the day and do a test run. Make sure you have all the tools you need and that all of your content is spot-on. You may even want to ask friends, family, or other members of your team to log into the platform and attend your “mock” webinar. Get some constructive feedback and test the user interface and controls. This will alleviate some of the stress for the main event as you will have done it once already.
Setup a webinar-ready space.
There are few things worse than attending a webinar where the presenter is distracted or background noise is constantly distracting you from what the presenter is talking about. Find a quiet spot that is free of distractions before beginning your webinar. In fact, try out a few different locations to see which one is best for your recording needs – not all spaces are created equal from an acoustics perspective. Close all unnecessary applications and have everything organised in one folder before you go live.
During the webinar
- Mention the webinar hashtag and social media links. Give your attendees plenty opportunity to ask questions and participate in the discussion by mentioning hashtags in the beginning. You will be able to address their questions during the event and provide an immediate response for their commentary.
- Provide clear instructions. You may already be familiar with the platform, but your attendees are probably not. Take the time to walk them through the features and functions they will need during the webinar. Let them know where they can ask or answer questions, or provide their responses to polls or surveys Also, if they are able to offer audio questions or commentary, give them clear instructions on how and when they may do so.
- Always record the event. You should always record your webinars. Not only will your attendees have the opportunity to reference the recording at a later date, but those who could not attend can still access the information.
- Start with a story. Don’t introduce yourself by reading a long bio or a slide that lists your agenda; these are ways to rather ensure that you lose your listeners’ interest sharing your story and explaining what brought you there will establish credibility and connection connection between you and your audience. Just remember to keep your it brief and personal with a few suspense elements, and conclude with a strong ending. A great trick is to also smile while you’re telling your story, as it helps elevate your voice; your listeners will be able to feel your enthusiasm.
- Grab your audience’s attention. The average attention span is about 10 minutes. Webinar audiences are worse; you are competing for their attention with their computer screens, their always open social media accounts, and their email inboxes. Limit the text in your slides and avoid overloading them with bullet points. Get them involved with interactive mini questions challenges, music or videos as part of your presentation
- Maintain a conversational tone. Remember that you are talking to real people, not to a machine. Monotone will not fly, imagine you’re speaking to a friend. If you have 150 attendees listening, you are actually having 150 one-to-one conversations
- Break it up with Q&A Q&As are a great way to maintain attention spans and maintain engagement
- Address your audience by using “you” in your sentences. Don’t say “Today I’m going to be sharing…”; instead say “Today you will learn…”. Don’t ask “Does anyone out there have a question?”; instead ask “Is there something you want to ask me….”
- Use humour. Don’t be afraid to throw in a funny comment; just be sure that it is politically correct and relevant.
- Use interesting real facts and examples to support your message. Hearing real life experiences and thinking of how to apply the same solutions to one’s life is one of the most effective ways to learn Explain why certain strategies work and others don’t using real facts and make sure that your audience will want to remember everything you are talking about.
- Remember that your voice is the connection. Of course you will need to make pauses while you’re talking. Use them, but keep them short; don’t allow more than 2 or 3 seconds of silence, otherwise your attendees may assume that they have lost their sound. If you are to be silent, let your listeners know. For example “I will now let you read a few lines about…”.
When it’s all over
Offer people a parting gift. In addition to the recorded webinar, you may want to offer your learners a “souvenir” that they can take away from their online training experience. For instance, you can create a blog or landing page that includes all of the important concepts and ideas from the webinar. Don’t forget to ask them to sign up for your mailing list to receive notifications for upcoming online events
Listen to the recording. After you’ve held your webinar, listen back to the recording to figure out where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
Remember that webinars like any marketing tool are a means to an end. I will be honest, my preference is always face to face over distance, but sometimes you have to roll with the punches and they can be a great tool to keep in touch with people in between those face to face opportunities or when faced with the tyranny of distance.